will.i.am insists his “banter” on The Voice is harmless, despite show bosses “expressing their concerns” following his argument with Jessie J.
The Black Eyed Peas star appears on the UK version of the hit TV talent show alongside Jessie, Sir Tom Jones and The Script’s Danny O’Donoghue. In an upcoming pre-recorded episode, will.i.am apparently comes to blows with fellow judge and mentor Jessie over talented 21-year-old contestant Joelle.
When Jessie teases: "I'm William and I’ve got two dashes in my name,” will retorts by calling her "Little Miss Jessie" and saying: "I can’t sing like Jessie but I know how to produce."
will.i.am says the remarks he makes on the show are all in good humour.
"There was one point where my team came in and expressed concerns on the banter between the coaches. I am the most unconfrontational man in the world – it is not my style – but that was the first time they have ever seen that side of me and they were like, 'Will, what are you doing?'” he told British newspaper The Mirror.
"They pulled me back in the dressing room and told me that I should not be doing that. They said it certainly didn't look like banter.
"When you are competing and you wanted something and you see Jessie wants what I want, you are a different person and it is hard to control that. We all take it very seriously. It is hard to control something when you are fighting for someone. It is not for the sake of TV – I won’t do something like that for ratings,” he said.
will.i.am wants to remain honest throughout the whole process. The producer-and-rapper says the frustrations that are caught on camera are all real.
"I remember on the first day, before the cameras went on, they asked us to turn it up for TV and I remember telling Jessie, 'I am not going to do something just for TV, that is fake'. I remember us saying that to each other. And then two days in, the team of producers was like, 'Thanks a lot' and I was like, 'What?'” he explained.
"The banter was real and it was like hungry people fighting over a steak. The fangs were drawn."
Meanwhile, it has been reported that four singers will be helping the judges mentor their acts. Paloma Faith will join Danny’s team, while Cerys Matthews has teamed up with Tom.
Jessie will be helped by Scissor Sisters singer Ana Matronic, with Dante Santiago assisting will.i.am.