Northern Ireland delight as singers progress on ITV's The Voice Kids
Young talents impress
There was double delight for Northern Ireland as two young local singing talents had The Voice Kids coaches spinning around on the top-rated ITV show last night.
Agony turned into ecstasy for Loughinisland boy Conor Marcus and Londonderry girl Rosa O'Reilly when singing stars Danny Jones and will.i.am turned their chairs around in the nail-biting closing seconds of their songs.
Energetic Derry City singer Rosa performed a bouncy version of the Shakira World Cup 2010 anthem Waka Waka (This Time For Africa) for her Blind Audition performance.
The 12-year-old, who also acts and plays piano, cello and violin, fell to her knees with delight after Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am pressed his button for her just as she sang the final note.
Said Rosa: "Whenever Will turned at the last second, I was like 'awwwww' and I fell to the ground. I was just so, so happy. I was overwhelmed.
"I had wanted Will to turn because he is a very cool, creative and nice person. I try to be like that, too. I like to dress differently and I think we have the same way of thinking about things when it comes to music."
Rosa was back on stage performing at Londonderry's Millennium Forum two days ago. But she revealed that she had prepared for The Voice Kids by singing to her aunt Siobhan's herd of cows.
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She said: "I actually sang Etta James' Something's Got A Hold On Me to the cows in my auntie's garden. The cows just stare at me because they don't know what I am doing!"
Proud mum Cathy said that music runs in the family, as Rosa's cousin Keith Harkin was a member of smash-hit singing group and stage show Celtic Thunder.
"He and my sister's daughter who is also a musician were a great inspiration for her growing up and are a great support for her now. But Rosa stands on her own two feet and has her own wee mind."
Co Down teenager Conor Marcus also made his mark on last night's show.
The 14-year-old recently became the first kid on the UK version of the show to perform his own song at the Blind Audition stage and last night managed to impress McFly star Danny Jones enough to get picked again.
Said Conor: "Doing my own song was a bit of a risk. As I struck the last note, I had kind of accepted that I wasn't going on any further. But then Danny's white light went on and (he) turned around. It was crazy!"
Now, Conor is gearing up for the Battles Round after meeting another TV talent show contestant at Sunday Life's Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards last weekend.
Said Conor: "It was great to perform at the awards. I got a lot of connections from that. I met Mark McMullan who was a finalist on Britain's Got Talent. It was really good to talk to him because he has just finished on one of these kinds of shows. He just told me not to be nervous and other stuff like that."
After he was selected for 'Team Danny', mum Angela Marcus (43) spoke of her joy and nerves at watching Conor play for the judges.
"It was so nerve-wracking because Danny's chair didn't turn until the very last second. God knows what we must have looked like up there in the crowd!
"He was super cool, he told me he was stringing out that last note with his head down waiting desperately for that chair to turn. Then he heard the noise of the crowd and Danny turning round and he was over the moon.
"We're so pleased for him now that he's on Team Danny - will.i.am said he is most suited to Danny's style so it's great he picked Conor, we're delighted."
Mum-of-two Angela also said the show had surpassed her expectations when it came to looking after the young hopefuls.
She added: "One of the big things for me is the way the producers have treated the kids in the auditions, you just couldn't fault it. You hear about other programmes and scare stories but the team involved with us has been incredible."
The Voice Kids continues on UTV next Saturday at 8pm.