Jessie J Confirms Return as Coach on BBC's 'The Voice U.K.'

5:40 AM PST 08/24/2012 by Georg Szalai
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Jessie J

An executive tells the Edinburgh TV festival that the second season will feature more blind auditions and fewer live shows, while an ITV rep remains bullish on the “X Factor.”

EDINBURGH - Jessie J has confirmed that she will return as a coach for the second season of the BBC's The Voice U.K.

Some had wondered if the 24-year-old star would leave the music competition amid reports that she may concentrate on her musical career and suggestions that the show may need a change of coaches and judges amid declining ratings later in the first season.

"I WILL be a coach on the 2nd series of The Voice UK!," Jessie J tweeted."I'm B B B BACK!"

Other coaches on the show are Tom Jones and will.i.am.

Meanwhile, Mark Linsey, controller of entertainment commissioning at the BBC, told a panel at the Edinburgh International Television Festival on Friday that the second season would feature more of the blind auditions and the swivel chairs that are the auditions' signature element.

"We'll be doing less live shows," because those have "become very, very predictable" amid all sorts of similar show offers, he said. "The blind auditions were the best bit. We have learned a lot" from the first season.

Asked how the expansion of the auditions portion of the show could work, Linsey said: "We'll let you know. I don't want to get into it all the way."

But he signaled that he didn't expect changes in the lineup of coaches and judges, saying the company was currently in talks with them.

Questioned about The Voice's ratings, which surprised and beat Simon Cowell's Britain's Got Talent early on this year before falling off significantly, he said: "We did worry about the live shows, because they trailed off in other territories." The blind auditions' ratings were better than expected, while the rest fell short of hopes, he added.

Siobhan Greene, head of television at Simon Cowell's Syco Entertainment, told the panel, entitled "Star Wars: The Battle for Saturday Night," that for Britain's Got Talent, the competition from The Voice was good. "We got real competition, and we had to be the best," she said.

Asked how Cowell was dealing with ratings challenges, she said he was "focused" and ate chicken pie instead of being nervous.

"It has focused the mind. Competition is healthy," said Greene, who is scheduled to move to ITV Studios shortly. "We had a keen sense that we needed to keep our foot on the gas."

Also on the panel, Elaine Bedell, director of entertainment & comedy at ITV, was asked about last weekend's return of X Factor to ratings that were down from last year.

She said the broadcaster wasn't nervous about the season opener's decline. "It was the hottest day of the year," Bedell said, who also cited the aftermath of the Olympics on the BBC. "We're just at the beginning."

She lauded the great talent coming through the show this season as a key factor that will help draw a crowd.

Bedell did, however, say she was "a little disappointed with this summer's ratings for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Superstar, which searched for a performer for a concert tour of his musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

It was Webber's first ITV show after years of working on series for the BBC. Bedell said though that the show aired in an "unusual" summer time slot and produced a very talented winner. She didn't discuss whether Webber would return with another ITV show.

Before the panel, Britain's Got Talent winners Ashleigh and Pudsey, her dancing dog, entertained the festival crowd with a brief surprise performance.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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