Oh Danny Boy! Will McFly frontman Danny Jones pick a Co Down teenager singing Northern Ireland’s unofficial anthem on The Voice Kids this week?
That’s the question which will be answered when millions of viewers tune in to watch the top rated ITV telly talent show, running on consecutive nights from tomorrow until Wednesday.
Flying the flag as Northern Ireland’s only contestant on the fifth series of the singing show for children from the ages of seven to 14 is Newry girl, Emily Flanagan.
Sunday Life can’t reveal if Danny or his fellow coaches, will.i.am, Pixie Lott or new recruit, Spice Girls star Melanie C pressed their ‘I Want You’ buttons to give her a place on their teams.
But the 14-year-old who regularly performs in her aunt Kathy’s The Shining Light Choir told us she had hoped her version of Danny Boy would see the McFly star spinning his chair around in delight.
Said Emily: “I had Danny in mind to be my coach. I just love his personality and I’ve watched him, seeing how involved he gets with the children he had turned for before.
“With Danny being the coach I wanted to turn for me, Danny Boy then was definitely the right song to try and get him to turn!”
Emily who features on the second and final night of auditions wasn’t entirely aware just how nail biting the circumstances of her bid to be picked would be.
But Sunday Life can reveal that only two team places remained when she stepped out onto The Voice Kids stage in London during the final blind auditions, filmed last St Valentine’s Day.
The Sacred Heart Grammar School, Newry pupil explained: “I was sitting in the waiting area, ready to go on. I could see other children around me dwindling away as they went for their auditions, whilst nobody had called me.
“My dad, who was in a separate room before the audition, heard that there were very few places left. He said that he had gotten very nervous. I didn’t really know that at the time.
“But I just thought, even if there are no spaces left, it didn’t really matter to me at that point. I just couldn’t wait to perform on that stage.”
With mum Lisa and dad Brendan side stage and family including her younger sister Sophia, aunt Kathy and grandparents watching from a giant video screen wall, coach Danny Jones started singing along to Danny Boy with his arms raised aloft during her performance. And a wide eyed Melanie C silently mouthed ‘OMG’ in admiring delight.
Added Emily: “It was such a privilege to be asked over to perform on that famous stage in front of those coaches. I feel proud that I did it. It was just an outstanding experience and such an amazing opportunity for somebody like me.”
“I definitely know that the route I want to take in life is music. But music and acting are such hard careers to get into. So, I’m keeping up with my science at school. I think I’d like to be a paediatrician – a singing paediatrician!”
Aunt, Kathy McCaughey who runs The Choir Studio singing school in Newry described herself as “Emily’s Number One fan”.
She said: “I was her child minder when her mommy went back to work. She was really singing from when she started to talk. I wasn’t nervous that she wouldn’t do well on The Voice Kids because her voice is incredible.
“And I knew too that the coaches would also love her wee personality.”
n Find out if Emily follows in the footsteps of previous NI talents — 2019 semi-finalist Conor Marcus from Loughinisland and 2020 finalist Dara McNicholl from Draperstown— on Tuesday at 7.30pm.
n The first episode of The Voice Kids is screened tomorrow night at 7.30pm and the combined semi-final and final is on Wednesday from 8pm.