What happened to The Voice winners – ‘work ethic’ row, coach barney and chart flops

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It was only a couple of months ago that we were crowning the new winner of The Voice.

But the hunt has already begun for the next pop sensation in a new series of the ITV singing contest.

Blessing Chitapa came out victorious in November after having an agonising wait for the semi and final after they were pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The confetti has only just been cleaned up from the studio floor, but those big red chairs are spinning again.

And there have been some major changes for the 2021 season, as Brit singer Anne-Marie has replaced Meghan Trainor as the fourth coach.

None of the nine winners have gone on to become worldwide sensations – with most struggling to have any chart success – and one even being criticised by a coach.

Here's what happened to some of the previous champions of The Voice.

Leanne Mitchell – 2012

Leanne Mitchell was the first ever winner of The Voice UK
(Image: BBC)

The Voice UK really didn't get off to the best of starts – as the show's winner was publicly shamed by one of the coaches.

Leanne Mitchell didn't set things in the right direction with a combination of poor album sales and public criticism of the talent show – with the winner claiming she was made a "scapegoat".

Tom Jones' contestant was reported to have landed a £100,000 deal after winning the contest and later signing with Decca Records, part of the music giant Universal.

Leanne's debut solo single, Run To You, was released the day after she wont the talent show on the BBC and only reached No. 45 in the charts.

The Script frontman Danny O'Donoghue said he didn't feel much disappointment about Leanne's lack of chart success, claiming she was technically the best singer but not the best artist.

Her self-titled debut album had an even worse fate than her debut single, selling only 895 copies in the first few days and failing to even make it into the top 100.

Will.i.am claimed that "someone should get slapped" for the delay in getting the album out as Leanne had become less relevant.

In a savage rant, Danny blasted Leanne's work ethic and said her failure to become a pop sensation undermined the credibility of the show.

Leanne was mentored by Sir Tom Jones
(Image: BBC/Wall To Wall/Guy Levy)

When asked about her poor album sales, he told The Sun: "That's not my fault, that's not the show's fault, that's not the BBC's fault, that's just her fault.

"You can take an artist like that and question their work ethic.

"I was told by Tom Jones, and by the label as well, that Leanne just did not want to work as hard as you have to work to be a popstar."

Furious Leanne fired back in a Twitter rant, claiming she had "worked her backside off" writing her album and felt like she was used as a "scapegoat".

She replied: "Unfortunately, I don't think anyone was particularly on my side from the start. I never wanted to speak up, as I suppose the next thing will be I'm 'bitter', which I'm not, at all."

Leanne was dropped from her record label in 2014 and there were rumours she was back working at holiday parks, she claimed they were "completely untrue".

Leanne went on to marry her boyfriend and they welcomed a baby boy Leo – and was last known to be singing on cruise ships.

Andrea Begley – 2013

Andrea Begley with Danny O'Donoghue and Holly Willoughby
(Image: PA/BBC)

Andrea Begley was the shock winner of the second series of The Voice in 2013 – and this time it was another coach who wasn't too happy.

It didn't go down too well with Will.i.am, who reportedly stormed off set as he believed his act, Leah McFall, should have won the contest in 2013.

The Black Eyed Peas singer sparked a backlash by tweeting: "You should feel the audience’s vibration in the room tonight after the public’s vote… its unexplainable… so sad… perplexed."

Obviously feeling remorse, he followed it up with: "Andrea is amazing… don’t get me wrong… but we know who has the incredible voice."

The pair did clear the air, but the incident didn't give Andrea the best chance at immediate success.

Her debut album The Message stuttered when it was first released – selling under 2,000 copies over its first few days – but it peaked at Number 7 in the charts.

Partially-sighted singer Andrea, who was signed to Capitol Records for about a year and a half, until it "went quiet".

She told the Radio Times in 2017, she wasn't surprised she didn't see huge success after her win and she wanted to release a second album of her own music rather than what Capitol wanted.

"It was a bit disappointing, but at the same time I got to walk away from the situation knowing I had a top 10 album, which is a heck of lot more than most people,” she said.

She became an ambassador for sight loss charity Royal National Institute of Blind People in Northern Ireland and wrote a book, cheekily titled I Didn't See That Coming.

