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Who's got what it takes to be The Voice's knockout stars?

Tension is high as the penultimate stages of The Voice UK begin, but which acts will make it through to the grand final? The coaches talk to Gemma Dunn

The Blind Auditions are a distant memory, the Battle (Rounds) lines have been drawn and after 10 weeks of fighting it out, it's time for The Voice UK's merciless knockouts.

But it's not just the remaining acts feeling the heat. The knockouts (the penultimate stage before the live finals) means the four famous coaches -, Sir Tom Jones, Jennifer Hudson and Olly Murs - have to whittle their teams of six down to just two.

"You just have to do it," says Jones (77), who returned to the spinning chairs last year following a one-year hiatus after the talent show moved from the BBC to ITV in 2016.

"I keep saying, 'There's six of you, but there's only two that's going through. Just do the best you can'."

"You know what it's like?" asks Will (42), who has featured in all seven seasons of the hit series. "Imagine you're a parent and you've got budget to send two kids to college, but you've got eight kids. Who you gonna send?"

"The thing is, they can all sing around the piano and knock it out of the park, but it's then the pressure of singing in front of a live audience," chimes Voice UK newbie Murs (33). "They might come out and fluff their lines."

What about Hudson (36), who triumphed last year with winner Mo Adeniran?

"It still adds pressure for this year," she admits. "I'm hopeful, but I can only continue to be passionate because that's what got me there last time. That will never die."


Mentors: His Black Eyed Peas bandmates, Taboo and Apl.De.Ap.

Anna Willison Holt: "Her voice I was really blown away with, especially at rehearsals. She's 17, really good at improv and every single time hits it with flawless choices."

Paige Young: "Her voice is like a freaking lightsaber. It's just bright and sharp and cuts through the air. I haven't heard that voice in a very, very long time."

Tai: "Tai is a needs-to-be-out-right-now type of artist. A why-are-you-on-this-show? type of artist. Is she the entertainment or a contestant?"

Mark Asari: "Mark is a soul. I wish my voice sounded like his voice. He's great and he's like my Wakanda warrior - when I watched Black Panther. I was like, 'Yo that's Mark'."

Donel Mangena: "Once again, he's a superstar. He seems like the entertainment."

Saskia Eng: (Stolen from Team Tom): "She's a part of my family now. She came from Tom, but she's not like a stepchild. I'm considering not going with somebody to put her through, that's how much I like her."


Mentor: The one and only pop princess, Kylie Minogue.

Eliza Gutteridge: "She's tremendous. She has a unique sound and that's why I turned on the blind auditions. She listens [to feedback] and takes it on board, but when she learns a song she really learns it."

Lucy Milburn: "Lucy can make you cry when she sings a ballad. She's an emotional singer, so you've got to get those songs for her."

Kalon Rae:"You've got to rein him in because he flies."

Ruti Olajugbagbe:"She's a young girl that hasn't picked up any bad habits. She's wide open. She's a new singer with a different approach, but she's very natural sounding."

Wayne Ellington: "He's in his 40s. His vocal talent is tremendous - he's gospel, he comes from the church."

Nandi: (Stolen from Team Will). "She's got a jazz to her and she's cool. She's slinky and she gives it her all."


Mentors: Powerhouse Leona Lewis and The Voice UK's 2017 winner, Mo Adeniran.

Belle Voci: "It doesn't get any better than that for classical music. To me, they're ready to record. But I love that their look is so modern."

Gayatri Nair: "(Gayatri) is more like my classic, opera kinda vibe. More of a classic soloist."

Jason Nicholson-Porter: "He's an all-round vocal beast.

Jake Benson: "An all-round great package. He's very marketable."

Ross Anderson: "I just adore him. He has a talent (and) he's starting to come out of his shell."

Rhianna Abrey: (Stolen from Team Will). "She can sing; she sang me down the other day! I love her because she's like a little pop princess, but her drive is amazing."


Mentor: R&B icon, Craig David.

Holly Ellison: "She has an incredible voice. She came out fighting in the battles, she smashed it. I love her drive, ambition. She really, really wants it."

Jamie Grey: "The comeback kid. I think he's a bit annoyed because he keeps doing emotional songs and he wants to do up-tempo, but that's what he's good at, that's what people love."

Kirby Frost: "My pocket rocket. She's crazy, she's 17, and what I love about her is she's out doing gigs. She's everywhere. And every time she has come out she's impressed me. She's very current to what's now."

Shane McCormack: "He's going to stand out massively because there's no one in this competition who does swing music like he does. But he's very shy in front of the cameras, so I'm trying to bring that out of him more."

Lauren Bannon: "She got four turns at the start of the series and I was so surprised that I got her. She's incredible. I can't say anything negative towards her in rehearsals because she's so good."

Kade Smith: (Stolen from Team Will). "He's across everything. He's so talented. He's the cheeky chappie, fun guy in the team, which is very similar to what I would be like. I do see a lot of me in him."

The Voice UK's knockout rounds start on ITV this Saturday at 8.30pm

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