Now entering its seventh series - its second on ITV - ‘The Voice’ bosses will be seeking to replicate the success of The X Factor’s own seventh series, when 19 million tuned in to see Matt Cardle crowned winner in 2010.
While they probably shouldn’t hold out for figures quite that high, we saw a special preview of episode one at The Voice’s press launch earlier this week, and we reckon the early signs are indicating this season could be their best yet.
It FINALLY seems like fun
One of the criticisms levelled at ‘The Voice’ in the past has been that it doesn’t seem like any fun either to watch or be on, but this year, the chemistry between the coaches brings that much-needed element.
Where as in the past, the show has been very much focused on the talent, the first episode of the series allows us to see the coaches cutting loose in their roles and having a laugh together.
Clearly, the group has had time to bond, and the show’s newest recruit - former ‘X Factor’ contestant and host, Olly Murs - has certainly helped to bring the fun out in Tom, and also lessen some of the Will.i.am’s more grating quirks.
But, let’s take a minute to talk about the real star of the show...
Jennifer Hudson. Jennifer Hudson. Jennifer Hudson.
J-Hud made a big impression when she joined the coaching line-up last year, producing most of the series’ memorable moments, resulting in a plethora of memes and GIFs.
Having now also served as a judge on the US version, Jennifer has returned to ‘The Voice UK’ with even more personality (if that were possible), and the first episode of the new series is undoubtedly all about her.
Not only does she give two completely impromptu performances while the coaches have some downtime, but she unexpectedly whips out a collection plate during two auditions to raise money for charity, as well as threatening to fist fight all of her male counterparts to get one contestant on her team.
What a woman.
The contestants feel relatable at last
One thing ‘The Voice’ hasn’t been very good at in the past (and also something ‘The X Factor’ is conversely great at) is allowing us to get to know each contestant who auditions.
This year, bosses seem to have taken the time to film better interviews and delve into the singers’ backstories a little more, making hopefuls people we actually root for.
Thankfully too, they haven’t gone down the sob story route to achieve this, still keeping the tone of the show upbeat and positive.
There’s an audition that stands up against some of the best
If you were to round up a list of the best ever talent show auditions, we highly doubt it would feature any of the past ‘Voice’ contestants, but there’s one in the first episode that fans are going to remember.
We don’t want to spoil it too much, but what we will say is to look out for 16-year-old Donel Mangena (and his nan) at the end of the show.
Something tells us someone is about to become a viral sensation.
‘The Voice’ airs on Saturday (6 January) at 8pm on ITV.