As The Voice UK reaches its final on Saturday night, coaches Olly Murs and Sir Tom Jones do battle with two acts each. Here, Olly considers his chances...
If there’s one person who knows about getting to the final of a talent show, it’s Olly Murs. After coming runner-up on The X Factor in 2009, the Essex lad has gone onto enjoy huge chart success – and also landed a job as a coach on The Voice UK!
So Olly will certainly understand the pressure the remaining four singers are under as they take to the stage for Saturday night’s live grand final. And after last Saturday’s semi-final votes, the final sees a straight showdown between Olly and Sir Tom Jones.
On Team Olly are Jimmy Balito and Molly Hocking while Team Tom boasts Bethzienna Williams and Deana Walmsley. Olly and Tom plus fellow coaches Jennifer Hudson and will.i.am will be watching from those big red chairs as our finalists sing their socks off for the title of The Voice UK champion 2019 and that all-important record contract – but only viewers will get to vote for the winner!
Olly Murs, 34, chats to TV Times about the upcoming final, his highlights from this series and how he’s enjoyed 10 years at the top…
How much have you enjoyed working on this year’s The Voice UK? And, going into this series, how much did you want to win?
Olly Murs: “I love being on this show. Myself, Sir Tom, Jennifer and will.i.am have great chemistry and we bounce off each other really well. I enjoy sitting in the red chair and I like helping singers take that next step in their career. I always want to win, all of us coaches want to win. But it’s out of our hands now.”
Saturday’s live final is a head-to-head between you and fellow coach Sir Tom Jones, as you have two acts each. Would you say song choice is really important in the final?
OM: “Yes. At last year’s final, I thought I’d picked an amazing song for my act, Lauren Bannon, and I really thought she was going to win. But then Tom sings Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’ with Ruti [Olajugbagbe, last year’s winner] and I was like: ‘Damn it! Everyone in the UK’s gonna love this.’ Then you know that’s where the votes will come in.”
Why do you think your two finalists, Jimmy Balito and Molly Hocking, have what it takes to make it all the way?
OM: “I feel they’re two artists that really connect with people. There’s just something they do. When they believe it, we believe and I think both of them have that unique ability. They’re both likeable and both their voices of course are great but, mostly, they just have this way of connecting with people at home.
“Jimmy hasn’t had an easy journey on The Voice with his dad passing away during the competition. If he’d have said to us: ‘I can’t do this show anymore I need to go’ then we’d have understood. But, he didn’t, he wanted to stay put, he’s worked hard and he totally deserves to be where he is.
“Molly from day one has been amazing. She’s an exceptional talent with an exceptional voice and she’s someone that always makes me so emotional. So I’ve got two very emotional singers that are really enjoying this experience. I think either of them can win it!”
What’s been the highlight of this series for you?
OM: “For me, Jimmy’s performance at the Knockouts is the standout moment of the series. To go through what he went through with his dad passing away just days before but for him to come out the other side and smash his performance in the way that he did, with the emotion so raw and so present, I think that was something really special to see. I got very emotional; it was difficult not to. But he did incredibly well, I was very proud.”
We loved those moments at the blind auditions where you and the other coaches burst into song. Do you enjoy having the freedom to do that?
OM: “I don’t always. People think it’s prepared and it’s really not; it’s just as and when we feel it. But sometimes you feel the pressure of the audience going: ‘Sing, sing, sing’ but I’m thinking: ‘I can’t today, my voice is not in a good place and I’m not feeling very well’. But, I do love it, it’s good fun. When all us coaches get up and do a turn, it is entertaining.”
Having come runner-up in the final of The X Factor in 2009, what advice would you give the finalists on The Voice?
OM: “Just enjoy it. It’s hard for me to say that because, when I was in that position on the final of The X Factor, I struggled. There were just so many emotions. But I did enjoy it; I was emotional but happy. I’d managed to complete this journey from the auditions all the way to the final. And that’s an amazing achievement for the finalists on this show – they’re all winners just by being here. So I’d say, enjoy it, sing your heart out and may the best person win.”
It’s 10 years since The X Factor – what’s been the key to your success? And what’s the plan for the next 10 years?
OM: “I think it’s a combination of hard work, dedication and luck; often I’ve just been in the right place, at the right time. When I came off The X Factor, I felt I was just a karaoke singer and there was definitely a pressure from people waiting to see what I was gonna do. But I had the desire, belief and passion and the right songs; everything just felt right and it all just went from there. The next 10 years is an open book that I haven’t written yet. I’m excited to see where it takes me.”
The Voice UK: The Final can be seen on Saturday April 6 at 8.40pm on ITV.