Saturday nights are about to get a whole lot more musical as The Voice UK returns to screens, bringing those spinning chairs with them.
The show’s second series on ITV kicks off on Saturday January 6 with the first round of blind auditions, with coaches Will.i.am, Sir Tom Jones and Jennifer Hudson all returning to find more talent.
And this time they’re joined by series newcomer Olly Murs, who replaces Gavin Rossdale in that fourth red chair as the hopefuls take to the stage.
Here’s what you need to know about the new series ahead of its return to screens…
The coaches are raring to go
J-Hud did rather well out of the last series after two of her acts – Mo Adeniran and Jamie Miller – made it to the final, with Mo eventually emerging triumphant.
Mo is so busy, I knew from the moment he won he would be,’ Jennifer explained. Once the ball starts rolling it never stops. Even for me, once I was on the American Idol rollercoaster it never ended and I see the same for Mo.
She added: ‘Jamie is like a little brother. He will text me or send me videos. He is always singing something. If I can support any of my acts in finding their dream, I am here. Once you are in JHud Productions you are stuck with me!
Meanwhile Will.i.am is back in the hot seat after joining Pixie Lott and Danny Jones in The Voice Kids over the summer and admitted: ‘It feels good to be back,’ – although stressed that working on the two shows is very similar.
‘The only time the vibe seems similar is when you have a 16-year-old singer up there because our cut off for The Voice Kids is 14,’ he explained.
‘So a 14-year-old singer is really no different to a 16-year-old singer. I have 16 and 17 year olds on my team this year. That is the only time when there is blend, when you can’t really recognise the experience as different.
‘Other than that, the fact there is Tom Jones there and Jennifer Hudson and now Olly makes it different.’
Olly Murs has joined the team – and the others couldn’t be happier
‘Olly is a fresh face, he is energetic and enthusiastic,’ Sir Tom Jones revealed. ‘He’s doing really well.’ – and the others seem similarly keen on the new addition to the team – with Will.i.am comparing him to 2017 coach Gavin Rossdale as he describes him as ‘quite mysterious’.
‘He has similar circus antics as Ricky Wilson and he has the heartthrob front-man performer vibe that Danny from The Script had,’ Will added. ‘He is like all three of them together. I like Olly on the show.’
Olly’s also loving his time on the show
The former X Factor runner-up has been drawing on his own experiences of the talent show circuit to be able to best advise The Voice hopefuls as he makes his debut on the show.
‘It helps me to be able to give the contestants my advice and they also know I have been through that experience and I can help and guide them with that,’ he pointed out.
‘But when they get to the later stages of the competition it is really about picking the right songs and that is what I want to try and get across to them. I hope they have the confidence in me to help them with that but they also need to know themselves and find themselves as an artist.’
Emma Willis is also back as the host
And she reckons the grown-up version of the show has a lot to live up to, given the success of The Voice Kids last year.
‘Will.i.am said with The Voice Kids there was such a phenomenal level of talent on that show that the grown-ups really have to up their game and I think he’s right,’ Emma insisted.
‘If the grownups aren’t as good this series we’re going to be like, ‘I’ve seen a 10-year-old better than you!’
And there are a few changes this year too
Last year’s finalist Jamie Miller is joining the show as a backstage digital reporter, while the official App will also boast some new features, including the chance to actually step on the set of the show in a 360 degree setting.
But some things will definitely stay the same
Remember that controversial twist where the coaches don’t turn at all for acts they don’t want? Well it’s back – as Emma Willis explained: ‘I think it worked well but I didn’t realise how
brutal it was going to feel until the first one. When we heard it as a concept we were like, ‘that’s a good idea’. I think we do get more information from the coaches as to why they didn’t turn.
‘It is year two now so the acts will be more prepared for it.’
The Voice UK kicks off on ITV on Saturday January 6 at 8pm.
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