Ciaran's Sweet Dreams come true as he faces The Voice blind audition
A classically-trained singer from Londonderry who works front-of-house at a well-known London theatre will be stepping into the spotlight tonight when he takes part in the blind auditions on The Voice UK.
Ciaran O'Driscoll (26), who was inspired to take up singing by Welsh soprano Charlotte Church, will be hoping to impress the four mentors with his unique rendition of a 1980s pop classic.
The former Lumen Christi College pupil, who saved up his lunch money to pay for singing lessons, will be seen performing The Eurythmics hit Sweet Dreams with a classical twist in a bid to book his place in the next round of the BBC1 talent competition.
Viewers will find out tonight if Ciaran has done enough to prompt the coaches to push their red buttons and spin their chairs round.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, Ciaran said: "I perform my own version of Sweet Dreams by The Eurythmics. Because I'm classically trained, I incorporate my own vocals into it, which makes it sound very different.
"I was trained as a counter-tenor and I think my audition surprised the four judges, who weren't sure if I was one person or two, as I go from high to low in the song.
"I'd never done anything like this before and although I was naturally nervous, I have to admit I was thrilled with my performance. I wouldn't normally say something like that but the audience really lifted me and the adrenaline pushed me into the right place so I gave the best performance I could."
After hearing Church perform as a child star, Ciaran, who had been singing from an early age, decided to save up money and pay for proper voice lessons with Derry teacher Caroline Miller.
He then won a scholarship to a music college in Birmingham to undertake a vocal and operatic course, but after a year-and-a-half, he decided to pursue a stage dream and moved to London instead.
Working front-of-house at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane meant Ciaran could audition and rehearse during the day. He has appeared in many plays and musicals, including HMS Pinafore at the Union Theatre. He was inspired to audition for The Voice after watching several other Northern Ireland contestants give it a go.
"I went to the same school as Ben Kelly, who took part in series one, and I was assistant director of Sweeney Todd at the Millennium Forum, which Rachael O'Connor from last year's series was in, but it was really Leah McFall who inspired me to give it a go.
"I liked the fact that she was different and quirky.
"There's been so many talented people from Northern Ireland who have auditioned for The Voice and done well, so I thought I might as well try too."
Ciaran was accompanied to the blinds by his parents and was delighted his mum was there to hear him perform.
"She hasn't really heard me sing since I was 18, so it was a nice surprise for her," he explained.