It’s time for The Voice coaches to finalise their teams for the live shows, and Ricky Wilson‘s not looking forward to making the final cut…
What can we expect from this week’s Knockouts?
“For the Knockouts, I’ve got a team of eight that I have to cut down to three, which is a massive cull – five have got to go and they’re all brilliant singers. This time, they get to choose their own song, which says a lot about who they are and how they want to portray themselves.”
At the Knockouts, each singer has to perform alongside the others in their team. Does that put them under real pressure?
“It is tough, yeah. Leading up to it, they’ll be helping each other, but they all know that, when the opportunity comes, they have to be better than the person stood next to them. It’s hard because you’re competing with people you really like, but then that’s what it’s all about. It’s the ones that really want to win that should win.”
Talk us through your team…
“I have Emmanuel Nwamdi, an amazing, passionate guy, and Stevie McCrorie, who’s the warrior. Hannah Symons was the first person that I won out of a ‘four-turner’, so she’ll always be important on the team. There’s Autumn Sharif, Letitia George and Christina Matovu, and then I have my two steals: Olivia Lawson and Claudia Rose, both different singers and both very young.”
Do you think you’ve built a strong team this series?
“I’m really happy with my team – I think it’s possibly the strongest. It puts me in a sticky situation because, when you’ve got so many strong singers, it makes it harder to decide which three to take through to the live shows.”
How difficult is it for you to have to let singers go at this stage in the competition?
“The lows are heart-wrenching. But the highs are exhilarating when you can give someone what they want.”
Do you think this series of The Voice will create a real ‘star’?
“People who come on this show don’t really care about commercial success and being the ‘next big thing’ – they just want to grow as artists. Beth McCarthy, on my team last year, didn’t get past the Knockouts but, on festival line-ups, she’s above people that have been in the industry for years. She’s doing things the old-fashioned way, but with a turbo boost from The Voice.”
This is your second series as a coach on The Voice. How do you think you’ve adapted to the role?
“I am approaching it differently, so I guess I must be more confident. I’m trusting my instincts a lot more and not going for who I think I should go for, but for who I want to go for. Sitting in the big red chair is still terrifying – but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it!”
The Voice UK continues on Saturday, March 14, at 7.15pm on BBC1.