Vinnie Jones tearful after X Factor: Celebrity song dedicated to his late wife
The actor, 54, sang Everybody Needs Somebody by The Blues Brothers to cheers from the audience.
Vinnie Jones held back tears as fans chanted his name following a performance on X Factor: Celebrity in tribute to his late wife.
Tanya – Jones’ wife of 25 years – was 53 when she died on July 6 following years-long treatment for cancer.
The footballer-turned-actor, 54, debuted during the first of the programme’s live shows with a raucous, albeit rasping, rendition of Everybody Needs Somebody by The Blues Brothers, securing a standing ovation from the audience and prompting chants of “Vinnie”.
Judges Simon Cowell, former Pussycat Doll singer Nicole Scherzinger and Irish music manager Louis Walsh agreed his performance was a fitting tribute to his late wife.
Speaking in a pre-recorded video message before taking to the stage, Jones said he wanted to win to carry on Tanya’s legacy.
He said: “I will tell you why I am here, in all seriousness. My wife, Tans, she was just like, ‘You have got to do it. Please do it.’ She loves the show.
“Soon after Tanya passed I decided I’ve got to do it for her legacy and we will carry that legacy on. In her name we will try and win this.
“I saw the show last week and there are some good singers, oh my God. It’s a tough song. There’s a load of dancing and jumping about the stage. Hopefully, I want to get people up.
“The main thing overlooking me is Tans.”
In 2013, Jones revealed both he and Tanya had melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, and he was later given the all-clear.
Tanya had also been treated twice for cervical cancer and underwent a heart transplant at 21 following the birth of her daughter Kaley.
They discovered last Christmas Eve that the cancer had spread to her brain, but she pushed through the festive period while in pain for the benefit of friends and family.
Jones was at Tanya’s side when she died at their Los Angeles home in July.
Cowell said Jones had a chance of winning the competition and praised him as “a hard man” with a “soft inside”.
Scherzinger said: “Vinnie, you really know how to get the people going. Full throttle all the way.”
And Walsh simply added: “All I can say is thank you. Movie star, football legend, now you are a pop star.”
The couple married in 1994. Tanya had Kaley by her former husband – who Jones later adopted – and a son, Aaron, with Jones.
Jones won the 1988 FA Cup with Wimbledon’s “Crazy Gang” and made his film debut in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels a decade later.
The first live show also saw TV star Ricki Lake and Love Actually actress Olivia Olson eliminated, while the BBC’s Martin Bashir was saved by the judges and will perform next week.