11/03/2012 23:42 GMT | Updated 12/03/2012 08:49 GMT

The Voice: Will.i.am 'Proud' To Be Part Of The Show With 'Legend' Tom Jones

"I'm proud of being part of this show with a person like Tom Jones - you don't usually get a chance to hang out with legends like him," says Will.i.am about his fellow coach on The Voice.

The American singer, producer and Black Eyed Peas member took a risk when he decided to cross the pond to be part of the BBC's new reality TV show.

After all, we already have a well-established singing contest, complete with feuding judges and millions of followers.

So what made Will.i.am, whose celebrity hardly needs boosting, decide to take part in The Voice UK?

"I think The Voice in America is a big success, but the difference between this show and the American one is Tom Jones. He just grounds it in so much authenticity and I'm honoured to go back to America and when I see Cee Lo say 'I was hanging with Tom.' " (continued beneath)

SLIDESHOW: The Voice's coaches and presenters

Will.i.am, who has already worked with some of music's biggest names, such as Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, U2 and Rihanna, is clearly a fan of the Sex Bomb singer:

"We went from a time where the music industry was really only about one thing - the voice - and half the time you didn't even know what the person looked like, you didn't know if they were black or white, or short or fat or skinny and that’s why I appreciate Tom because he was a part of that.

"He witnessed the music industry in America when it was feuding black and white and how music brought the two cultures together."

He continues: "He saw the seventies and the eighties and then the nineties, where we were selling millions of CDs in a week, and then in 2000 that all disappeared because of the internet."

There's a different dynamic between the coaches on The Voice from the one between the judges on the X Factor. They all genuinely appear to like and respect each other.

There is bickering among the coaches during the show, however, it's all in good nature and borne out of passion rather than a thirst for airtime.

Will.i.am regales his fondness for Jessie J, saying: "I travel back and forth, I'll be in LA and come here and then go to Korea tomorrow and I'm drained, and just being around Jessie for a second she’s like a real pick-me-up, like a thousand volts of electricity."

He continues laughing: "I was tired this morning and she was like 'your glasses look like tea strainers'."

He's also bonded with The Script's frontman Danny O'Donoghue who he says is "super cool".

He added: "I never thought I was going to meet somebody that could talk about music every second. We’re sitting eating a sandwich and he's like 'dude, I wanna write a song about this sandwich.' That is exactly how I am in my group." (Continued below)

During the programme, the coaches have to pick voices that they like during 'blind' auditions. If more than one coach picks the same voice, then they have to compete and explain to that 'voice' why they should be picked to coach them.

This leads to lots of funny anecdotes and brags, Will.i.am inevitably plays the "when I was with Michael Jackson" card numerous times, while Tom Jones competes with his stories of jamming with Elvis Presley in the sixties.

It's this reversal of power from the judges to the contestants that also sets the show apart form the likes of X Factor and one of the reasons why it might just work, like Will.i.am, here and across the pond...

The Voice's stars swang into action for yesterday's launch, ahead of the show's debut on Saturday 24 March:

The Voice