“Jessie puts them through their paces,” says Tom Jones about his fellow The Voice coach Jessie J.
TV talent shows traditionally have a villain figure on the panel – X Factor had Simon Cowell (at one point) and Strictly has the hard-to-please Craig Revel Horwood – however, The Voice’s tough guy is female, and comes in the form of outspoken pop star Jessie J.
“Crying is good. I think you should embrace crying. Not in a sad way, but more as it lets them realise this isn’t a walk in the park now,” the Price Tag singer explains.
There are supposedly no bad singers in the BBC reality show, which is based on the hit US series and hopes to be seen as an antidote to all things image-obsessed, like X Factor, as all the contestants have gone through weeks of auditions, even before they make it to the filmed stage in front of the world famous coaches.
However, Jessie continues, sounding older than her 23 years: "25,000 people auditioned for this show and you’re in the final fifty, and you have to raise your game."
“So many people have come from small towns where they’ve only sung in front of their mum and dad and friends who were always going to tell them how great they were. Now they’re in front of me who’s all about technique and vocal and breathing, and all these things they may never have thought about, and they are a bit overwhelmed.
“But they came back the next day and said ‘thank you for the tough love’ - so that’s what I’m about.”
The Script frontman Danny O'Donoghue, who is also lending his chart-topping experience to the show as a coach, adds: “If we have to bring someone to tears, it’s for the right reasons because they need to be brought down to be brought back up again.”
However, Tom Jones, a man who has earned every right to be self-assured, jokes: “I don’t have to do that because I pick all the right ones.”