6 May 2016

Record-breaking show The Voice arrived at Loughborough College this week – offering the chance to appear in the singing talent show’s first outing on ITV in 2017.

With its signature spinning chairs, blind auditions to choose competitors on voice alone and celebrity coaches who have included Tom Jones, will.i.am, Kylie Minogue, Rita Ora and Boy George, the British show is about to switch channels after it had its last season on the BBC this year.

For twenty young singers at Loughborough College the chance to compete in what has become a global phenomenon, with an audience of 300 million in 180 countries, was up for grabs.

Amongst hopefuls for the new series was Music student Chantelle Harvey, 18, who chose to sing I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables in tribute to her uncle. “He passed away and it was his favourite song.” Emerging from her audition, nerves gone, Chantelle hoped she had shown the importance of the song in her performance – “I did make one of the judges cry,” she revealed.

Loughborough College Sixth Form student Tom Unwin, 16, who is studying four A-levels and plays on the rugby team, took a break to audition. He was playing guitar and singing Damien Rice’s Coconut Skins. “It’s the first song I ever performed. I regularly do solo gigs in Leicester. I’m not nervous, I’m excited.”

Joseph Eden, 17, who is planning to stay with the College to study for a degree in Music and hopes to compose for film and to work in special effects sound said he wouldn’t decide what he was singing until he was in front of the judges.

Lydia Mason, also 17 and studying Music at the College – and no stranger to The Voice, having auditioned and reached the interview stages last year - was singing Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise. “I’ve never performed it before but my Dad heard me singing it at home and said he liked the song and I should give it a go.”

Loughborough College Performing Arts student Lucy Hooper, 18, who has secured a place at the University of West London to study Musical Theatre, chose to sing Megan Trainor’s Like I’m Gonna Lose You. “I think it’s important to do as many auditions as you can. This is a competitive industry and you have to develop a mindset where you are prepared to fail a lot more than you succeed – but you always give everything your best.”

“The auditions went brilliantly. It was fantastic to see how much talent students at the college have to offer as well as how maturely they handled such a high pressure situation,” said Lydia Hovenden, Student Engagement Mentor at Loughborough College.

“This was an opportunity to build confidence and experience the audition process as well as for students to potentially further their singing careers by making valuable contacts and getting through to the televised shows.

“Some of the students who auditioned were experienced performers studying Music or Performing Arts at college whereas others had never sung in-front of anyone before.

“Feedback from the judges was really positive. They couldn’t give anything away, of course, but they mentioned there had been auditionees whose performances stood out and whose personalities really shone through.”

Loughborough College Student Engagement Lead Emma Setchfield added: “It has been an exciting year with many opportunities for our students to add to their overall experience. This is the second time we have played host to ITV this year in their search for talent and the College looks forward to welcoming them back in the future.”

Performers now have a nervous wait in store before they discover if they have been successful and will take a step closer to appearing on The Voice 2017.