Sir Tom Jones has announced his return to The Voice UK just a year after the BBC fired the iconic singer from the series. The It's Not Unusual hitmaker will be joined by new judges Jennifer Hudson and Gavin Rossdale and longtime coach will.i.am as the talent competition series moves to ITV.
The 76-year-old appeared as a judge on the series for three years until he was removed from the line-up in 2015. Announcing the news, Jones said in a statement: "I had some great times on the show and I can't wait to again discover and help some brand new talent. And of course be back with my pal will.i.am."
Oscar-winning actress and singer Hudson will make her debut on the UK version when it debuts on ITV in 2017. Sharing her excitement about joining the panel, Hudson said: "I couldn't be more excited to join the amazing panel of coaches on The Voice UK."
Bush rocker Rossdale, who has appeared as a guest on the US version of the series, added: "I am so thrilled to be joining The Voice UK. I have always been extremely proud to fly the flag for British rock music and I can't wait to join this incredible panel and help discover some new talent."
Reaction to the revamped panel have been mostly positive so far with one Jones fan commenting on Twitter: "I'm glad that ITV are bringing Sir Tom Jones back for the voice. It was so unfair when the BBC dropped him," while another said: "Welcome back "Sir Tom Jones" you are the #voice." One fan stated: "This looks a great panel!" and another tweeted: "Great to see Sir Tom Jones back on #TheVoiceUK was treated very shabby by the BBC."
Not everyone is impressed by ITV's choices with countering: "ITV have picked the WORSE judges for The Voice. None of them are young and none of them specialise in pop. Who the hell is Gavin Rossdale?" while another weighed in: "Disappointing panel for the new series of The Voice."
Addressing the new line-up, ITV network head of entertainment Siobhan Greene said: "I am absolutely chuffed to bits with the line-up. All four coaches are global artists in the music industry and are at the top of their game."
Following the fourth series in August 2015, Jones slammed the BBC series after learning that he had been fired with only a day's notice. Hitting out in a Facebook post, Jones said at the time: "About The Voice UK: In good faith, as part of the team, I'd put the time in my schedule to be involved in series five, as I've done for the last four years. I've supported the show and the BBC since the beginning.
"I was told yesterday, with no consultation or conversation of any kind, that I would not be returning. Having been through plenty of transformations throughout the years, I support and admire creative change. But being informed, as a matter of duty and respect, is an important part of creative relationships. This sub-standard behaviour from the executives is very disappointing."
The Voice UK will make its ITV premiere in 2017 although a date is yet to be announced.