Seven’s “all killer, no filler” Voice.
As Sonia Kruger returns to a trimmed-down Voice, she is happy the format has evolved.
With The Voice moving from Nine to Seven the show has revamped its coaching panel and its format.
Blind Auditions take place across three weeks but from there it will be a quicker jaunt to the Grand Final. Returning is the “block” in which Coaches can prevent another from choosing an artist. But this year there is no limit on how many places are on each team.
“The thing I like about the show is the way the way it’s been reshaped,” says returning host Sonia Kruger.
“There are unlimited numbers that the coaches can take, but then they have to make the cut. And that is quite brutal, because they have to cut them down to five artists each.
“We want to get to the crux of it a little bit faster”
‘It’s all killer, no filler, as we like to say. It’s important that shows like The Voice evolve. Much like the way that Big Brother has, because our viewing habits have changed. We want to get to the crux of it a little bit faster. It still breathes where it needs to but we’d seen enough of the battles and now we get through to those Finals faster.”
Filming took place in March – April before a Sydney lockdown and unlike the 2020 season on Nine, a studio audience was allowed.
“With shows like The Voice and Australia’s Got Talent an audience is kind of integral. The artists need to hear that feedback from the audience to get them through those performances. We were really lucky this year that we managed to shoot it in a time where restrictions weren’t as stringent.”
Guy Sebastian returns as coach along with Keith Urban, who coached on the debut season in 2012. They are joined by Australian Idol runner-up Jessica Mauboy and UK singer Rita Ora.
“Maybe that’s because I haven’t worked with with either of them before”
“Rita really surprised me. She’s beautiful, a British pop star -but she’s actually very well educated and really articulate. I think that’s the thing that I loved about all of our coaches, but in particular Keith and Rita. Maybe that’s because I haven’t worked with with either of them before,” Kruger reflects.
“Keith was so considered in his responses and incredibly intelligent and same with Rita. So was Guy for that matter, and Jess. They just come at it from a slightly different perspective. Jess has very much walked in those shoes. She auditioned 15 years ago. She has a huge amount of empathy and Guy knows the business inside and out.”
Yet if there are any lingering questions for The Voice, and it applies internationally to the format, is its ability to create recording stars. Is the show more about the coaches than the singers?
“There have been people who, seemingly to me, have had more success internationally”
“There have been people who, seemingly to me, have had more success internationally as a result of winning The Voice. I think Judah Kelly and Sam Perry ended up in London doing quite a bit of work, pre pandemic,” she suggests.
“It is a good question but it’s one that I find difficult to answer, because I’m not part of the recording industry in Australia. It’s probably a better question for somebody like Guy, Keith or Rita.”
Industry pundits also commend Sony for its ability to foster Idol talent than Universal Music has done with The Voice. Yet the recording industry has also evolved over the years, shifting from physical to digital sales in an age of social media.
Kruger maintains that there is no shortage of talent, despite the naysayers who suggest our population limits our pool talent.
“That attitude always surprises me, because not only are there huge amounts of untapped talent in the country,” she continues.
“We went back to that initial brief, which was to uncover those rough diamonds”
“We went back to that initial brief, which was to uncover those rough diamonds. People that aren’t professional backup singers, or singing teachers. People who are going about their everyday lives, who just have this incredible talent.
“Every year, there are more people coming through. That’s the other thing. The population isn’t a stagnant 25 million or whatever we are. The population continues to replenish and so does the talent.”
So who should we look out for this year? Kruger points to some early rough diamonds.
“There’s some amazing performers right from the get go. A 16 year old girl kicks it off, but she doesn’t sound 16. Mick the Mower Man mows lawns for a living. He has two gorgeous little girls and every time he performs it kills me, because they just look at him with such adoration, so in love with their daddy.
“She’s got a really otherworldly voice”
“There’s another girl named Bella. She’s got a really otherworldly voice. She speaks with a really soft voice but when she sings her voice changes completely.
“And I do love the siblings, Jordan and his sister Sian. She was just there to support Jordan. And basically I said, ‘Why don’t you audition?’ So completely unprepared she gets up and performs. For somebody who was given zero notice, she does an incredible job.
“They’re probably the ones I would definitely keep an eye out for in the early days. But there’s so many more to come.”
The Voice returns 7pm Sunday and continues Monday and Tuesday on Seven.