NERVES of steel helped a Sheffield lad to keep his cool while performing for his musical heroes in a bid to be crowned The Voice.
Lemuel Knights might be only a teenager, but he showed he means showbusiness when he wowed the audience at live auditions for the BBC talent show.
But viewers will have to wait until tonight to find out if the 18-year-old, from Totley, did enough to impress judges Jessie J, will.i.am, Tom Jones and The Script’s Danny O’Donoghue.
The panel has its back to hopefuls as they belt out their chosen song, turning around only if the contestant has what they’re looking for.
With a big voice to match his big hair and even bigger feet – he’s a size 15 in the shoe department – Lemuel’s talent saw him make it through to the final 12 in the boys category of ITV talent show the X Factor in 2011.
The former King Ecgbert School pupil failed to progress further, but the knockback did little to diminish his dreams of stardom.
He said: “I was only 16 when I went away from the X Factor and I thought I’d go back, work on a few things, and try again.
“I’ve followed The Voice since it started in Holland. I think it’s absolutely brilliant that image isn’t a part of it at all.
“When it came to the UK I knew I was going to try out for it.
“No-one understands just how nervous you can feel walking out on to that stage, but I just made sure I was collected when I went on stage.
“I admire all the judges but I am a big Jessie J fan, and I just imagined the chairs weren’t there and performed for the audience.”
Lemuel is studying at drama school in Chester, but comes back to Sheffield at weekends to see his mum Janis – his biggest fan.
The pair have planned a party at the Totley Rise home for his big moment on the small screen tonight, and his older siblings Daniel, aged 32, Hannah, 30, and Kathryn, 28, will all be watching.
Producers of the programme have sworn him to secrecy over his song choice and the result, but Lemuel revealed it was inspired by the music of one of the four judges.
He said: “I like all genres, I just like to take a song and make it my own.
“Getting to be on the stage, whatever it is, is my main focus.”
n The Voice airs on BBC One at 6.45pm tonight.