Now that Strictly’s sequins and spandex have been put away for another year, it’s time for the BBC’s red swivel chairs to take centre stage on Saturday nights.
The Voice UK, which sees four coaches choose their teams - on hearing voices alone - has been tweaked a little since we last tuned in. There are two new mentors, two new hosts and, if the rumours are true, a memo from the ‘top’ requesting that the show doesn’t take itself too seriously. Here’s the lowdown on what to expect from series three...
Of the four original mentors, Sir Tom Jones, will.i.am, Jessie J and Danny O’Donoghue, only two return for series three. Jessie J, along with her fluro nails and uncompromising attitude, has gone, explaining to her Twitter followers that her music has to take priority. The Script’s O’Donoghue (nicknamed ‘I Dunno Who’, as many viewers hadn’t heard of him when the show started) has also departed - despite leading series two contestant, Andrea Begley, to victory.
Jessie J’s replacement is pop’s pocket-sized princess Kylie Minogue, who was reportedly sought out by the show’s producers from the start. She might’ve turned it down back then but she couldn’t be happier to be taking her place on the red chair now.
It did take a little persuading from will.i.am, 38, however, who “bombed” the meeting she had with producers in LA. As will.i.am, the founding member of Black Eyed Peas, puts it: “Kylie’s reached a level of success that we all want, the show needs a Kylie.”
The woman herself still had her reservations, though. “I did think about it for a while, as it was such a big commitment for me,” says Kylie, 45. “I’ve never done anything like this before but it feels like the right time and now I’m doing it, the overall experience has been amazing.”
A global icon who’s sold 68 million records worldwide, it’s little surprise to hear she’s taking the competition seriously. “I will be strict if I have to be,” she admits. “I want them [my artists] to feel they have my support, and will be advising on things I’ve learnt as a performer, like light and shade, delivering the song, or showing them how to use the stage in a certain way.”
The Kaiser Chiefs’ (Ruby, I Predict A Riot) frontman Ricky Wilson, 35, also joins the line-up. A fan of the show, he admits to shouting at the TV during the last two series and jumped at the chance to take part. “I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life not making any decisions at all, and then suddenly this thing comes along and it felt like a really big decision,” says the singer who’s been bonding with his fellow coaches, especially Sir Tom, 73.
“He’s been great and has really helped me a lot,” he says of the Welsh crooner. “We went out for a Chinese the other night and it was lovely.”
That said, Wilson’s already feeling his competitive side shining through. “I do care about it a lot, and even when I go home, I find myself thinking about what is the best thing to do.”
This Morning’s Holly Willoughby and Radio 1 DJ Reggie Yates have both stepped down. Mum-of-two Willoughby cited wanting to find a better balance between work and family life, while Yates has kept quiet about his reasons.
Big Brother presenter Emma Willis, a former model who kicked off her screen career on MTV in 2002, will now co-present with Marvin Humes, formerly of JLS (the group who found fame on The X Factor in 2008 but announced their retirement last year).
THE VOICE UK, BBC1, Saturday 7PM