EXCLUSIVE will.i.am: ‘I Didn’t Like How The Voice Axed Tom Jones’

The Voice veteran will.i.am has spoken out about the way his long-time co-star Tom Jones was axed from the series after four years on the BBC show.

The legendary Welsh musician, 75, hit out at producers and the BBC last year saying they can “go f**k themselves” for dropping him without consultation. He was only informed he had been replaced by new coach Boy George a day before it was announced publicly.

In a statement in August 2015, Tom said he had put aside time in his busy schedule for The Voice and had “no idea” he faced being replaced.

Speaking to Yahoo Celebrity at the launch of the new series, will.i.am admitted: “There’s a lot of changes … the way it was done I didn’t like.”

New coach Paloma Faith then added: “For people to find out five minutes before…”

However, it seems Black Eyed Peas star will was reluctant to speak too negatively about the Beeb.

He continued, “This is a family, for someone to come into my house and say, ‘Hey, show me where your dirty laundry’s at’, I can’t show people’s underwear.

“This is a family, even being on the BBC it’s a family … how things were handled, we know it wasn’t the best, but I can’t tell you how I feel about it.”

Meanwhile, Paloma insisted legendary Tom doesn’t need a starring role on The Voice.

“Tom has other fish to fry. He’s going to be fine. I don’t think Tom needs The Voice to have a career. He’s an incredible human being,” she said.

Speaking about his departure in August 2015, Tom said he had “no warning” that producers were seeking to replace him.

“Being informed, as a matter of duty and respect, is an important part of creative relationships,” he explained.

"This sub-standard behaviour from the executives is very disappointing.”

The BBC’s director of television Danny Cohen, meanwhile, said he was “sorry” the star was upset.

"I’ve got huge respect for Tom and I’m truly sorry he’s upset, because I am a big fan of his,” he said.

“I think he’s a gentleman, I think he’s an extraordinary figure in music and you’ll have seen the huge respect that all of the artists have had for him on The Voice throughout.”

The Voice series 5 begins on Saturday 9 January on BBC One