How the Bookies See it:
- Winning Manager: will.i.am 5/2, Jennifer Hudson 9/4, Sir Tom Jones 11/4, Gavin Rossdale 3/1 - Coral
- Gender of Winner: Male 8/11, Female Evens - Coral
- will.i.am may have been a part of the show since its debut in 2012, but the former Black Eyed Peas frontman has guided just one of his acts to victory in five years. The 41-year-old’s only win came in 2014 when his kooky approach to management helped Jermain Jackman beat off the competition to secure a lucrative recording contract. Despite his limited success in the UK, will.i.am did enjoy a winning campaign during his short stint on the Australian version of the show.
- Sir Tom Jones’ time as a manager started in fantastic fashion as he guided Leanne Mitchell to glory in the very first series. Subsequent years saw the Welshman’s magic touch escape him as his acts fell at the final hurdle in the second and third series, before a third place finish in 2015 brought with it a last appearance on the panel for the Sex Bomb singer. Sir Tom labelled the decision to ditch him ahead of series 5 ‘a mistake’, but is happy to have returned for the new show on ITV.
- Jennifer Hudson takes her place on the judging panel for the first time, replacing Paloma Faith in one of the four hot seats. The 35-year-old is a relative newcomer to the world of mentoring, having only appeared briefly as a guest judge on the X Factor in 2011. However, the Chicago-born star is well acquainted with the cut-throat world of TV talent shows after battling her way to seventh place on American Idol in 2004.
- Gavin Rossdale might not be familiar to some viewers, but the 51-year-old singer has a wealth of musical knowledge at his disposal following a successful career that began over 30 years ago. Providing vocals and lead guitar for British rock band Bush, Rossdale will certainly be able to sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to blindly discovering a superstar, but will a lack of mentoring experience ultimately cost him in the long run?
With Saturday’s show marking the start of the blind auditions, picking a winning judge at this stage may be more of a stab in the dark, but will.i.am and Sir Tom Jones do possess one significant advantage - experience. Given the American’s record of one win in five years, punters might be tempted to lean more towards Sir Tom who could draw on his decades in the business to inspire one of his acts to the title.
That said, former judge Ricky Wilson may prove an inspiration to the show’s fresh meat after he made an instant impact following his arrival on the show in 2014. The Kaiser Chiefs singer secured a second place finish for his act, Christina Marie, in his first year, before powering to glory in the following two series with Stevie McCrorie and Kevin Simm. This could give Hudson and Rossdale a glimmer of hope going into their opening campaign.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Sir Tom Jones to be the winning manager - 11/4 with Coral
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.