will.i.am on The Voice Kids: 'I thought this show would be cute - but it's seriously fierce!'

Pixie Lott, will.i.am and Danny Jones
(Image credit: ITV)

As The Voice Kids kicks off on ITV this Saturday, coaches Pixie Lott, will.i.am and Danny Jones say that what these young singers lack in size, they more than make up for in sheer talent...

Pixie Lott, will.i.am and Danny Jones on why viewers can expect big things from The Voice Kids...

The Voice is back – but with a big difference or, truly speaking, a small one. For when the blind auditions kick off this week, it'll be a host of pint-sized wannabe pop princes and princesses singing their hearts out in the hope that they can impress the three coaches enough for them to hit their buttons and turn around those big, red spinning chairs.

Familiar face and The Voice UK favourite, will.i.am, will joined by two brand-new coaches, singing sensation Pixie Lott and McFly star Danny Jones.

The Voice Danny Pixie will.i.am chairs

Danny Jones, Pixie Lott and will.i.am are looking for the next big, er, little thing

Hosted by Emma Willis, The Voice Kids features soloists between the ages of seven and 14, who are all competing for the life-changing prize of a £30,000 bursary towards their musical education plus a family holiday to Disneyland Paris. And coach will.i.am reckons any of these youngsters could give vocalists on the adult version a run for their money…

"By calling this one the 'kids' show, you think it's gonna be lesser than the 'adults' show but that's not the case at all. Not in the emotion, the talent  or  raw entertainment on offer," says Will. "I'd love to see a show where it's the kids versus the adults – I think the kids would send the adults running for the hills!"

Here, coaches Will, Pixie and Danny tease what we can expect and recall their own memories of being child stars…

How does the talent on The Voice Kids compare to what we’ve seen on The Voice UK and how have you found the blind auditions? Will: "I thought this show was just gonna be cute, being kids, but it's seriously fierce! You've got this nine-year-old kid who can sing like Lionel Richie – that's some sick talent! Also, the adults have had time to figure out how to 'pretend' to be a character; someone else they want to be. But the kids don't know how to put a mask on – they're just raw and innocent." Pixie: "Obviously, some of the boys sing really high because their voices haven't broken yet. Most of the time during the blind auditions I would think it was a girl but then turn around and it would be a boy!" Danny: "Me too! I'd be like, 'Is it a girl or a boy?' I was thinking: 'I have got so many girls on my team, I need a guy,' so there were a few I missed out on."

Pixie celebrates on The Voice Kids

Pixie's looking pleased with herself - has she just bagged this year's winner?

Pixie and Danny, why did you want to be coaches on The Voice Kids? Pixie: "I just love working with young people. I have a performing arts school that's full of young talent. There are those moments when you hear fresh talent that no one else knows about and it just gives you goosebumps. I want to find that on this show." Danny: "For me, helping somebody to achieve something was the attraction. All of the 12 singers on my team I've chosen based on: 'Can I work with them, can I help them?' Obviously, it's a competition and you need to find somebody amazing but I'd love to show that I've actually helped somebody become amazing, rather than them just already be amazing."

Unlike The Voice UK, you're allowed to turn your chairs and speak to all the singers after their performances, even if you don’t press your buttons… Pixie: "These kids are so young, they're aged seven-14, so we've got to make sure they leave on a high. There's so much opportunity out there for an eight-year-old, it's not like it's their last chance, so you've got to remind them of that and encourage them to keep following their dream." Will: "Sometimes I think: 'I don't want to say no to a kid' and, although they're not crying, their parents are crying, so then I'm crying! That's the hard part." Danny: "It's great that we get to give these kids positive feedback to take away with them. Because they're so young, they've got time to go away, build on what we say and make themselves better. Even if it's a 'no' from us hopefully they'll hold onto our advice rather than just remember we said 'no'." Pixie: "At the end of the day, we're just three people with three opinions; everyone has different tastes and some voices connect with you more than others. It doesn't mean these kids are not all amazingly talented."

Danny The Voice Kids

Danny likes being able to give the young singers positive feedback to help them grow

Will, how does coaching alongside Pixie and Danny compare to being with Tom Jones, Jennifer Hudson and Gavin Rossdale on the The Voice UK? And, Pixie, is it tough being the only girl? Will: "These two are nuts!" Danny: "We’re nuts?!" Will: "I'm the only nutty one on the adult show, so I feel at home here." Danny: "Will and I have got a bromance going on. Pixie's a bit jealous! She keeps telling us off, we're like the naughty kids." Pixie: "These two are crazy and fun, we have great energy bouncing off each other. It's fun being the only girl. They go off on tangents sometimes and I'm a bit like: 'What are you talking about you two, crazy boys?'"

The Voice Kids will

It sounds like Will's having a ball working alongside Danny and Pixie on The Voice Kids

You all entered the music business very young – does being on this show remind you of when you were starting out? Pixie: "I was doing pretty much what these kids are doing. I found a clip on YouTube recently of when I auditioned, 10 years ago, for the ITV musical drama Britannia High. I auditioned with Ed Sheeran and neither of us got through to the next round! When you’re living it, it feels so serious but it’s important to have the knockbacks because you learn from it and you can go on to sometimes bigger things than the thing you think is big at the time." Will: "I had a record contract when I was in high school. My advice to young people wanting to be in the music industry is always to 'design your friends'. Make sure you pick folks that have the same passion and determination as you do." Danny: "I had a big dream that I wanted to play on the same stage as Bruce Springsteen and McFly ended up doing that a couple of years ago. You've always got to dream big and have a goal. The Voice is a massive platform to get your music out there. I was playing in pubs when I was 14 years old, I wish I'd started younger than that."

The Voice Kids starts on Saturday June 10 at 7.45pm on ITV.

Victoria Wilson
Feature Writer for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and WhatToWatch.com

With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!