Music producer and Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am has said he was happy to return as a coach on The Voice UK, which moves to ITV on Saturday night - on one condition...
Music producer and Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am has admitted that his decision to return as a coach when The Voice UK moved from the BBC to ITV was largely based on whether Sir Tom Jones would be on the panel too.
Welsh singing legend Tom, 76, had appeared on the first four series of the singing show, but the BBC didn’t renew his contract for the fifth series, shown last year.
Talking to What’s on TV at The Voice UK's launch earlier this week, Will admitted: “Yeah, it was a big decision to move from BBC1 to ITV. If Tom didn’t come back, I don’t know if I would have come back.”
Describing why he holds Tom in such high esteem, Will said: "Tom is one of my favourite people in the world. I just love his wisdom and I like going online and seeing all Tom Jones’ old performances on TV when he had his own show.
"You see the 1960’s Tom, then the 70’s Tom, where he’s showing, like, hair on his chest. Then there’s the 80’s Tom. There's a whole bunch of different decades of Tom, you could do collectibles! To hang out with 'Silver Tom' is an amazing experience."
And it seems Will's also been completely bowled over by panel newcomer, US singer-actress Jennifer Hudson, who joins alongside Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale.
"She needs her own show,” said Will. "It’s great to have her on this show but she’s THAT good that I would watch Jennifer Hudson all day, every day. Like Oprah. She’s like that.”
When The Voice UK kicks off on Saturday, all four coaches team up to sing the Queen hit Under Pressure. And it seems that’s exactly how will felt performing alongside Jennifer.
"That was daunting and intimidating because her voice his supreme," said Will. "She could have been in the Supremes!"
The Voice UK has come under fire in previous series for not producing any standout stars. But with record company Polydor on board from the outset, Will's hoping that's all set to change.
"The problem with the show to this point is that, every year, we start and there's not an arsenal of songs ready to go, whereas all the other shows have a catalogue of songs ready to go.
"David Joseph, I know first hand, has been part of the Black Eyed Peas career for a long time, so to have David Joseph and Polydor involved, they've given me some freedom to handpick and make sure we have an arsenal of songs ready for whoever wants to sing them."
The Voice UK begins on Saturday January 7 at 8pm on ITV.
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