The Voice Kids comes to British TV for the first time in 2017, with ITV on the hunt for the nation’s greatest pint-sized vocal prodigy.
The seven to 14-year-old contestants follow in the footsteps of The Voice UK adults who’ve gone before them, but this time round there will be some key format changes in order to ensure the younger acts aren’t exposed to undue pressure during the show.
Here are seven major differences between the two shows…
1. There are two new Voice Kids coaches and a smaller coaching panel
While we’re used to seeing four coaches spin their seats on The Voice UK, only three coaches will take part in The Voice Kids. will.i.am is the only familiar face from the adult panel, and he’s joined by two Voice newbies: singer and actress Pixie Lott, and McFly frontman Danny Jones.
The coaches aren’t currently set to perform together either, unlike the line-up on The Voice. They say they’ll stay in their seats and let the spotlight shine on the kids instead.
2. There’s a new friendly face on the way to the stage
If the kids are feeling nervous as they head out for their Blind Auditions they can stop and take a breather with vocal coach Jai Ramage.
She’s on hand to give them some last minute tips and breathing exercises to help them feel as confident as possible when they set foot on stage.
3. The coaches ALWAYS turn their chairs to give the kids feedback
This is probably one of the most important changes because there was uproar when The Voice UK on ITV introduced a new rule, which saw unsuccessful contestants faced with a row of chair backs after their performances, before walking off stage without having seen or heard from the coaches. The change was deemed by some viewers, and even some of the coaches, to be too cruel, so it’s little wonder they’ve swapped it out for The Voice Kids.
“I personally like giving the singer feedback. That’s the least you could do,” said will.i.am at the launch of the new ITV Saturday night entertainment series. “To not do that for kids would be inhumane.”
4. More contestants will compete in The Voice Kids Battles
The Voice adults usually have to face off against other members of their team in pairs during the Battles, with just one singer or act progressing to the next round. It’s a pretty fierce singing showdown, at the end of which their coach must pick between them.
The Voice Kids Battle Rounds will feature THREE singers from a coach’s team battling it out at any one time, with ONE progressing to the next round and the other two being sent home.
5. There’ll be no Steals this time around
At the end of a Voice Battle the other coaches usually had the option to select the rejected contestant for their team instead. For example, if one of Tom Jones’s contestants was due to be sent home, will.i.am could have made the decision to ‘Steal’ them for his team.
Steals have been dropped for The Voice Kids.
6. There are fewer live shows
The Voice may never have had quite as many live shows as a series of The X Factor but we have become accustomed to sitting through a few weeks of phone voting and the dramatically drawn out delivery of results.
That won’t be happening in The Voice Kids either, as ITV has confirmed that there’ll only be one live show: The Grand Final.
7. There’s no recording contract up for grabs
Perhaps the most important difference between the two shows – for the coaches at least – is the prize the kids are competing for. There’s no record contract up for grabs on The Voice Kids, and will.i.am thinks that means the winner might be more successful than any of the winning adults have been.
“The prize is a Disneyland Trip and a £30,000 scholarship. The prize is not a record contract,” he said. “So because of that there’s more chance that someone is going to develop without the scrutiny and cynicism. They can have all the room in the world to do it their own way.”
That money is theirs to spend as they choose when it comes to honing their craft. The winning child could spend the £30,000 bursary on whatever aspect of their musical education they desired, from recording studio time to musical instrument lessons or maybe even musical theatre school.
“I think it’s an amazing start for a seven to 14-year-old”, says Pixie Lott.