'They use Twitter to reach him': Will.i.am slammed for spending little time with his contestants on The Voice
00:31 GMT, 28 April 2012
The BBC has paid him an estimated 600,000 to mentor aspiring singers on The Voice.
But it would appear that multi-millionaire musician Will.i.am may be taking his talent show responsibilities less seriously than his rival coaches.
In the run-up to tonight’s live show, the Black Eyed Peas star only found time for three 40 minute rehearsals with each of his five contestants Frances Wood, Jaz Ellington, Joelle Moses, Tyler James and Sophie Griffin.
Hard man to pin down: Will.i.am has chosen his five acts to compete for The Voice title – but has been criticised for spending little rehearsal time with them
Meanwhile, the group of rival coach Tom Jones have seen their famous mentor nearly twice as much, having five one-on-one singing sessions lasting up to an hour at a time.
Jet-setter Will.i.am has apparently struggled to fit his international business commitments around his television schedule.
On Thursday, he posted a picture of himself in an airport on Twitter, saying: ‘Flying back to london…I went from london, san diego, san fran, london, atlanta, st luis (sic) in 4days.’
An insider on the talent contest revealed: ‘Somebody recently asked Will where he lived, and he replied ‘In first class.’ He’s insanely busy.’
Jet setter: Will.i.am Tweeted a snap of himself boarding a private jet back to London yesterday
Unlike Tom Jones’ team, Will.i.am’s hopefuls have not been given his private email address and are only able to contact him through Twitter.
And they had no contact at all with the star in the month when the pre-recorded shows were on air.
Contestant Tyler James, 30, joined Will.i.am’s team after impressing him with a rendition of Otis Redding’s Sitting on the Dock of he Bay.
He praised the star for his help on the show, but admitted yesterday  he hadn’t seen him for days.
Online: A show insider and singer Tyler James said they have been contacting will.i.am through his Twitter page
He said: ‘We last saw a few days ago. We
can tweet him. The thing is, even though he’s obviously busy, he’ll go
back to America for two days.
'He’ll nip to some random country for a
day and then he’ll be back when we need him to be here. He’s back with
you, intense, making sure you’re doing what you need to be doing. He’s
Will.i.am’s team will each sing on tonight’s live episode of The Voice, alongside five contestants mentored by Welsh star Jones, 71.
One singer from each team will be eliminated by their own judge who will have to choose between the two weakest candidates selected by a public vote.
'He's wicked': But despite his praise for his mentor, contestant Tyler James admitted he hadn't seen him for a few days
But Jones’ team appears to be much
better prepared for the contest than Will.i.am’s, having spent almost
twice as long with their mentor.
Hopeful Adam Isaac, 29, revealed they each had five private rehearsals with their coach, lasting from 45 minutes to an hour.
And Jones made sure he stayed in touch
with his singers during the past month, encouraging them to contact him
with questions and concerns.
Mr Isaac said: ‘He sent us an email to say ‘If you’ve got any issues or anything you want to talk about, send us an email, and gave us the email addresses of his team as well.
‘He’s never really negative. He’s a very positive, person. He’s very, very open. He doesn’t force things.’
Encouraging: Unlike Will.i.am, Sir Tome Jones, seen here with singer friend Cerys Matthews giving the acts some advice, is always there for his contestants
The contestant added Jones advised him
to change his original song selection – Sweet Dreams by The Eurythmics –
to something ‘rockier’.
He said: ‘I wasn’t expecting it. I was excited by it. It is one of the rockiest songs ever heard on a talent show.
‘I took the advice and listened to what Tom had to say about it.
He said: I really think it's worth you giving this a go.”'
A source on the show said: ‘The contestants may have got a bit confused in the account they gave of their rehearsals.
'He's very open': Alex Isaac, who made Team Tom, said his mentor has had five private rehearsals with them lasting from 45 minutes to an hour
‘In fact, Will’s team and Tom’s team have had exactly the same number of sessions. They met once last week, and three times this week. Each session lasts 40 minutes, though if they make changes to their song later they may spend a bit more time on it.
‘Also, Will’s team all have an email address for contacting him, though they tend to use Twitter to reach him instead.’