Olly Murs: presenting The X Factor was “restrictive”

The newest member of The Voice UK's coaching panel says he couldn't be himself co-hosting The X Factor as he role was so tightly controlled

ITV TL

He may only just have taken his seat on The Voice UK coaching panel, but it sounds like Olly Murs already prefers working on the spinning-chair singing competition than The X Factor.

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Murs – who was a finalist on 2009’s X Factor before co-hosting the contest with Caroline Flack in 2013 – has said his presenting role on Simon Cowell’s show was “restrictive”.

“When I was presenting The X Factor I was told what to say – I couldn’t really be myself. It was restrictive,” the singer told RadioTimes.com. “With X Factor I couldn’t say anything… if I wanted to make fun of one of the judges while I was presenting, they were like ‘you can’t say that!’”

However, Murs said he has more of a free reign on The Voice UK. “I’m not going to lie, I’m loving being a coach. I think it’s because I’ve got the freedom to say what I want and do what I want,” he explained. “Not only can I give contestants my advice, but I’m able to just enjoy it!”

He added: “With The X Factor, every year there’s so much hype behind it. With The Voice there is hype too, but we just want to have a good time and have fun with amazing talent.”

Murs’ stint hosting the X Factor lasted only one year, during which he accidentally announced contestant Monica Michael was leaving the competition when the result hadn’t yet been confirmed.

Fortunately, Murs has stayed clear of any huge faux pas on The Voice, telling us he avoided accidentally presenting his button or falling off his chair during the blind audition recordings. (In case you’re wondering, will.i.am said he also eluded those mess-ups).

So, what sort of coach will Murs be on The Voice? Returning host Emma Willis has described him as like “an excitable puppy” who has been an “absolute dream” to work with. “It’s kind of like he’s always been here, he’s slotted in really well. He’s such a likeable guy and people can relate to him,” she said.

However, Willis also revealed that Murs suffered from a few star-struck nerves before filming began. “He was quite nervous before the first audition round,” she said. “When we all had a drink the night before he was saying to me ‘There’s Tom Jones! There’s Jennifer Hudson!’ I had to reassure him ‘well, you’re Olly Murs!’”

However, the anxiety didn’t last. When speaking to us, Murs said he loves “bouncing off” fellow coaches Tom Jones, Jennifer Hudson and will.i.am, who is returning for his seventh series on the show.

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The Voice UK returns Saturday 6th January at 8pm on ITV