A SCOTTISH firefighter was crowned winner of BBC1 talent show The Voice last night.
Stevie McCrorie, 30, from Alva, Clackmannanshire, had been red-hot favourite to triumph ahead of the show, where he competed against other finalists Emmanuel Nwamadi, 23, Lucy O’Byrne, 23, and Sasha Simone, 25, who were all hoping to win the title and have a shot at topping the charts.
There’s a big Stevie-shaped hole in the industryJudge Ricky Wilson
Millions of fans tuned into last night’s live final and an emotional McCrorie thanked his fans following his victory. “I’m so lost for words right now. I can’t thank everyone enough for doing this for me. I never thought this was possible. After tonight its down to business,” he said.
The firefighter, who works in Kirkcaldy, impressed the four judges – Black-Eyed Peas star Will.i.am, Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs, and solo stars Sir Tom Jones and Rita Ora – in the show’s first blind audition round and was the only finalist who persuaded all four to turn their chairs around to face him.
McCrorie has admitted that it was his colleagues at Fife fire HQ who applied to the show on his behalf.
He said he planned to relax for the final by watching videos of his young daughter, saying: “Watching videos of Bibi on my phone will help me relax.
“I’ve got loads of videos of her right through from when she was a baby to now.”
McCrorie’s father, Michael, has said he was “absolutely thrilled and immensely proud” to see his son do so well.
He added: “It’s surreal seeing him on TV. He’s quite a shy person, but when he goes on stage he becomes someone else. It’s a transformation.”
His mother, Sandra, said of the final: “I’m a nervous wreck, but I’m so proud of him.
“Before this, Stevie was really well-known in the [Falkirk] music scene, playing lots of gigs and singing with bands. But it’s not been easy for him, and he has never quite got there – until now.”
Judge Ricky Wilson, who mentored McCrorie during the show, said he thought the firefighter could have a long musical career ahead of him. “Stevie is unique at the moment,” he said.
“I don’t see much of what Stevie is doing out there now. There’s a big Stevie-shaped hole in the industry and I’ve got the perfect man for the job.
“What has warmed people to Stevie is that he has remained one of the most humble people on the show.”
He added: “He hasn’t got carried away with himself. I keep reminding him to enjoy it because he’s worried – a typical Scotsman.”
McCrorie’s appearance in the final sparked considerable interest in Scotland, with campaigns being launched to get as many viewers to vote for him as possible.
Even Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, got in on the act, joking that people he had doorstepped in Fife on the general election campaign trail had told him the only vote they were interested in casting was for the singer.
All four of the finalists recorded a version of the winner’s single in advance of last night’s showdown, with the winner’s take available to buy from midnight last night.
It is a cover of Lost Stars, originally by Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine. It is the first time the victor of The Voice will have released a winner’s song, with the show hoping it will lead to a change in fortunes.
Previous winners have disappeared from the music business without a trace. Leanne Mitchell, who won the first run, flopped when her debut single failed to hit the top 40 and her album missed the top 100.