The Voice UK



Holly Willoughby and Reggie Yates (2012-3)

Emma Willis and Marvin Humes (2014-)


Vocal coaches: (all series)
Tom Jones (2012-5)
Danny O'Donoghue (2012-3)
Jessie J (2012-3)
Kylie Minogue (2014)
Ricky Wilson (2014-)
Rita Ora (2015)
Paloma Faith (2016-)
Boy George (2016-)

Zoe Ball (The Voice: Louder on Two, 2014-)


Wall to Wall and Talpa for BBC One, 24 March 2012 to 2016

Wall to Wall and Talpa for ITV, 2017 to present

as The Voice Kids: 2017 to present


Originating in the Netherlands, this is a singing competition with a difference (or as it's known to the rest of us, a gimmick). The judges, known as coaches, sit with their backs to each contestant as they audition, meaning the only thing they have to base their opinion on is the contestant's voice.

As with a number of talent competitions, the first stage is not broadcast and sees the hopefuls audition before the producers in the hope of impressing them, and being put through to audition in front of the coaches. Unlike other talent shows however, where contestants who perhaps aren't cut out to be singers are put through to audition for the coaches to make for so-called good TV, only contestants who can hold a tune stand a chance of being put through.

The Voice UK The judges begin with their back to the contestant.

The second, and first televised stage is the blind auditions. Here the contestants, known as artists, perform on a stage in a TV studio (located at BBC TV Centre in the first series, MediaCity:UK in Salford subsequently). At the bottom end of the stage are four large red chairs, facing away from the stage towards the audience beyond. Each chair is equipped with a screen on the back indicating the coach's name, while on the front of the chair is a small desk, with a large red button. As each artist performs, the coaches listen, and if they like what they hear enough, they can hit their red button to spin their chair around, and indicate their interest in having that artist on their team. In the event no coach presses their button by the end of their performance, the artist is eliminated from the competition. If more than one coach presses their button, the power switches to the artist, and they can choose whose team they want to be on. The coaches need to be careful about when they choose to press their button as they are restricted to taking 12 artists (ten in the first series) through to the next round.

After several weeks of blind auditions, and once all four coaches have filled their teams, the next stage, the battle rounds get underway. In this stage, each coach's 12 artists are paired off, and are mentored by their coach in preparation for singing against each other. In the studio, each pair performs the same song at the same time in an attempt to vocally outshine their opponent. At the end of performance, their coach must decide who to keep on their team, and who to eliminate. For the second series a 'steal' twist was introduced at this stage. This meant that an artist who had been eliminated by their coach could remain in the competition with another coach, if one of the other coaches pressed the button on their chair within a given period of time. As with the blind auditions, if more than one coach pressed their button, the artist was able to choose. Each judge could only use their steal once, meaning they had to use it wisely.

In the first series, the artists who had won their duels in the battle rounds went straight through to the live shows. However the second series introduced a new stage, the knockout round. This round starts with each coach having seven artists, six winners of the battle rounds, and one artist stolen from another coach. Each artist performs a 'killer' song, with their coach choosing three out of their seven artists to progress to the live shows.

The Voice UK A bout from the battle round in progress.

The final stage of the competition is the live shows. In the first series, each coach started the live shows with five artists. Across a series of four live shows, each week saw all of the artists from two of the teams perform. The first time around this resulted in the elimination of a single artist from each coach's team. The second time around two artists from each coach's team were eliminated, with the remaining two artists in each coach's team progressing to the semi-final. These artists performed again in the semi-final with one more artist from each team being eliminated, and the remaining artist progressing to the final. In the second series, each coach started the live shows with three artists, with there being just two live shows before the final. Each of the live shows saw all of the artists perform, with one artist from each coach's team being eliminated each week. In each variation, the format is constructed in such a manner that each coach is guaranteed to have one artist in the final, unlike The X Factor where a judge can reach the final with no acts left in their category. In the final each artist performs a number of songs, before the final votes are tallied, and the winner is announced. The winner receives a recording contract with Universal Music.

The third series in 2014 played out in broadly the same manner, however there were several changes in personnel. Danny O'Donogue and Jessie J left their spinning chairs behind, making way for Kylie Minogue and Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson. Holly Willoughby and Reggie Yates also moved on, leaving the door open for Emma Willis and ex-JLS singer Marvin Humes to take over the reins.

The series started airing in January, as opposed to its previous March airdate for the first two series. This move ended a typically tabloid-fuelled ratings battle with Britain's Got Talent. 2014 also brought in a spin-off for the final weeks of the contest. The Voice: Louder on Two began on 24 March, the Monday after the first live show. It was closely modelled on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two, sharing the same 6.30 timeslot and the same host Zoe Ball.


Based on the Dutch format, The Voice of Holland, and credited as being devised by Talpa Distribution B.V.


2012 Leanne Mitchell, as mentored by Sir Tom Jones
2013 Andrea Begley, as mentored by Danny O'Donoghue
2014 Jermain Jackman, as mentored by
2015 Stevie McCrorie, as mentored by Ricky Wilson


The Voice UK: Access All Areas was on sale during series 1.

Web links

Official site

Wikipedia entry

The show publicised social media: #thevoiceuk, @bbcthevoiceuk and facebook/bbcthevoiceuk

See also

The X Factor

Weaver's Week review


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