James performs a blinding audition

James Byron perforrming on The Voice. Photographer: Guy Levy
James Byron perforrming on The Voice. Photographer: Guy Levy

A talented singer from Illston on the Hill won over rapper and judge on The Voice Wil.i.am with a stunning performance of Janis Joplin’s Cry Baby.

Winning over Will.i.am means that James Byron (24), and a Leicester College graduate will now go on to the next stage of the BBC Show.

Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue and Rickey Wilson, the other judges were all full of praise for the performance, but on the night, it was Will.i.am who had the belief to bop the button and turn his chair around.

The star admitted to having been confused by James’s unique voice during the blind audition stage.

He said: “You sang magnificent and then I’m like ‘oh shucks’, I need to stack up my female singers to compete with Tom’s female singers.

“Then I turned around and you’re a boy, but it’s all good because you sound like a girl so we still accomplished the same thing.”

Tom Jones said: “There were times when you sang that you sounded like a man and other times when you sounded like a woman, but there’s nothing wrong with that - that makes it more interesting to me.

“And now I’m sorry I didn’t press my button - I liked it.”
Kylie Minogue said that James had delivered an amazing performance, and said to the other judges that there was a great amount of noise coming from such a small person.

James was filmed prior to going on the show, with the voiceover saying that music was his way of expressing his individuality.

James said: “I’m a very shy person, and was bullied when growing up because of the way I look.

“I’ve always looked very feminine - I get a lot of people who confuse me with a woman.

“But you have to carry on with life, can’t let things that have happened in your past get to you all of the time.

“I’ve grown with music and music has grown with me.

“Tonight is a very special night for me 0 it will be the first time I get judged on the way I sing rather than on the way I look.”

James secured his spot on the show after winning a round of auditions in Birmingham, which followed an invitation from a BBC talent-watcher, who spotted him performing at The Exchange bar, in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter, during a scouting visit to the city.

Sally Barker from Lutterworth has also made it through to the next stages of the competition after wowing judge Tom Jones.

The area has become rich with television talent with former Gartree prison officer Sam Bailey winning the X Factor last year and talented baker Frances Quinn winning The Great British Bake Off.

Watch James now on YouTube YouTube