The Voice seeks its next set of singers

Finalists Andrea Begley, Mike Ward, Matt Henry, Leah McFall line up beside presenters Holly Willoughby and Reggie Yates Different styles: Finalists Andrea Begley, Mike Ward, Matt Henry and Leah McFall line up either side of presenters Holly Willoughby and Reggie Yates

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As this year's finalists prepare for Saturday's live showdown on BBC One, The Voice production team is already talent spotting for the next series.

Scouts have been scouring the UK over the past six weeks - at open mics, through vocal coach tip-offs and on YouTube and MySpace - for the kind of singers they believe belong on a bigger stage.

But The Voice isn't just for the handpicked. Other vocalists have until midnight to register for the open auditions which will take place in July in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Belfast and Glasgow.

Close to 30,000 have already applied. That's up on the 29,000 who signed up for the current series, with three of those making it through to the final four.

'Andrea, Mike and Matt all came from the open auditions, so it's definitely worth applying,' insists Dominic Pisani, assistant producer. 'Leah is the only one who was scouted.'

Start Quote

No bad singers make it onto television. It's a solid process”

End Quote Dominic Pisani Assistant Producer, The Voice
No jokers

Unlike shows like X Factor and Britain's Got Talent - for which the auditions (both terrible and terrific) form a substantial part of the series - The Voice keeps the try-outs an off-camera affair.

The jokers stay away and there's no carnival atmosphere, snaking queues or impromptu performances. Instead, auditionees arrive in small groups for fixed timeslots. 'There's never a mass bundle,' laughs Pisani.

The first round sees groups of ten warming up with a vocal coach before singing a cappella for 90 seconds.

'We know nothing about them,' says Pisani. 'This is 100% about the voice. The personality can come later.'

Those who make it through to the next stage, on the same day, enjoy an 'invaluable' one to one session with the coach. Over the next few months, via various call backs, the producers whittle numbers down to the relative few who make it to air.

'No bad singers make it onto television,' states Pisani. 'It's a solid process. We make sure they're ready; they've had enough rehearsals, enough vocal coaching, they'll never be better prepared to step on that stage.'

Bristol buzz

The AP says he has already spotted some 'fantastic' singers for next year during his scouting missions to Wales, Gloucestershire and Somerset.

'Bristol, for instance, has an unbelievable music scene,' he enthuses, 'with lots of incredible young talent and about ten open mics every night.'

Cleo Higgins Cleo Higgins went out on a high at the weekend

But he often has work to do to convince singers that The Voice is for them.

Those with misgivings about talent shows need reassuring; those content with home town gigs for friends and family need encouraging; and those already doing a lively trade in CDs or YouTube views need enlightening as to what a spot on national tv can do for their profile.

'I'd encourage any singer worth their salt to apply,' says Pisani, including those seeking a second shot at fame.

Bucks Fizz

The current series saw judges Tom Jones,, Jessie J and Danny O'Donoghue keep their backs turned on the likes of Jay Aston from Bucks Fizz and Danny Foster from Hear'Say. And they're not the first former stars to fall at this hurdle.

Are they just being set up for a high profile fall?

Pisani disagrees. 'They have to recognise that they've beaten tens of thousands to get to the blind auditions because they've got fantastic voices. Jay Aston didn't get through but she got good comments and was happy with the process. It was a chance to prove herself as a singer.'

Start Quote

We had an insane range of styles - opera, jazz, soul, pop, reggae, rock, country, R&B... I think we did really well to get that spread.”

End Quote Dominic Pisani

Cleo Higgins, meanwhile, who was one third of charting girl group Cleopatra in the late nineties, bucked the trend and progressed to the semi-finals. 'Cleo was unbelievable last weekend. Hopefully she'll pave the way for others,' muses Pisani.

He believes the audition process has proved an unqualified success this year - both in terms of the calibre of the vocalists - with many of their performances charting and favourite Leah Mcfall's cover of I will survive breaking the top ten - and the variety.

On to a winner?

'We had an insane range of styles - opera, jazz, soul, pop, reggae, rock, country, R&B... I think we did really well to get that spread. It's because it's not just a pop show, it's a music show. And in the final we have four very different types of singer.'

But while Pisani will be watching the final closely, he's already got one eye on next year's competition. 'We're a competitive bunch,' he admits, 'and the most exciting thing is that you could potentially find the winner. I'm always looking for that diamond in the rough.'

To apply for the open auditions complete the registration form by midnight on June 23.

Applicants must be 16 years of age or older on July 1 2013 and have the right to live and work in the UK.

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