It’s been recommissioned for another series in 2021, but which notable vocalists had their careers launched on The Voice UK?
The Voice UK famous singers have gone on to record bestselling albums, tour the world and gain millions of social media followers. A mainstay of Saturday television, the chair-turning show has become an ingenious addition to the talent contest media scene.
Read on to find out who hit the big time, who failed to take home the winner’s crown and where they all are now.
The Voice UK famous singers
The series first began life in the UK, back in March 2012, screening on the BBC. Now in its ninth year, it seeks to spot unsigned talent in the form of duos or solo artists. Contestants undergo many rounds, including the producer’s auditions and blind audition – the latter in the presence of four celebrity music industry judges. After five series, the programme moved to ITV, with a kids’ version first airing in 2017.
While there have been few famous winners, there’s no shortage of famous judges on The Voice. Kylie Minogue, Ricky Wilson, Rita Ora, Tom Jones, will.i.am, Jessie J, Olly Murs and Boy George are just some of the huge stars to have sat in the iconic red chairs. Each chooses their ‘team’, mentoring their proteges in the hope of producing the winning contestant. But how many of the show’s auditionees have made it big?
Has any winner of the voice become famous?
While this TV show hasn’t succeeded in creating household names in the same way as the likes of Pop Idol and X-Factor, it has launched some exciting careers. And it has seen some already semi-famous artists appear at the blind audition stage too.
The Voice famous winners
Here are some of the winners, whose names you might recognise…
Winner of The Voice 2019 on team Olly Murs, singer Molly Hocking hails from St.Ives in Cornwall. She went head to head with a 23-year-old singing teacher from Liverpool (Deana Walmsley) in the grand final. Her duet with Olly on Simply Red’s Stars and rendition of Someone You loved sent the nation wild, crowing her the overall winner. Murs was pretty happy too, celebrating, by posing nude for a selfie in his judge’s chair – once the audience had left the building!
Molly’s debut single After The Night Before was released in November 2020 and she has been invited to support Olly Murs on his UK tour. As a previous finalist in TeenStar Molly performed at the NEC in Birmingham and was invited to return as a guest judge for the competition. Molly is an accomplished musician, playing keyboard, ukulele and piano.
The star spoke to Cornwall Live about her win:
“I came off The Voice winning it on a high and I have worked my backside off to release the music that’ll be coming out on March 27. I’ve had many, many amazing experiences with absolute legends and I’m forever grateful for their support. Olly is like a big brother to me and he messages and keeps in touch … and keeps me in touch. He really cares for my music and career and wants to help out as much as he can. Performing at the O2 was life-changing – I realised at that moment that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Youn may not know the name, but you’ll know the face. Simm won the show’s fifth series in 2016. However, he had previously been pipped at the post, when he appeared as part of Liberty X in the original band-making TV programme Popstars, back in the early noughties. His winning single – All You Good Friends – only made it to number 24. But he went on to join the 1990s hit band Wet Wet Wet, replacing frontman Marti Pellow.
Ruti won the 7th series in 2018. In the live final her duet of What A Wonderful World with her coach, Tom Jones was considered a highlight of the series. She was up against Donel Mangena, Belle Voci and Lauren Bannon – stiff competition. Following her win she returned to finish her A-Levels and released Racing Cars which she sang as a guest at the following year’s final. In 2021 she released her latest song, My Sunrise.
One of the only contestants to end up with a top ten hit, Firefighter Stevie McCrorie won the hearts of millions, under the mentorship of Ricky Wilson. Yet two years after his win, the Scot returned to his previous job. He told Radio Times:
“I think people saw it as a bad thing when I went back. But I always saw The Voice as a good platform. I never expected to be super famous and I actually got more fame than I expected. Becoming a fireman was another amazing achievement for me because I can’t believe I managed to do that – I used to be a lazy musician drinking beer all the time. It’s a job to be proud of and I was just like ‘I’m not going to give up this career I worked so hard to get’. I’d only been in the job for two years.”
The Voice contestants
It’s true that it’s not just about winning but taking part. There can be many factors that feed into who and why wins a particular series. And it’s frequently runners up, or early-stage contestants who see the most success afterwards. Here are some examples of the contestants who didn’t win, but are now carving out formidable careers for themselves.
She may have only made it to the semi-final stage, but Becky Hill is one of the show’s biggest success stories. The singer was the first contestant to have a number one single on the Official Chart – Gecko, her collaboration with Oliver Heldens. She also signed to Polydor and supported The Script in the early part of 2020, before the pandemic saw the remainder of their tour cancelled. Hill has been recording and collaborating ever since though, proving she’s one to watch in 2021.
Despite not winning The Voice, she told Newsbeat: “The Voice hasn’t been a hindrance to me at all. If you’re making good music they’ll remember you for the good music you make, not for the good music you had”.
