The Voice UK has unveiled the lineup of judges for its fifth season on BBC. Returning judges Will.I.Am and Ricky Wilson will be joined by 1980s pop culture icon Boy George and soul singer Paloma Faith. Former judge Rita Ora jumped ship to ITV’s rival singing show X Factor to spice up the competition between the two flagship Saturday primetime contests.
Season 4 of The Voice drew ratings of 10 million for the BBC. The show has, however, come under fire in recent weeks as it has become a political volleyball for critics of the BBC and the way it spends its budget. John Whittingdale, the Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, announcing the government’s strategic review of the BBC in July, singled out The Voice as one show that did not need to to be on the BBC, particularly in contrast to local hit Strictly Come Dancing.
“For example, the BBC acquired the format for The Voice. This was a singing talent show developed overseas, bought by the BBC at a reported cost of around £20 million and similar to ITV’s X Factor,” said Whittingdale. “This is in contrast to Strictly Come Dancing which was developed by the BBC in-house and then sold abroad.”