The Voice’s famous red chairs will be spinning into the battles round for the first time ever tonight.

Since the talent show’s debut on BBC1 in 2012, the coaches have only turned in their chairs during the blind auditions stage of the competition.

However, the end of the blind auditions – long regarded as the show’s unique selling point – has often coincided with a fall in ratings.

The Voice coaches will.i.am, Boy George, Paloma Faith and Ricky Wilson

The Voice coaches will.i.am, Boy George, Paloma Faith and Ricky Wilson (BBC)

Viewers have tended to lose interest at the end of the audition stage in which the four coaches, who are seated in their red chairs facing the studio audience, pick singers for their team based solely on the voice they hear.

When a coach hits the buzzer, their chair spins around in the direction of the auditioning act.

The consolidated viewing figures for the 2015 series saw an average of 9.05 million tune in for the premiere of the blind auditions.

 

will.i.am, Boy George, Paloma Faith and Ricky Wilson on The Voice

will.i.am, Boy George, Paloma Faith and Ricky Wilson on The Voice (Guy Levy/Wall To Wall/BBC)

 

By the first battle rounds, the viewing figures had dropped to 8.47 million. The grand final won by fireman Stevie McCrorie saw a further fall with just 6.87 million viewers watching.

The all-star panel of will.i.am, Boy George, Ricky Wilson and Paloma Faith are now tasked with halving their teams from 12 acts to six.

This week’s two-hour instalment features 24 acts going head-to-head in a vocal battle staged in a setting resembling a boxing ring.

 

The battles rounds of The Voice

The battles rounds of The Voice (BBC)

 

Once a coach has selected their battles rounds victor, the other three coaches will spin away from the losing act.

If another coach decides to steal the singer, they must hit their buzzer so that their chair spins back around again. But each coach is allowed only two steals each.

If more than one coach buzzes, the singer has to decide which team they would like to join.

 

Jordan Gray

Jordan Gray (BBC)

 

Viewers will see returning pop star wannabe Jordan Gray, who has been placed in Faith’s team. The transgender singer from Essex is back because Londoner JJ Soulx left the show for personal reasons.

Jordan originally auditioned to Bob Dylan’s Just Like a Woman, but she failed to persuade any coaches to turn around.

Talking about the battles rounds, Boy George said: “It is kind of daunting, it’s going to be emotional, but I have to remember that it’s a competition. It’s all going to be about the performance.”

 

Rick Snowdon on The Voice

Rick Snowdon on The Voice (Guy Levy/Wall To Wall/BBC)

 

Paloma agreed and added: “I don’t want to see anyone go.” She continued: “I wish this wasn’t The Voice at the moment. I wish it was a summer school so we could carry on working forever.”

Among the contestants hoping to impress the coaches are former X Factor auditionee Lydia Lucy from Essex and Hartlepool rocker Rick Snowdon, who has sparked media interest after losing 13 stones in weight.

 

Tune in to The Voice tonight on BBC1 at 7pm