Southampton’s teenage singer Donel was in Team will.i.am in 2018’s final. He made headlines when his proud grandmother stormed the stage to show off her catchy dance moves. Raised in Zimbabwe, he blends afrobeat with modern pop and R&B and in 2020 signed with Warner Records.
Another Southampton teen was a finalist in 2016 as part of team Boy George. A past student of Brockenhurst College which has produced many talented performers, Harry has performed at many of Southampton’s venues and festivals, including the Maritime Festival, Music in the City festival and the Concorde Club.
His blind audition of Do You Really Want To Hurt Me won Vangelis a place on team Boy George, which took him to the final in 2016. Following The Voice, Boy George signed him to his record label. Vangelis has since toured with Boy George and Culture Club as one of the backing vocalists and appeared on many tv shows. His 2021 single Throw Me, from his debut album The Drama, has just been released and he recently appeared at Wembley Arena with Boy George and Culture Club.
The Voice Kids UK
After achieving high ratings and a whole lot of love from the public, The Voice launched its youth version, allowing kids to take part and compete in their own show. While this hasn’t produced famous names, it has been the springboard for some talented young people. Because many of the contestants who’ve gone on to have successful careers in music didn’t actually win.
All four judges turned for Liam’s blind audition in 2019, he was 13 years old and chose to join team Pixie Lott. His rendition of Bill Withers’ Lean on Me included a high F sharp and hit the headlines for other reasons. A viewer claimed the note was so high that the frequency cracked her window. After the audition, the judges asked him to repeat the note which resulted in the window-smashing completely. Liam, from Solihull, was crowned under 16s winner of Open Mic UK 2016. He has performed alongside Demi Lovato, The Script, Liam Payne and Diversity, among others. Liam has amassed over four million views across all social media platforms and is managed by Apex Talent Music.
Isla was 14 when she secured a place on Paloma Faith’s team in 2020 when she sang Summertime. Teenage Isla blends jazz and R&B and is part of the Hampshire County Youth Jazz Ensemble. She is now writing and releasing her own music. Her first four singles have received extensive play on BBC Radio Solent, ITV and local and national radio stations, and selected as Record of the Week by BBC Music Introducing. In 2019 Isla Croll won the Concorde Factor against stiff competition at the iconic Concorde Club in Eastleigh and has performed at Southampton’s Music in the City festival.
Famous singers who auditioned for the voice
But does fame always come after appearing on a talent show? Or can is it the case that a famous person can wind up trying to win a place on the judges’ teams too? This is a risky strategy. As an existing artist, failure is far worse than it is for an unknown. In fact, it can be career-shattering. So it’s usually those whose musical endeavours are flailing, decades after their prime, that attempt an audition. And one such entrant was no stranger to talent shows already
Remember the original singing contest – Popstars? This series saw a bunch of hopefuls compete for a place in a brand new band, as produced by judges including Pete Waterman. The show was two decades ago now, but its winning band Hear’Say is still a household name – as were the runners up Liberty X. Danny was a member of the former and while they aren’t recording as a group anymore, he decided to enter The Voice UK in 2013. However, his version of the Spice Girls’ Wannabe, didn’t go down too well with the judges, none of whom turned.
Foster wasn’t the only ex-band member to try his luck on the 2013 series. Sean Conlon may not be a well-known name in his own right, but his band, 5ive is. Like Danny, he failed to get any judges to turn for him, as he performed a cover of Coldplay’s Trouble. Since then 5ive have reunited and now tour, meaning Conlon’s career has seen a resurgence, although certainly not via his application for The Voice.
If you’d like a taste of some TV talent contest fame, you too can apply to be on the next series of The Voice UK. The closing date for this year is 30th July 2021, so there’s still time to get the judge’s chairs spinning. And who knows, you may become the first mega-famous entrant!
- Who is the winner of The Voice UK 2020?
18-year-old Blessing Chitapa won The Voice 2020 under coach Olly Murs. She beat the other finalists Gevanni Hutton, Jonny Brooks and Brooke Scullion. The singer said of her win: “I have never worked so hard to make sure tears don’t come out of my eyes right now. I’m so happy.”
- What does the winner of The Voice get?
Singers who have been crowned the winner, are rewarded with a Polydor Records deal and a supported release of their debut single. While winners used to get £100,000 when the show was under BBC, now it’s with ITV there’s zero cash prize. They also get an enormous amount of invaluable publicity.
- How much does Gwen Stefani make on the voice?
No Doubt lead singer and solo artist Gwen Stefani started out on $10 million dollars per season, which increased to $13 million. Christina Aguilera however, made a cool $20 million from each of the 2011 to 2016 US seasons.
Who is your favourite famous singer from The Voice UK? Are you planning to apply? Let us know in the comments below.