New series hopes to start on a high note
It may only seem two minutes since Louisa Johnson was crowned queen of The X Factor in the 12th series of Simon Cowell’s ailing Saturday night TV juggernaut. But if you’re already having talent-show withdrawals, fear not, as the fifth season of The Voice UK begins tonight. It’s all change on the singing contest (this is the final series on the BBC before it moves to ITV), with two new judges having been drafted in following Tom Jones’ departure and Rita Ora’s highly publicised defection to The X Factor last year. The addition of Boy George and Paloma Faith to the coaching line-up was initially met with criticism last year, and many fans were up in arms after Sir Tom took to social media to reveal he hadn’t actually been told he was fired. However, the show must go on, as they say, and former Culture Club star George, 54, can’t wait to get started. “I’m thrilled and excited to be a coach on The Voice UK,” the legendary pop icon declared. “I’m a huge fan of the show and have watched and engaged with it from series one.” His new colleague, stylish multiplatinum selling singer, songwriter and actress Faith, shares his optimism: “I’m really excited about working with creative people who are there not just to be singers, but also innovative personalities and performers,” she added. The duo join Will.i.am, the longest-serving judge with every one of the previous series under his belt, and Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson on the spinning chair panel. As usual, Marvin Humes and the gorgeous Emma Willis will be there to keep everyone in line, as well as consoling and congratulating the wannabe stars. The contest kicks off tonight with the blind auditions, as the coaches begin the process of building their 12-strong teams by sitting with their backs to the auditionees and turning their chairs if they are impressed with what they hear. If more than one coach turns, the hopeful has the chance to choose whose team they join – and the fireworks begin as the coaches pitch to get the best talent on to their teams. In this evening’s packed episode, singers include a punk fan whose twist of a pop classic melts the hearts of the coaches; a blast from the past with entertainer Bernie Clifton of Oswald the Ostrich fame; and plenty of piscine puns from a fishmonger with a unique voice.
On song Will.i.am, Paloma Faith, Ricky Wilson and Boy George