Hands up who tuned into the first episode of BBC One’s smash hit new talent show The Voice at the weekend? According to telly ratings figures, the Beeb’s version of X Factor got a massive 9.6 million viewers, beating Britain’s Got Talent on ITV1, so if you missed it you really did miss out. The show started in spectacular style with Will.I.Am and Jessie J belting out a tune and joined by Tom Jones and Danny O’Donoghue. You’d never get that sort of thing on X Factor – imagine Louis Walsh and Gary Barlow doing a duet?!
During the debut episode, the judges decided their list of finalists from the contestants’ voices alone by sitting in chairs with their backs to the entrants so they could really appreciate their vocal tones. Our top five finalists are photographed above and here’s some exclusive gossip that you wouldn’t have found out about them from the TV.
(1) Jessica Hammond
The Irish teenager, who has a rock chick image and wore a metallic vest and leather trousers on the show, previously auditioned and failed to get onto the X Factor. She said she was not allowed to perform with her guitar on the X Factor and also made to hang around all day without any access to water or refreshments. Let’s hope she gets better treatment on The Voice…
(2) Ben Kelly
Tartan jacket and bow-tie wearer Ben is already a star as his YouTube videos have had over 1 million views, but he’s never previously been on TV. He’s been writing songs for 8 years – since he was 14 – and used to perform on the gig circuit in London when he was a student at UCL so he’s used to live performances. Hopefully he can control his nerves as the audiences sizes grow dramatically from what he’s used to.
(3) Toni Warne
The 34-year-old alopecia sufferer made Jessie J cry with her account of how her hair-loss affected her confidence as a performer. Like fellow contestant Jessica Hammond, Toni has had some experience of TV but it was a while ago – she performed on Opportunity Knocks in 1987.
(4) Sam Buttery
The larger than life singer, often called ‘jolly’, looks like he is straight off the set of a 1950s musical with his Buddy Holly glasses but said he is willing to change his image and go on a diet if that’s what it takes to win the show. After singing Adele’s Set Fire To The Rain he was picked by Tom Jones and says he will do whatever Tom Jones suggests. Bless.
(5) Aundrea Nyle
Super-glam Aundrea used to be a backing singer for Puff Daddy and R Kelly so she’s used to working with mega-stars and doing live gigs to large audiences. She also knows what to wear to stand out – her purple top was just gorgeous and she matched it with purple streaks in her hair. How fabulous! Aundrea is now under the guidance of Tom Jones, so she’s got a fantastic chance of doing well in The Voice.
The next episode will be on BBC One on Saturday 31 Jan and we’ll have more Behind The Scenes gossip from the entire line-up. Tune in!