Everyone’s favourite spinning chair talent show (actually, it’s our only one, if you don’t count Bruno’s stool-tipping antics on Strictly) is back on the box tonight! But unlike the previous five years it’s going to be on ITV, rather than BBC1.
And the swap in channel has also brought some changes on the show itself (not including the ads). From new coaches to unseen formats, there’s plenty to look out for when the show launches on 7pm.
So, without further adieu, this is the Voice! On ITV!
There’s been a shake-up in the coaching panel
Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am is once again a judge – sorry, ‘coach’ – but there have been three swaps since the last series. First up, Sir Tom Jones – the singing legend the BBC dropped for Boy George in the last series – is returning to the panel.
Then there’s the two newbies. First up, Grammy and Oscar-winning US superstar and sass-master Jennifer Hudson. She’s made a huge impression on the judging panel already, with will.i.am telling RadioTimes.com that Hudson “is my favourite female coach so far. Love her Love her Love her… we’re all going to fall in love with her personality.”
And then there’s Gavin Rossdale. You know, Gavin Rossdale? No? Well, he’s the frontman of British rockers Bush (they were big in America in the ‘90s) and he’s also the father of Strictly’s Daisy Lowe. Still not sure? Here’s our full guide to Gavin.
The chairs won’t turn if none of the coaches press their ‘I want you’ button
Previously, if a contestant failed to win over any of the coaches, they would at least get to see them hear some conciliatory words after their blind audition. Not any more. No interest, no turn. Ever.
“One of the biggest changes on the ITV version is when the coaches don’t like somebody’s voice, it’s possible for none of the chairs to turn,” Rossdale told RadioTimes.com. “[The contestant] is left there with the ‘stand of shame’ when nobody turns around for them… they’re left for what’s about a minute and a half and they’re just dying!”
However, this doesn’t mean that every time a coach doesn’t press their button they’re not going to see the contestant they rejected. As long as just one coach presses down, all chairs will turn afterwards.
For instance, if a RnB-style contestant sings and only J-Hud presses her button, will.i.am, Rossdale and Sir Tom will still have their chairs turned after the performance to give their “you weren’t my style of singer” excuses. So, it’s not all out brutality. Just some.
The winner’s record contract has changed
And that’s a big deal, according to the coaches. The BBC series offered a contract with Universal Music to the champion, but ITV have gone with Polydor, a label that will.i.am has worked with for the past 15 years.
“Every time we [The Black Eyed Peas] would have a new record we would sit down and come to Polydor and play the music for the team and they would help us pick the single,” the rapper said at a Q&A on the launch of The Voice.
“That’s the care and attention that Polydor put into this scenario that this show has been missing, so I’m really excited that we have great partners that are going to help bring a star.”
“The record company really, really want to find a star and create a hit record with the winner,” Tom Jones added.
You never know, we might finally have a success story from The Voice.
The contestant’s family and friends are allowed backstage
Instead of cheering on their nearest and dearest in front of a TV screen in the mysterious ‘V Room’, as seen in the BBC series, ITV have let those closest to the contestants watch from the sidelines with host Emma Willis.
“The V Room was always on the other side of the building – we were just watching it on the TV screen,” said Willis. “But to be [just offstage] and feel the atmosphere from the audience… it felt like we were in the heart of it.” In other words, expect plenty of tears from the blind auditions. Just not all happy ones.
It’s filmed a lot like other ITV shows
You know those moments in the X Factor where you can ‘overhear’ contestants chatting naturally while they wait for the audition – presumably with a mic boom just above their heads? Well, ITV have brought the same filming style into The Voice UK.
There’s going to be The Voice Kids
An exact date hasn’t yet been confirmed, but later in the year ITV will be airing a junior version of The Voice with a coaching panel of Pixie Lott, will.i.am and Mcfly’s Danny Jones.
The audition stage of the show has already been recorded and it’s as tear-jerking as you’d expect, according to host Willis: “I think it’s the most emotional Voice show of all The Voice shows I’ve worked on.”
“During my first series I cried a lot, but during The Voice Kids I didn’t stop. And that’s not because of the kids that didn’t get turned, but just because of how amazing and inspiring they are. It’s really lovely viewing.”
The Voice UK is on Saturdays on ITV at 8pm