The show must go on, says The Voice's Jordan Gray
Published 23/03/2016 | 18:11
The Voice contestant Jordan Gray is unwell due to a virus but she is determined to perform on Saturday's first live show of the series.
"We were just in the middle of the first big live rehearsal and I had to go straight home. I couldn't get through the performance," she told the Press Association.
"But the show must go on, that's my philosophy. I'm not a spiritual person or anything like that, I don't believe in fate.
"I just think if I want to be on stage on Saturday, then I have to be on stage on Saturday. I'm feeling miserable, but I'm focusing on getting well."
Gray, who was born male and now lives as a female, has been tipped to become the show's first transgender winner thanks to her distinctive voice and stage presence.
A member of Paloma Faith's trio of finalists, she originally appeared during the blind auditions segment, but failed to impress the all-star coaching panel of Faith, will.i.am, Boy George and Ricky Wilson.
The Essex resident was given a second chance when Londoner JJ Soulx left the BBC One show for "personal reasons".
Faith told the Press Association she expected Gray would be on Saturday's show.
The Picking Up The Pieces singer said: "She's just got a virus and we don't want her to be poorly on the live show. She will make it. We are all praying for her."
When asked if her back story had given her an advantage over another candidate who could have filled the gap, Gray said she understood the interest.
"I'm on par with everybody who didn't get a turn, but I completely understand I'm a transgender woman and I'm not naive to the fact that some people are curious about that," she stated.
Gray is grateful for the boost the BBC One talent show has given her profile and her back catalogue.
"I've been doing this for 10 years," the 26-year-old said. "I'm on my seventh independent album, I play all over Europe, especially Scandinavia, and I've seen a new injection of interest.
"There's offers on the table. It's all very exciting."
On Saturday, each coach will pick one member of their team who will receive a fast pass straight into next week's semi-finals.
Viewers will vote on the remaining eight finalists to determine who remains in the competition and who goes home.
Bookmakers have made 18-year-old Cody Frost, a member of Boy George's team, the favourite to be crowned winner.
Faith backed Boy George's charge not to be overwhelmed by the spotlight.
"I think she can handle it," she said.
Boy George added: "She's very self-contained. In the knockouts she had a glow about her, she's got something very special about her.
"I'm not worried about her. She's seemed to be doing it (coping) so far."
Frost said she was aware she was favourite but said she did not feel the pressure.
"I can only be as good as I am. There's no pressure in the sense that I can only get as good as George can help me be - I can only try as hard as I can," she said.
"I try not to think about it. The more I think about something the worse I feel so I try and put it off and concentrate on my vocals."
Gray, meanwhile, is undeterred despite admitting she does not possess "the strongest vocal".
"Britain loves an underdog," she stated. "Not to be self-effacing because I think I am very good at what I do, but I kind of feel I probably have one of the weakest voices in the competition.
"However, I do make up for it because I emote and I perform the heck out of whatever I'm given and I work blooming hard on it. I just try to do that even though I don't have the strongest vocal."
The pop star wannabe hailed The Voice for its "integrity" and for respecting its contestants.
"This is the show that, for me, has the most integrity. I like that we're all given creative freedom. We're not forced in any specific direction."
Gray knows she has an additional responsibility compared with other contestants on The Voice, but she said she welcomes the scrutiny.
"Life is short and I'm happy to be an ambassador for the trans community.
"We're on the cusp of a big social change and it's exciting that I get to help in any small way. It's a lot of pressure, but I work better under pressure."
:: The Voice is broadcast on Saturday on BBC One at 7pm.