With the new series of The Voice coming to BBC1 this weekend, will.i.am has said that this year’s line-up of coaches is the best yet.

At the launch of the fourth series of the singing competition on Monday, the Black Eyed Peas star was asked if he thought that this year’s line-up of coaches, which sees Rita Ora replace Kylie Minogue, is the best that the show has ever seen.

He said, “If I say yes it looks like I’m being mean to the others. I loved series one and two with Jessie J and series three with Kylie but the reason I like this one the most is because I was friends with Rita before the show. It feels good to have someone you’ve known and who you can be yourself with.”

Will and Rita are joined by The Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson who returns for a second series, and singing legend Tom Jones who, along with Will, is back for the fourth time.

Although Will’s been a coach from the show’s beginning in 2012 he still finds it difficult when a performer doesn’t make it through the blind auditions…

“I know what if feels like to have the door slammed in my face and to be rejected,” he said. “I don’t ever want to be the door slammer for anyone. I’ve been doing it for four years and I still don’t know how to just take that. It hurts me. I can never get used to it.”

Rita added, “It just sucks because these people have already auditioned to be on the show – they’re talented. It’s not like you have these joke acts or anything like that. These people can already sing. It just sucks trying to pick out the great ones from the good ones.”