Entertainment & Arts

The Voice returns with new faces

The Voice coaches

The Voice is set to return to BBC One this weekend, with new coaches joining the hunt to find the next musical star.

The red swivel chairs are back and this time, there are two new mentors sitting in them.

"Initially it was like a baptism of fire," says Kylie Minogue, who has replaced Jessie J in the third series of the show.

"It's so totally different being in the chair and not seeing anything - it's really intense, but the fun parts are really fun."

Speaking at the London launch of the new series, the singer reveals she considered the job when the show first began in 2012, but turned it down for fear of the unknown.

She also recognises she will inevitably be compared to her predecessor.

"I know it's a very sticky question. I wouldn't even get in the door if we were just talking about voices," she says.

"I think Jessie did a great job and especially for someone so young. I hope [she] enjoys seeing me in her seat and I'm very proud to be taking over the reins from her."

The seat in question has had a small modification though - it now features a small step to fill the void between the floor and the diminutive star's feet.

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Media captionKylie Minogue and Will.i.am talk about this year's The Voice

The second new addition to the coaching team is Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson, who is sitting in the chair previously kept warm by The Script's Danny O'Donoghue.

As his first foray into becoming a TV "personality", the singer admits he didn't think he was going to enjoy the job at first.

"If you'd asked me then and there I would have said: 'This is hell', but looking back it's one of those things where now I'm going: 'It was great wasn't it'."

And although Wilson says he feels the pressure, he's not going to try and be a carbon copy of what came before.

"I can't wear those low slung t-shirts," he jokes.

'No guarantees'

The pair join returning coaches Sir Tom Jones and will.i.am, who are firmly on the fence when it comes to comparing how the newcomers measure up.

"Kylie is different but the attitude is the same," Sir Tom says.

"These guys are pros," will.i.am adds. "This show needs a Kylie - she's reached that level of success we all want to have."

The success of the previous two winners of the show is another sticky subject - Leanne Mitchell's debut single failed to reach the top 40, while her album only made it to 134 in the album chart.

Image caption Emma Willis and Marvin Humes take over hosting duties from Holly Willoughby and Reggie Yates

Last year's winner, Andrea Begley, fared better with a top 30 single and a debut album which peaked at number seven, but it's fair to say she hasn't set the world on fire.

"There is no guarantee in showbusiness," Sir Tom says.

"At the end of the day it's always down to the public as to whether that person is going to be a star or going to get a hit record.

"You've got to try and get all the ingredients and hopefully people will buy it, but there's never a guarantee."

Will.i.am is more pragmatic about the series, adding very few TV talent show singers have become "super megastars".

"Because we live in this disposable, forgetful society, we forget real fast," he says.

"You have to have a champion and this format doesn't really have a champion when it comes to the record company end. So after the season's finished, who's holding the singers through this tundra?

"[With] The Black Eyed Peas... we were signed for almost 10 years [before] we really hit it big - who's to say the cycle in which the artist is supposed to be a megastar?"

The show has also faced criticism for losing momentum once the blind auditions and the live shows begin.

Wilson says he hasn't felt the pace of the show slow down thus far, but reveals there are some format changes this year - although he won't reveal what they are.

Other changes include two new presenters to host the proceedings - Emma Willis and JLS star Marvin Humes - as well as a more glossy look to the show.

The first episode of the new series sees an insurance manager, a Ruth Jones impersonator and music student try their luck, as well as more established artists hoping for a second chance at fame.

But despite the muted success of winners past, the coaches are adamant The Voice showcases the best talent around.

"We don't rely on the novelty of people being there who shouldn't be there later on," Wilson says.

"Everyone's getting better and better, going down to the best singer.

"If you want to watch a show where the person that wins at the end is the best singer, then this is the show for you - if you want to see people making fools of themselves, you can go to other stations."

The Voice is on BBC One on Saturday at 19:00 GMT.

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