Former Liberty X singer Kevin Simm was crowned The Voice 2016 champion in a nailbiting final on Saturday night.
The 35-year-old was overcome with emotion as his name was read out by host Marvin Humes, leaving rival and Ricky Wilson’s fellow act Jolan Gidney-Craigen to take the runner-up spot.
“I cannot believe it. I am so grateful to everyone who has voted for me,” he said after winning the competition in its last outing on BBC1 before it transfers to ITV.
“I couldn’t have dreamed this, especially at my old age. I’m so grateful to everyone who has made this show such an amazing experience.”
Simm triumphed over soul singer Jolan in the final head-to-head with the loser wishing his rival well when the result was announced.
“What an amazing man Kevin is as well, I couldn’t wish for anyone better to win it,” said the 21-year-old Cumbrian Jolan, adding the sightly bizarre coda: “He’s like an older granddad.”
Simm’s three performances during Saturday night’s live final included a version of Rihanna’s ballad Stay.
He also duetted with Ricky on The Killers’ hit Mr Brightside before going head-to-head with Jolan on the winner’s single All You Good Friends to decide the champion.
Simm won the backing of the panel, with Boy George telling him: “I think he’s proved himself to be a star. You were in a big pop band and it’s insane that you were in that band and no-one knew you could sing… For me you’re the winner.”
“I totally agree with George. To perform and risk losing, you’re risking a lot. You’re a fighter and you need to take that spirit and wear that as your armour,” will.i.am added.
Where Simm goes from here is anyone’s guess, but at least he has already tasted pop success, having topped the UK charts in 2002 with the Liberty X single Just a Little. He was a member of the band from 2001 to 2008.