Oulton Broad singer Leanne Mitchell faces final stage fight in BBC One show The Voice
THIS time last year, stardom was but a distant dream.
But this weekend singer Leanne Mitchell will take to the stage in front of millions of TV viewers – hoping to win the hit BBC talent series The Voice and secure the recording deal she thought had passed her by.
Tomorrow evening, the 28-year-old from Oulton Broad will perform a new solo number, a duet with her mentor Sir Tom Jones, as well as singing her best song of the series in the hope of winning the public vote.
However, in order to secure a recording deal with US record company Universal, she will need to see off rival contestants Vince Kidd, Tyler James and Bo Bruce who are also vying for the coveted prize.
The show will reach its climax tomorrow after four weeks of blind auditions, two 'battle rounds', and five live shows in front of the singers' mentors Jessie J, Tom Jones, Will.i.am and Danny O'Donoghue.
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Rallying behind the Leanne, her husband and work colleagues spoke of their pride this week at how far she had come.
Her husband Rob Hurren, 31, an activity instructor, said the couple met at Potters Leisure Resort 10 years ago and got married last year.
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He said: 'I have got a friends and family in Lowestoft who will all be rooting for her to win.
'But the whole experience has been a bit overwhelming when it comes to the amount of support she is getting,' he said. 'So far, I have been down every Saturday to see her and we have been putting up posters to try and encourage people to support her.
'Since she started with the show it has been a bit surreal, she even said it herself.
'When she goes into shops in Lowestoft now people are always stopping her for photographs. These are the same shops where she used to go and no one noticed her.
'I always say to her you have to just take every day as it comes. You just have to enjoy the experience, have fun and see where it goes.'
He added: 'Leanne has been given this gift and everyone is getting to see that now. I am just really proud of what she has done. She has remained true to herself.'
Leanne, who is also a voice coach at a theatre company based at Potters Leisure Resort in Hopton, was still a pupil at Benjamin Britten High School, in Lowestoft, when she started performing at Potters at the age of 15.
Since then she has taken the stage at its annual shows and offered a guiding hand to aspiring singers.
But until her appearance on The Voice, she had given up on her dream of becoming a full-time singer after failing to secure a recording deal.
Brian Potter, chairman of Potters Leisure Resort, said: 'Our Leanne has made us all extremely proud of her talent and immense achievement working with Sir Tom.
'Leanne now joins the Potters Hall of Fame alongside the likes of West End musical stars Lee Mead and Kerry Ellis who also began their career at Potters.'
As for Leanne herself, she said: 'This has been the most amazing experience and the support that I have had has blown me away. I know how privileged I am to get this far in such an amazing competition and I am just going to focus on working hard to make sure that I do everyone proud in the finals on Saturday night.'
?The Voice live show is on BBC1 on Saturday at 7.20pm.