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Lisa bows out of The Voice after spirited showing

Lisa Ward performing a duet with Sasha Simone on this weekend's epsiode of The Voice. Photo courtesy of BBC.

SHETLAND singer Lisa Ward’s stint on popular BBC talent show The Voice came to an end on Saturday night.

Last month she was picked to be on veteran Welsh pop star Sir Tom Jones’ team following her rendition of the Skunk Anansie song ‘Weak’ before a UK TV audience of millions.

On Saturday she was paired up with Birmingham singer Sasha Simone. Jones tasked them with performing a duet of the Smokey Robinson & the Miracles song ‘Tracks of my Tears’ as part of the show’s “battle” section.

Only one of the two singers could progress to the next stage – the other three judges are allowed to “steal” the singer who loses out for their own team, but all of their “steals” had been used up prior to Lisa and Sasha’s performance.

“I kinda knew that was probably the end for me,” she told Shetland News. Judge Ricky Wilson – frontman of the Kaiser Chiefs – told Lisa he would have stolen her “but alas, he’d used up his steals last week, so there ya go”.

“I wasn’t really expecting to win my battle because a) Sasha is absolutely superb, and b) Sasha is a soul singer singing a classic Motown song for Tom Jones, who loves that style and knows how to work with it.”

Pictured at the BBC's Salford studios lending moral support to Lisa during filming last year - Jim Birnie, Anne Birnie, Craig Birnie, Angus Ward, Sarah Ward, Sandra Ward and Jeanette Wiseman.

She only had a “vague notion” of the song, which was “quite nerve-inducing because you get a couple of run-throughs of this brand new song then you’re straight into the piano session with Sir Tom”.

“We – fairly understandably – struggled a bit because we didn’t know the song, but considering that I think we did alright!”

Lisa said Sasha struggled with stage fright, getting “very shaky and upset”, prompting Sir Tom to give “lots of advice about stage fright and performing through it and using it to your advantage, which was really helpful”.

Her partner Craig Birnie said he was immensely proud of her and was still marvelling at her achievement in getting from 40,000 auditionees down to the last 40.

“It has been amazing following Lisa through this adventure,” Craig said, “and I’m delighted her singing has been showcased to so many people as I’ve always been her biggest fan and she deserves the exposure the show will have given her.

“I’m sure a lot of people on social media will breathe a sigh of relief as I have been spamming their feeds with nothing but The Voice lately! I’d like to thank everyone for all their kind words and support though.”


We asked Lisa to give us an account of what her experience on The Voice was like:

There’s a hashtag currently trending on Twitter and Youtube called #DearMe. The idea is that you write your 13 year old self a note, giving her some advice or letting her know about something important to come in her future.

Mostly it’s a fantastic excuse to make jokes (“that bowl cut will not suit you, don’t do it”) but it’s also an opportunity for a bit of self-reflection and, like all good online trends, to make a connection with others.

I jumped on this trend with a particularly uncreative Tweet that read: “#DearMe You’re going to be on The Voice UK. Sir Tom Jones is going to be your mentor. I am not joking.”

Lisa Ward describes her experience on The Voice as "surreal". Photo: Shetnews/Neil Riddell

I’m sure I could have been more creative, more humorous, more profound, more… anything with it, but the simple irony is that every single part of being on The Voice has left me a bit dumbstruck.

Trying to explain the experience is a bit like trying to explain one of those dreams where you know that you were in the school, which was also the bus stop, which was also your mum’s cardigan, and that none of these things are incongruous in the slightest… but how on earth do you convey that to anyone outside your own head?

In my case it seems, with simple fact-stating, bumbling gratitude, and a lot of “yeaaaah”s (the latter I may have picked up from Sir Tom). I wish I could offer something more, but it still feels like I’m processing the whole experience even now.

I’ve been overwhelmed with the support that has been offered to me. I don’t think it’s possible for me to say thank you enough to reflect the depth of my gratitude – to my family and friends, to the team at The Voice, to the other contestants in the competition, to the Coaches, to the Shetland community, to those who have connected with me on social media… I feel very lucky indeed and I will never take that support for granted.

The question people seem to ask me most about the whole experience is: “What is Sir Tom like?” And my answer is that he is humble, helpful, and very down to earth for such an accomplished person.

The questions that follow tend to be about the other coaches. In answer: Will.i.am is friendly, quirky, and individual, Rita is funny, sweet, and supportive, and Ricky is hands-on, fun, and humble. And all four are most definitely far more complex and interesting than I could sum up in three words.

The other question people ask is “What was the whole experience like?” And in this case, there is one word that sums it all up for me: surreal. But don’t get me wrong, as far as I’m concerned, that is an entirely positive thing.

I’ve always been a surrealist, the kind of person who lists sleeping in their favourite activities, keeps a dream diary, writes abstract poetry, and who prattles on about the ineffable nature of life. In other words, I’m very annoying and it’s probably a good thing I lost the power of speech when I was on TV.

But the point is, I like surreal experiences, and I really, really liked my time on The Voice. And so it is that I raise my glass in the hope that I’ll be lucky enough to take part in many more surreal experiences like this one in the future, and hopefully get the chance to write my 13 year old self many more unbelievable #DearMe notes.

Lisa Ward