Spin your chair round with excitement The Voice coaches reveal all…


After years conquering the charts in her quirky costumes, pop princess Paloma Faith is now facing her biggest challenge so far. The outrageous star is set to follow in the footsteps of Kylie Minogue, Jessie J and Rita Ora as a coach on The Voice alongside Will.i.am, 40, Ricky Wilson, 37, and fellow newbie Boy George, 54 – but will she be spinning round in the infamous red chair with success or will her fear of failure get the better of her? ‘I know it’s not fair to say this, but Paloma’s the best female we’ve ever had on the show,’ Will tells us in the wake of Rita quitting in favour of the unspoken ‘conflicting show’ (ahem, The X Factor). But a surprisingly shy Paloma, 34, tells us why she doesn’t necessarily agree…

How are the new coaches settling in?

Ricky: I thought I’d just turn up and do the same old job this
year, but everything’s different! They’ve made it really tough. You learn a lot about people when…

George: You’re stuck in a room with no oxygen!

Will: Paloma is like… she has the fire of Jessie J, she’s sweet like Kylie and is like Rita with her deep imagination. She’s the best female we’ve had on the show. And when I walked in and saw Boy George, I was like: ‘Oh shit!’ He’s a childhood icon of mine.

In 2013 you branded the show ‘pointless’ on Twitter, George – what made you change your mind?

G: A smart person always changes their mind about everything – that’s the way it works. You’re Tweeting about it because you’re a musician and you love music. Even when you’re in the room filming, it’s weird. It’s called The Voice, so you have to respect that.

R: We all shout at the TV while watching, but until you’re sat in the chair on set…

G: It’s fierce!

Paloma, what made you want to do The Voice?

Paloma: It took me a while to decide if I wanted to do it and I thought I wouldn’t. I find it quite difficult, thinking: ‘Why does my opinion even count?’ It’s hard to straddle the line between criticism and constructive criticism.

G: She’s so current and full of soul and has obviously had No 1s…

P: I’ve only sold 12 albums – I don’t what you’re talking about! I think half of the contestants are better than I am.

G: Oh please, false modesty! She’s a hot, young, new star. Some of the young ones don’t really know who I am and they call me a legend, but I don’t even know what that means.

What was your biggest worry about agreeing to the show?

P: I was worried the whole country could turn against me. I’ve realised that even though I come across all: ‘Oohh!’ [which we think translates to ‘a little zany’] I really care what people think and that was the real reason I didn’t want to do it. I’ve tried to stay true to myself, which is a hard thing to do.

Are you worried fans of the show might not like you?

P: We live in such a social media age and it’s so easy for someone to just say: ‘You suck, you bastard!’ or swear at you. I get that a lot!

W: Snarky comments from people who also stop you for selfies.

G: I notoriously used to engage with trolls and I’d spend whole days arguing with 14-year-old girls. And then someone said to me: ‘Haven’t you got anything better to do?’ and I stopped.

P: You put one foot wrong and someone sat behind a computer will tell you to go burn in hell.

So will you all look at social media when the show airs?

P: Oh I will – I actually self-harm by looking at them [laughs]. I go on there purposely to look for insults, so I’ll beat myself up.

R: You go through 99 good comments and find one bad one…

P: And you focus on that for the next week.

Do you ever get this negativity away from the internet?

P: I recently felt it while on stage… but I’m not going to talk about that. The worst thing is when people aren’t even bothered you’re up there, when they’re just milling around talking among themselves.

Ricky, you were close to Rita last series. Did you feel she’d ditched you by heading over to The X Factor?

R: No. When she told me she was offered The X Factor gig The Voice hadn’t got in touch about the next series and you’ve got to do what you have to.

Did you watch her on it?

R: Yeah, she did great.

W: I still talk to her like three times a week!

R: She texted me selfies from Simon Cowell’s private jet, which is a lot different to us filming here in Salford.

Is it strange not to have Tom Jones here this series too?

W: It makes you wish they had five chairs. But it’s four and I’m happy with the panel we have.

R: Tom’s still alive [laughs]! He’s gigging, he’s released a book and I’ve seen him since.

G: I’d like to clarify – I replaced Rita because I’m a younger model!

Paloma, is it true you actually asked Simon Cowell for advice on your decision?

P: Yeah. I care about what people think and he’s an influential person. I was talking to him one day and said I’d been offered this. I asked what he thought and he gave me his blessing.

That’s nice!

P: I was really nervous. I thought he’d say no because it’s the conflicting show [to the X Factor] in my eyes. But he gave me an unbiased answer and laughed, saying: ‘Oh, you believe the media? It’s all fun and pretend – we’re friends.’

Did he advise you on the actual coaching of contestants?

P: No one can give me advice on anything because I’m 100 per cent myself all the time and I’m unable to be something else.

Who wants to win the most?

G: All of us!

R: When I came back I was terrified. The first year was all about surviving, the second year I was so focused on winning that I didn’t enjoy it and I thought this year I’d just take it easy. But after the first audition I thought: ‘Right, I’m going to win this.’

P: When I started filming I was telling everyone: ‘I don’t really care and I’m not competitive.’ But now I’ve become emotionally attached to my contestants.
After just one performance I was shouting: ‘I want them to win it!’

The Voice returns to BBC1 at 7.30pm on 9 January