Sir Tom Jones has said he will be listening for “honesty” and “originality” in the voices of singers in the upcoming series of The Voice UK.
The Welsh singer returns as a coach for the new series of the ITV show alongside coaches Jennifer Hudson, Olly Murs and Will.i.am.
This year’s series also boasts a new twist with trios allowed to compete for the first time.
Sir Tom said: “Honesty is the first thing. They’ve got to be honest. Sometimes you can tell that they’re singing a certain way because they’ve heard other people doing it or they’re copying the record they’ve heard so they sing it too much like the original.
“There’s no point in that. So I’m looking out for originality. The honesty of the singer has got to come through so you think, I can hear THAT person.
“Whoever he or she is, I can hear them in there but some people you can’t. And you think I wonder what that person is like because I’m not getting anything from it.”
The winner of this year’s series, student Ruti Olajugbagbe from Essex, was mentored by Sir Tom.
Former X Factor star Murs, who returns for a second stint as a Voice coach, said he feels more “comfortable” returning again.
He said: “I feel the coaches have got to know me more. I feel they get my banter or sense of humour.
“They sort of understand what contestants I will go with. I feel like I’ve made the chair my own and I think they respect me and have got to know me which is great.
“We all genuinely get on. I think there’s a real bond between us. We don’t all hang out and go drinking and clubbing together but when we’re together as a four piece in those chairs there’s just something really special between us which I think the fans of the show see.”
Dreamgirls star Jennifer Hudson named Sir Tom and Murs as the pair she thought would present the toughest competition for her this year.
She said: “I think Tom and next, surprisingly, Olly. Will is so different from me. Although he did take someone I wanted… so I should also look out for Will. I think Tom though.”
Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am said he hoped to be the type of coach to his hopefuls that record producer Jimmy Iovine was to him.
He said he did not think “anybody could have done for us (the Black Eyed Peas) what Jimmy did for us”.
The series moved from BBC One to ITV in 2017 and Emma Willis will return as the show’s presenter.
The Voice UK airs on ITV on January 5 at 8pm.