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The Voice Kids UK coaches insist children are strong enough to take on the competition

The Voice Kids: Danny Jones, Pixie Lott and will.i.am.

The Voice Kids coaches have hit back at critics of the 'cruel' format ahead of its launch.

The Voice UK kicks off its first ever Kids spin-off series tonight on ITV, with Pixie Lott, Will.i.am and Danny Jones as coaches.

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Although not a single episode has aired yet, already some have criticised the series which will see children as young as seven compete.

But the coaches have been quick to point out some changes to the format, with the chairs always turning at the end of the performance for feedback to be given.

"I personally like giving the singer feedback. That’s the least you could do," Will.i.am told the Radio Times magazine. "To not do that for kids would be inhumane."

Danny admitted: "When you don’t buzz and you turn around and you see the kid there that’s just given everything into the performance… they’ve done everything they can on that stage just to get through, it’s one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to face."

However he added: "It’s not a nice situation so we’ve tried to keep it as positive as possible."

And Pixie said: "I hope the kids think of me as a big sister. They all make me smile when I see them. They are so enthusiastic and it's amazing to be around them. I do have to give them constructive criticism and tell them how they can improve, because that's how you get better and learn.

"There's so much I want to tell them because I really care about each and every one of them."

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And she suggested: "Sometimes it's a great thing to get a no. You can see they’re still happy to be there and have the opportunity. I think it's a great experience for them.”

The Voice Kids begins on Saturday, June 10 at 7:45PM on ITV.

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