Fans of singer Kevin Simm were on the edge of their seats as he fought for a place in TV talent show The Voice.
The 35-year-old had wowed all four judges in his audition and was touted as one of the favourites to win the BBC1 show.
Kevin took part in the battles round of the programme on Saturday night, performing a duet of Jennifer Hudson’s Spotlight with fellow contestant Faith Nelson.
The former Liberty X star received glowing comments from the judges, with Will.i.am telling him: “Your voice is amazing,” and Boy George adding: “Kevin, you have this incredible gift.” But coach Paloma Faith decided to keep Faith on her team, rather than Kevin.
Kevin, who grew up in Leyland and now lives in Whittle-le-Woods, near Chorley, said he was “a little bit shell-shocked.”
“It was really weird to get all those compliments and then she chose Faith,” he said. But Kevin was thrown a lifeline by another judge Ricky Wilson, from the Kaiser Chiefs, who decided to “steal” him.
It means he now goes through to the next stage of the competition and still has a chance of winning the show.
Kevin said: “I was pleased that he used the steal. At the same time I was still feeling a bit dejected. It was just a really weird experience. It took a couple of hours for me to see the positives to it all.”
Kevin, who is married and has two children, is now looking forward to working with Ricky. He said that when he first applied to take part in The Voice, he thought he would choose to work with Ricky.
Kevin said: “I had so many people saying I should have picked Ricky and why did I pick Paloma? I had no regrets but I am excited to work with Ricky.
“The reason I thought I would go with him initially is because he’s a northern lad and down to earth and I would get on with him quite well. He does instil confidence in you and is very complimentary so I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Kevin was previously a member of pop group Liberty X, which was formed from the runners-up on TV talent show Popstars in 2001. They topped the UK singles charts with Just A Little in 2002 and won a Brit award for best British single.
They called it a day in 2007 and Kevin has since done his own album, continued performing as a singer and worked as a wedding photographer.
New mentor Ricky said: “I really think that Kevin deserves this shot. I have never taken a steal through to the finals before, but he has got a shot at that.”