Andrea went back to studying part time for a PhD while working for the Government in Belfast, but released the single Never a Pal Like Mother on iTunes in 2017.

Jermain Jackman – 2014

Jermain Jackman has political aspirations

 

First stop The Voice, second stop 10 Downing Street.

Jermain Jackman had great ambitions, saying he wanted to be Prime Minister, if not that, then Mayor of London.

It proved to be a successful tactic of winning over viewers as he was crowned champion.

It seemed like The Voice UK could finally have found its first breakout star, but his first single And I Am Telling You only hit 75 in the charts.

His debut album sold a disappointing 613 physical copies during its first week of release.

Sadly, it wasn't to be – and despite a number of public appearances, Jermain then decided to quit the music industry and head to university.

Jermain Jackman stepped back from the music industry
(Image: BBC/PA)

Speaking to TellyMix at the time, he revealed: "I’ve stepped back from music for now. I saw some things I didn’t like and I was losing the love for music.

"Maybe I’ll come back when I’m 23 and I’ve got my degree in politics."

After going back to study politics, the Labour supporter set up the Islington Fair Futures Commission, which he is chair of and which looks to improve the prospects of young people in the borough.

However, he did manage to merge his two passions by appearing at the Labour Live festival in 2018 alongside Clean Bandit and Jeremy Corbyn.

Stevie McCrorie – 2015

Stevie McCrorie performing on The Voice in 2015
(Image: PA)

 

Stevie McCrorie bucked the trend set by his predecessors by actually having success with his first single.

Ricky Wilson's protege reached number six with Lost Stars in 2015 – and is still the only winner of The Voice to secure a top 10 single.

The former firefighter admitted he was teased by his colleagues after his success on the show.

He told ITV's Lorraine at the time: "They support me, but you obviously get a lot of stick! I popped back in over Christmas, and they were making jokes about whether the single was going to chart."

Whilst everyone was hoping for Stevie to become The Voice's first success story, he played down his changes of his debut album of original material hitting the top spot.

Stevie McCrorie's said his first song reduced a pal to tears
(Image: BBC)

Speaking to BANG Showbiz about the record, he said: "'A number one album would mean I'm living in the clouds.

"I don't think that is going to happen, but if it did happen I'd be over the moon. I'm not being negative, but I just can't see that happening."

And he was right as his 2016 album, Big World, only reached No. 35 in the charts.

In 2019, Stevie told Radio Times that he realised almost immediately that he was with the wrong label and management team.

Just a year after winning Stevie returned to his job as a firefighter in Kirkcaldy, because he needed to support his wife and young daughter.

However Stevie turned his garage at home into a studio, where he continued to make music, releasing three-track Ep Alive in 2017 and single All I Want.

Kevin Simms – 2016

The Voice was Kevin's second shot at fame
(Image: WENN)

 

The Voice wasn't Kevin Simms' first shot at fame.

The singer was originally a member of the band Liberty X, but fell back on gigging in pubs and clubs when the band split in 2007.

He plucked up the courage to audition for The Voice in an attempt to re-launch his pop career.

It worked out for Kevin as he won the competition – and made a phoenix-like return to the UK Charts.

His winner's single All You Good Friends looked like it was heading for the top 10 but eventually peaked at number 24 in the charts.

He went on to release his first solo album Recover in October 2016, which hit number 40 in the chart.

Wet Wet Wet announced Kevin as their new singer

Kevin was controversially not invited back to perform on the following year's show as the reigning champion – as is tradition on ITV's other singing show The X Factor.

Responding to a fan asking why he wouldn't appear, Kevin tweeted: "Guess they wanted a clean break from BBC version… but then they hired the same presenter, will.i.am, Tom Jones etc so maybe not that."

His career took a bizarre twist in 2018 when he joined Wet Wet Wet as their new frontman – replacing founding member Marti Pellow.

The iconic band went on a nationwide 18-date tour in 2019.

Mo Adeniran – 2017

Mo performed a Paolo Nutini song
(Image: Rex Features)

 

Mo was working night shifts in a hotel before he got his chance to shine on The Voice.

After a troubled childhood in care, one of his good friends and bandmate Mike dying from a drug overdose when he was a teen.

He was also friends with Viola Beach, the tragic group who were killed when their car went off a bridge in Sweden.

