'The Voice' UK - How does it work?

Published Mar 23 2012, 14:39 GMT  |  By

The Voice UK Episode 1 - Danny O'Donoghue, Will.i.am, Tom Jones, Jessie J performing together

© BBC / Wall To Wall

It's not long now until The Voice UK debuts, and if you've so much as glanced at a tabloid over the last few weeks, you'll be well aware that it's going head-to-head with Britain's Got Talent and has been pushed by its own stars as a cooler, more credible and all-round better format than anything in the Cowell catalogue.

You've probably also heard about the blind auditions - the show's unique selling point - where coaches Jessie J, will.i.am, Sir Tom Jones and Danny O'Donoghue sit with their backs to the contestant and decide whether they want to represent them based on nothing more than the voice (aah, I get it now!).

But then what? How are all those who get a yes from the pros whittled down to just one winner? We here at Digital Spy are a kind and caring lot, and we wouldn't want you to go into The Voice - well, blind - so read on below for our handy little crash course.

The Blind Auditions
This is the bit you might know. The coaches are sat in fancy high-back chairs facing away from the contestant. The hopeful sings a little ditty and if anyone likes what they hear, they'll press a button and swivel round to see the (potential) monstrosity before them. If no coach presses a button, then that auditionee is out of the running. If just one of the stars chooses to turn around, well, then things are nice and simple - the contestant automatically lands that person as a mentor.

It's when two or more of the coaches decide they want to represent the singer that things get interesting. Like with The X Factor, each panelist has a team of contestants that they preside over - only in this case, it's the contestants that get to choose who they want to align with.

The coaches get involved in an Apprentice-esque bout of squabbling and mud-flinging, each trying to prove that they are the best candidate for the singer. After listening to everyone's arguments, the contestant gets to partner up with the celeb they feel will be the best fit for them.

Watch a teaser of the The Voice UK coaches biggin' themselves up below:



The Battles
Let's hope the contestants really appreciate that rare position of power though, because from now on their fate is totally out of their hands. Once the auditions are over, each coach will work with the members of their team and get involved with developing them as artists, with a little help from some "trusted advisors" (think Judges' Houses guests).

The coaches will then pit their own team members against each other in a series of head-to-head sing-offs, probably singing the same song like in the US version. The coach will have the sole decision as to who wins each duel and lands a spot in the live shows. Each coach will apparently have five acts left at the end of the battles, leaving us with a final 20 for when the public vote begins.

Watch a clip of the battle rounds from The Voice USA below:



The Live Shows
Now, 20 sounds like a lot of contestants to have at the live stages, doesn't it? After all, this isn't the Eurovision Song Contest. Although the BBC haven't confirmed exactly how this bit will work, chances are the UK show will mimic its foreign predecessors at this point and split them all up for the first two weeks.

See, the precedent is that two coaches and their teams compete in the first live show (so that's ten contestants), with one act belonging to each coach automatically voted through to the next stage by the public. The coaches have then traditionally picked one more of their singers to continue, eliminating the rest. Then the following week, the remaining two famous faces and their contestants repeat the process.

So, by the third week of live shows there should be a final eight - two for each coach. Through a combination of judges' scores and viewer votes, the final four - one person for each coach - will be decided. Again, this is all based on international formats, but there's no reason to suggest the BBC will deviate from what's worked so far.

What we are confident of is that in the final, it's all down to us. No more coach picks, no iffy deadlock decisions or abstained vote controversies. We get to pick the winner of The Voice UK, who receives a record deal with Universal Music and will hopefully put out something more engaging than 'Cannonball'.

So there you go, you're up to date on The Voice UK. But the question is, do you think it will actually be any good? What do you think of the format? Can it really beat Britain's Got Talent? Leave your comments below!

> The Voice UK launch show - In Pictures
> The Voice: Can it topple Simon Cowell and Britain's Got Talent?