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The Voice UK 2014: new faces for series three
The Voice UK coaches. Image. BBC
It’s early January, but already we're awash with reality TV - and one of the most high profile, The Voice, is back on our screens.
It's a new time of year for the third series of the BBC singing contest, which usually airs in the spring, and they've also got two brand new coaches joining show veterans Sir Tom Jones and will.i.am.
Pop princess Kylie Minogue and Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson are replacing outgoing mentors Jessie J and Danny O'Donoghue this year and despite nerves about taking up the mantle, they're raring to go.
"I don't know how much longer I can play the new girl card for because I think a Voice filming day is like dog years, so it's actually like seven days in one day, so consequently, they feel like family very quickly," admits Kylie.
The Spinning Around singer said that even for someone with decades of experience performing, turning her chair around for the first time was a daunting prospect.
"I was petrified, I was an absolute rabbit in the headlights, thinking what have I got myself into, how long does this go on for?" she said.
"That stands to reason, it's getting used to everything, but then I started to find my feet and you have no option but to really invest in it and be totally exhausted by it actually. You eat, sleep, drink, breathe the show."
Sir Tom Jones, who won the show in the first series with Leanne Mitchell, said even he was unsure of himself at first: "As far as I'm concerned the more I do this, the easier it becomes, the more natural it feels.
"At first it was real brand new for me. You don't know whether you're talking too much, but as time goes on you get more comfortable and more confident."
His new neighbour Ricky joked: "You got more confident? So you have issues with being confident?"
The I Predict A Riot singer added: "I do have issues with confidence and I needed help from Tom on that one.
"On the first day you had producers, people, my girlfriend's there, my manager's there and they're all telling me different things and at the end of it, Tom was right - you just had to forget about it, be yourself, and trust yourself as well. And trust your ears, because that's all that matters."
will.i.am, also returning for a third crack at winning with an act on his team, has a new face in the seat next to him too, and is delighted it's Kylie.
He said: "It's pretty amazing, I've liked watching Kylie before the show, now that she's part of the show I like watching Kylie even more."
Although Kylie said her nerves about the show have improved, she was faced with a tough dilemma towards the end of the blind auditions when she was the final judge left with space in her team and lots of auditionees still to come.
She explained: "I was the last one - it was horrible, I hated it. There were quite a number of performers left to go and the announcer would keep saying 'so, the only person that is still left is Kylie'.
"I'm small, but every moment I was getting smaller. I was like, 'please, just swallow me up'."
Will the show find a star?
All the elements look to be in place for an explosive series of The Voice, but as fans of the show will know, even if the contestants, coaches, performances and atmosphere are all working well, it doesn't necessarily translate into great success for the winner.
Series one winner Leanne sold just 895 copies of her album in its first week of release, and 2013 winner Andrea Begley also got off to a poor start with sales of her album, although they picked up and it eventually debuted at number seven.
As Sir Tom admitted: " There's no guarantee. Television's one thing and you come on there so people can see and hear you, but then getting a hit record is another thing again and that is an ongoing thing.”
He added: "That is still going on with me - as long as I've been in the business I still don't have the secret of 'this will be a hit if I record it'. You have faith in the song and you do the best that you can with it. Hopefully the public, because they're the ones that make the decision, will like it.”
Sir Tom also said: "So there's no guarantees, you see, that even if you've actually won The Voice for instance, that you're going to get a hit record. You don't know that."
Team will.i.am came a close second last year with Leah McFall claiming the runner-up spot and Leah said that the mentoring doesn't always end with the series.
Singing his praises, she revealed: "It's been amazing, the coaching and mentoring hasn't stopped at all. You know how he kept on talking about fighting for me every day, he hasn't stopped doing that."
And for will.i.am himself, he said he already feels like a winner. Talking about Leah, he states: "I won last year. I won a great, amazing talent that's part of my life."
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