Keith Urban (second from left) with Joel Madden, Delta Goodrem and Seal, his fellow coaches from the first season of The Voice.Australia, are you ready to shake your bon-bon?
Ricky Martin, the Latin pop superstar who will replace home-town boy Keith Urban in Nine’s ratings juggernaut The Voice, arrives this weekend.
Production on the second series of The Voice is expected to get under way next week.
Martin will join the show’s returning coaches, Joel Madden, Seal and Delta Goodrem, on the set of the show next week and take ownership one of the show’s four trademark red chairs.
Martin’s arrival is also expected to cause an avalanche of media attention ahead of the highly-anticipated second season of the show which rewrote the rules of the TV ratings war in 2012.
Martin will relocate to Australia for the duration of The Voice shoot, along with his partner, economist Carlos Gonzalez Abella, and his twin sons, Matteo and Valentino.
The boys have a particular connection to Australia: their surrogate mother Liza Santolini is Australian.
“It’s going to be a very beautiful first six months of the year,” he told the Today show last year.
Martin comes to The Voice straight from Broadway, where he has been playing Che in the musical Evita. Martin had set January 26 – Australia Day – as his final show.
But the producers of the show have been unable to recast several key roles, including Martin’s, and January 26 subsequently became the final show for the whole production. It closed last weekend.
Martin has a busy year ahead of him: in addition to The Voice he also has a television series in development with the US studio NBC/Universal and will soon publish his second book, a children’s book. (The first was his autobiography, Me, which was published in 2010.)
The first series of The Voice only ran for 10 weeks in Australia but the series became a titanic success for the Nine Network, drawing between 2.1 and 2.7 million viewers weekly for most of its 16-week run.
Only on three occasions did it dip below the 2 million mark, and even then only by a fraction.
The final program was watched by 2.7 million viewers, with 3.2 million people tuned in for the winner’s announcement.
Nine will attempt to gently stretch the format in its second series, adding an additional 10 hours of content and running the series over about three months instead of just over two.
Last year the series lost one of its most loved coaches, Keith Urban, to American Idol for a rumoured $US4 million paycheck.
Urban joined Idol veteran Randy Jackson and newcomers Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey in a format which, arguably, gives him less space to express his excellent understanding of music artistry.
The intensity and duration of the search for a replacement coach on The Voice illustrated the extent to which popular talent formats worldwide have soaked up the pool of A-list international recording artists, to fill coach and judge panels that increasingly require “superstar” firepower.
Martin won the coveted role, beating out a number of high-profile musicians for the gig, including Grammy-nominated English singer-songwriter James Blunt and the Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter Jason Mraz.
American singer-songwriter Lenny Kravitz and Matchbox Twenty’s songwriter and lead singer, Rob Thomas, were also in contention.
Nine is expected to launch The Voice after Easter.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.