Jessie J is the stand out star of the BBC’s new Saturday night show The Voice, so it came as no surprise when Simon Cowell said this week he wanted to “snap-up” the star for X Factor following her success.
But Jessie, 24, says she wouldn’t ever consider a move to a permanent role on one of Cowell’s ventures because they’re too “gimmicky”.
She laughs: “It’s very nice of Simon to say nice things about me. But The Voice is the show I want to work on and I’m not going anywhere. It’s the show that represents everything I am about. I’ve always supported X Factor and BGT – I’ve been on both and performed. But I love being part of The Voice – and I genuinely want these people to come out of this show at the end and know that they’re equipped to tackle the music industry. It’s bloody hard and we don’t want them to just have 12 months of a career. This is about getting them on the ladder for the long run. The Voice isn’t about gimmicks. X Factor rely on that and that’s their thing – but it’s not our thing.”
Since her debut single Do It Like A Dude, Jessie’s won a Brit Award, four MOBO Awards, had number ones all over the globe and made a significant impact on America with her last single Domino reaching the Top 10.
So with all this success, you’d expect her to be brimming with confidence now she’s alongside Sir Tom Jones, Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am and The Script’s Danny O’Donoghue coaching contestants. But Jessie was nervous about how people would perceive her on the show. “I was sh***ing myself,” she admits as she adjusts her trademark heavy fringed wig. “I was scared people would think I was a bitch. But you can’t please everyone on a show like this.”
She even says producers of the hit show, which trounced Britain’s Got Talent by 2.3 million viewers in the ratings during their scheduling overlap last Saturday, have picked up on her tough love approach with contestants.
“I’ve been hard from the start on the show and producers did tell me to watch it,” she admits. “But you have to be. I’m hard because I’m living this right now. I know what it takes. I know the sacrifices that come into this and what you need to do to get to the top. It’s not easy and I wouldn’t be doing any of them a favour if I decided to be super easy and nice to them all.”
Jessie – who next week flies to LA to continue working on her second album – also says she worries about the amount of pressure on young artists auditioning for talent shows. And she doubts she would have auditioned for either The Voice or X Factor. She explains: “I don’t think as a young girl it’s easy. I actually don’t think emotionally it’s easy to audition for X Factor at all. It’s a big machine and it’s overnight change. I don’t think I would have coped auditioning for X Factor.
“I’m glad I did the hustle and bustle of seven years and worked my arse off to try and survive it. I think The Voice would have tempted me more.”
The star takes a swig of her i-create Glaceau vitaminwater – a healthy new peach and raspberry flavoured brand she’s currently endorsing ahead of the London 2012 Olympics – and the conversation turns to health. Just how does she stay in such good shape so she can continue wearing those skintight catsuits?
“Feel my stomach,” she says, thrusting it in my face. It’s like rock.
“I’m staying fit by bouncing around. My ankle is finally better (after she severely broke it last summer) so I can go for it on stage now. We all run around like maniacs on stage. I don’t go to the gym at all and I don’t diet – I believe in eating a balanced diet but not dieting. I eat like a horse. I had macaroni cheese for lunch today and I finished the whole lot. I’ve never been conscious of being slim or trying to appear that way. I’ve been a good size 12 at some times in the last year. Some of my outfits are ridiculous but I always feel confident in the skin tight outfits. I really couldn’t care less if I’m a little lumpy in one area. I just like wearing those outfits. My bum and the top of my legs can be a bit scary – but confidence takes you a long way.”
The star’s next big project before The Voice goes live on April 28 is appearing on the bill for Gary Barlow’s Silver Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace.
Jessie will perform alongside the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John at the event on June 4. And she can’t wait to perform for Queen Elizabeth for a second time. “I actually can’t believe I will be singing for the Queen at the Silver Jubilee concert,” she gasps. “Once I sang at Romford Market the day she visited. I was only young and I remember being told I was going to sing for the Queen. The reality was she went past in a horse and cart and I was surrounded by a handful of punters listening while I belted out Get Here by Oleta Adams. She didn’t see me and I didn’t see her. This time I’m going to be on the stage at Buckingham Palace and she’s going to definitely see me. It’s a real career highlight for me.
“I’m just so excited for my grandparents to be seeing me do a gig like this. I couldn’t have imagine in a million years that I’d be doing this so early on in my career.”
As the interview comes to an end Jessie says: “I read something the other day about my ‘demands’ at The Voice and how I’m basically being a total diva. It said I wanted a white room, white towels, candles and a yoga space. Me doing yoga? No thanks. I’m the easiest going singer when I work. I only need Haribo sweeties, a kettle and a door with a lock.”
And with that attitude – she’s going to go far!
Jessie J is Glaceau vitaminwater’s new Olympics ambassador. ‘i-create’ is the official flavour of the Olympic games – go to www.facebook.com/vitaminwater for more information.