A singer is steeling herself for a battle tonight when she competes for a place in the next round of a talent show – in front of a TV audience of millions.
Jessica Steele, who is making a second bid for stardom on BBC One show The Voice after getting knocked out in last year’s contest, will be competing in the battle rounds.
She has been placed into a fight with harpist Anna McLuckie. Both were chosen by world-renowned producer Will.i.am in the first round to go through to the battle stage with him.
They will be shown sharing the stage trying to out-sing and out-perform each other during their slot – with mentor Will.i.am choosing the winner.
The other judges – Kylie Minogue, Sir Tom Jones and Ricky Wilson – have the chance to steal the unsuccessful act to add to their team.
Jessica, aged 22, from Killamarsh, won over judges on The Voice with her rendition of She Said by Plan B in the first round of the contest.
Keeping tonight’s song choice and the outcome of the show secret, she said: “I practised loads to get my confidence up to be able to battle.”
Jessica praised judge Will.i.am for his support in the run up to the battle round but admitted being overwhelmed in his company.
“We have been on a social with Will and we watched our auditions with him and have chatted with him,” she said.
“We did rehearsals round the piano and on stage with him too.
“He’s really supportive – if you are down he will talk to you, but every time I am with him I just have a laugh with him because he’s Will.i.am – he’s just so cool.”
She said she had to put her feelings for competitor Anna to one side when she went on stage with her.
“We had not really spoken before we were paired together but after we were paired we were with each other all the time. She’s such a nice girl – we get on really, really well,” Jessica added.
Pop star Kylie Minogue, producer Will.i.am, Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson and singing legend Sir Tom Jones all turned their chairs round for Jessica during her first blind audition, just 12 months after the previous year’s panel failed to put her through to the next round.
Jessica, who studied performing arts at Norton College in Sheffield, now works as a children’s singing coach in schools and runs holiday camps.