During his audition, Mo, then 22, sang Paulo Nutini's A Change is Gonna Come, which resulted in all four coaches turning round, so he opted for US actress and singer Jennifer Hudson.

He was a hit with the audience and public alike, the latter voting him into the final, which he eventually won against The Ark.

(Image: PA)

Once the show was over he released single Unsteady under the stage name Mo Jamil, which made little chart impact and peaked at number 78.

However during the press launch for the 2018 Voice series, his former coach Jennifer, revealed he had big plans for 2018 and was going to release new material, which she was very excited about.

The single, That Feeling, from his debut album reached number 22 on the iTunes chart before falling down.

The album Evolve was released in March 2018 and peaked at number 36 – and he was dropped by Polydor Records shortly afterwards.

Ruti Olajugbagbe – 2018

Ruti was the winner of The Voice in 2018
(Image: REX/Shutterstock)

Ruti was just 18-years-old when she was crowned champion of The Voice.

Her victory was a shock result, beating the favourite, Donel Mangena, in the final.

"I wasn’t expecting this. I didn’t expect to get to the blind audition. I don’t know what to say," said Ruti as she held back tears.

Her coach, Tom Jones, was incredibly impressed, stating on many occasions how her voice made him feel proud and touched him emotionally.

Ruti reached No1 in the iTunes store

She signed a record deal with Polydor Records and her debut single, Dreams, reached number one on the UK iTunes Store and number 14 on the UK Singles charts.

Speaking a year after her win, Sir Tom told The Metro: "My career wasn’t overnight so I think our instant gratification doesn’t really allow an artist to develop.

"Ruti doesn’t have an album out yet, but when she has album out she’ll be on her way."

Her second song only reached number 49 and she was dropped by her label shortly afterwards.

Molly Hocking – 2019

Molly Hocking was stunned when she was announced as the winner
(Image: Rachel Joseph/ITV/REX)

Molly Hocking won the show back in 2019 when she was also just 18-years-old.

The young singer was in tears when her name was announced as winner, telling host Emma Willis: "Someone pinch me!"

"All I can say is thank you," Molly added. "From the bottom of my heart I am so – I'm shocked, I love you all."

Molly gave The Voice coach Olly Murs his first victory with a contestant.

Speaking directly to Olly, she said: "I'm so so glad you that you stuck with me through this and you are my inspiration now. You are my inspiration."

Her winning single, a cover of 'I'll Never Love Again' from A Star Is Born, only reached No. 73 in the UK Singles Chart but was number one on iTunes.

Molly is going on to do big things
(Image: PA)

Molly was due to release her second single in March after performing it at The Voice semi-final, but has been forced to delay amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Everything was ready and you start building up and getting really excited, and then you get that phone call and it's like ‘The Voice has been postponed’ and my heart sank," she told ITV News in June.

While in lockdown, Molly has continued writing songs and performing her music online.

She performed her new single, After The Night Before, during last year's semi-final of The Voice, and is confident of her future success.

"I’m going to make it. I will”, she told Cornwall Live. "I’ve got a drive and I want to get there. I’m a different type of artist to what’s out there at the momen."

Blessing Chitapa – 2020

Blessing Chitapa is the most recent winner of The Voice
(Image: ITV)

Reigning champion of The Voice UK is Blessing Chitapa.

Despite the new series already starting, the 18-year-old was only crowned winner back in November last year.

Blessing had an agonising wait for the semi-finals as they were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But it had no impact on her sensational performances, which earned her a place in the final and then the winner's title.

Blessing is gearing up to become a chart success
(Image: ITV)

Blessing branded her win her "biggest achievement yet", adding: "I am so proud of how far I have come and I’m so intrigued to see what the future holds for me!

"I’m hoping my new single Angels can bless and inspire people to think about a certain someone in their life who has always been there for them."

Things got a bit awkward for Olly as he promised to dance naked if his act won, but he was true to his word.

Following her win, Olly said: "Blessing absolutely deserves to be crowned the winner of this year’s Voice UK! I’ve always believed in her from the start, and to think that I was the only Coach who turned for her is amazing.

"She’s got an incredible voice, infectious personality and has a bright future ahead of her. I can’t wait to see what she does next.”

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