BELFAST singer Leah McFall is the bookmakers’ favourite to win the final of this year’s series of The Voice on BBC One (tonight, 7.15pm, BBC1).
The 23-year-old, from Glengormley and who is mentored by Will.i.am, became the first contestant to have a top 10 hit last weekend when she entered the charts at number eight performing a cover of I Will Survive.
She will perform in the live final on Saturday against Mike Ward, Andrea Begley and Matt Henry.
The winner – decided by a public vote – wins a “lucrative recording contract”.
“It’s sweet that people are so encouraging,” McFall told Nick Grimshaw on BBC Radio 1’s Breakfast Show. “I’m feeling good, I’m excited… it’s going to be good fun.”
On Saturday, each artist will initially perform two songs, including a duet with their coach.
The act with the lowest number of votes will then leave the competition and the remaining three will perform their favourite song from this series.
According to bookmakers Ladbrokes, Coral and William Hill, Ward – who is coached by Sir Tom Jones – remains the second favourite behind McFall
He told Radio 1 that, despite the betting odds, he was not feeling pressured ahead of Saturday’s final, adding: “We’ve come a long way and we are lucky to be where we are.”
The second series of the BBC One talent contest, which originated in Holland, began in April – but ratings have continued to be unpredictable, with the live auditions proving more popular than the later stages of the show.
Leanne Mitchell won the first series of The Voice UK last year, but failed to break into the Top 100 with her debut album. Earlier this week, it was rumoured she would be dropped by Universal music label, Decca, after selling fewer than 1,000 copies of the record.
“These shows render themselves pointless if they can’t identify something that’s going to be on the radio,” said Will.i.am.
“In my opinion, after the show is finished everyone should be scrambling, just like they were scrambling to find the next singer, just to make sure the person who won has a chance, has a shot, at the radio.
“Because that’s what the premise is, the premise isn’t just a record deal, the premise is a career.”