Throughout the first series of The Voice pop star Jessie J was dogged by accusations of diva behaviour – of dressing room tantrums, rudness to BBC staff and arriving at the studio with an enormous entourage to wait on her hand and foot.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com ahead of the second series, the singer denies anything of the sort, insisting that it all comes down to sexism: “I don’t think there’s ever been any show on TV where a girl hasn’t had the diva stamp. I see it as some sort of compliment because the original divas were the Shirley Basseys, the Whitney Houstons.”
Even so, she’s keen to stress that she isn’t a diva, original or otherwise: “I would never ever want anyone to think that’s how I am. Because I’m not. I’m the complete opposite. I have eight people in my team – not 50, which is what was said in the papers. But you can’t win…I’ve realised that it happens to women.”
The singer, who is one of four celebrity coaches alongside Tom Jones, will.i.iam and The Script frontman Danny O’Donoghue, also admits she was “really nervous” last year. This time round, she says, she is no longer afraid of being the only woman on the show and will be tougher on hopefuls.
“I got to where I am today by having people around me that don’t ‘yes’ me. I’m not here to say ‘yey, yey, you’re amazing’ because they’ll leave this and go ‘I haven’t learned anything.’ So yes, I’m definitely more honest this year.”
Addressing criticism that viewing figures for the first series were disappointing, losing out to ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, she added: “If it was that bad, we wouldn’t be here celebrating a second series. And I definitely wouldn’t be sitting in the chair.”
“Everyone wants to compare but the fact of the matter is that The Voice is like nothing else. There’s no pointing and laughing, there’s no editing to make it look like the person was horrific.”
Earlier this week Jessie J took to Twitter to deny she had donned a wig for promos after shaving her head for Comic Relief.
“Everything for Series 2 of The Voice UK was filmed in December, January and February. Promo pictures and the series itself. Before my head shave. It’s pre recorded [sic]. Not live.”
Series two of The Voice starts on Saturday 30th March on BBC1.