One of the final contestants to make it through to the next round of The Voice did so in memorable fashion on Saturday night – reducing both Will.i.am and Jessie J to tears.
Jaz Ellington, a 28-year-old backing singer and music teacher, found himself competing for the very last spot in the final on Will.i.am’s team against fellow hopeful Daniel Walker.
And after the rapper passed on Daniel – despite pleas from his fellow judges to choose him – he was wowed by Jaz’s performance of Ed Sheeran’s The A-Team.
“As a lesson to every person on the planet, follow your gut,” he said of his selection and his reasons for passing on the other performers.
“Maybe there was a different person you wanted to be with, but you’re stuck with me,” he added. “But when you need me, I will be there with weapons to shoot down anything that comes our way.”
Jessie J, meanwhile, was so taken with Jaz that she asked him to sing another song. “nd it was his second performance, of John Legend’s Ordinary People – a song co-written by Will.i.am – which left both judges visibly emotional.
“The reason why this show exists is for moments like that,” she said afterwards. “I know he’s not on my team but I can’t explain what moments like that mean to musicians like us.”
Others who impressed the judges on Saturday’s show included teenager Becky Hill, who made no secret of her ambitions to “be as big as Elton John”.
The 17-year-old won a place on Jessie J’s team after she had also performed the song Ordinary People. “That is one of my favourite songs,” Jessie told her, “and for you to have sung it on par, if not slightly better than the original, is amazing.”
And John James Newman – whose older brother, Alec, plays Michael Byrne in Waterloo Road – won the final place on Danny’s team after he sparked a bidding war between the Script singer and Tom Jones.
“You have an incredible voice,” he told the 33-year-old, “it sounds so old yet current at the same time.”
Tom Jones, meanwhile, picked up two female singers to complete his team – 41-year-old mum of two Lindsay Butler, and teenager Ruth Brown, who impressed the veteran singer with her rendition of David Guetta’s When Love Takes Over.
“Anyone with lungs like that has to be something,” Tom told her. “You’re a great singer and I want you on my team.”
Duo Indie and Pixie, meanwhile, became the second twosome to win a place in the next round after winning over all four judges and choosing Jessie J, while self-confessed Danny O’Donoghue fan Sophie Griffin and barmaid Jenny Jones won places on Will.i.am’s team.
“You are rocking, I would like to have you on my team and kick some butt,” Will told Jenny – who previously toured with Basshunter before meningitis forced her to shelve her singing career.
However not everybody made it past the first hurdle, with this week’s rejects including teenager Harriet Whitehead – who failed to persuade any of the judges to turn round for her rendition of 4 Non Blondes’ What’s Up – and West End performer Ben Lake, who delivered a powerful operatic rendition of Shirley Bassey’s classic I Who Have Nothing.
“It sounded a little too operatic for me but I liked it,” said Tom while Jessie added, “I don’t think I would be the right coach for you…I need to know what I can bring to the table as a pop singer-songwriter.
The 40 finalists will now compete in a battle round to determine which 20 will make the live finals.