The Voice UK: will.i.am addresses future of ITV show ‘Whole new way to engage’

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The Voice UK coach will.i.am has been a firm fixture on the singing competition since it started on the BBC in 2012 and has seen the series go through a number of changes; including a move to ITV and a whole roster of judges. Now that the series has been forced to change its format due to the coronavirus pandemic, will.i.am has spoke about what he thinks singing and talent competitions will look like in the future.

When the nine contestants take to the stage this evening, instead of the audience being in the studio with them, they’ll be watching from home.

A large wrap around screen has been added to the studio to incorporate a virtual audience in a similar vein to Britain’s Got Talent.

But with The Voice UK, the contestants and coaches will be able to zoom in on audience members to view their reactions to performances and feedback from the judges.

Speaking about whether this could be the future of talent shows like The Voice, will.i.am told Express.co.uk: “I remember in 2001, right after 9/11 and American Idol took off.

“That was the first time in the world seeing a show like that where contestants sung.

“There was always like Star Search and stuff like back in the day but it wasn’t like American Idol and a whole new way of entertainment, singing competitions and talent competitions was birthed after that.

“I see a similar thing happening now where it’s the first time you have people in a studio and we broadcast through the living room, really engage with what they’re doing and having a two-way conversation.

“Like we’re barely touching on it now. I think a new format – somebody is going to watch this show, The Voice this year, and come up with a whole new way to engage.”

will.i.am continued: “Voting is going to change when you see the people that are live and everybody gets to connect.

“Telling the news and seeing how the news affects people. Like Twitter is transparent but you don’t really get to see the facial expression of how this information is transforming them and it’s beautiful.

“As musicians we get to see that all the time, when we get to perform, we see the people, they come to our show.

“Top of the Pops allowed us to go into the living room and stuff like that but we didn’t really get to see them dance.

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“We didn’t get to see the family come together, they just saw us. This thing is like wow! So beautiful!

“That’s the thing, as bad as it is right now, this is pretty freaking beautiful actually. If Covid wasn’t here, it would still be awesome. Now no one can say, put down your phone Will!”

will.i.am’s fellow coaches even joked in future they might not be in the studio either.

Olly Murs laughed: “Us coaches might not be here in 2030, we might all be holograms.

“We’ll be at home in our armchairs, in the red chairs as holograms. We don’t know.”

Sir Tom Jones seemed keen on that idea, adding: “Then we could live forever then, there’s no limit.

“I’ll still be doing it in 20 years time as a hologram.”

The Voice UK semi-final airs tonight on ITV at 8.45pm.

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