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Irish teen Sophie is caught in The Voice ageism row

IRISH teen Sophie Griffin has found herself at the centre of an ageism row with her contestant in the battle rounds of the UK version of The Voice.

Tyrone native Sophie (17) was up against singer J Marie Cooper in Sunday's show -- with J Marie claiming she was axed due to her age.

J Marie (27), a professional backing singer who has performed on Strictly Come Dancing, was favourite against the Irish teenager when the pair sang Katy Perry's Firework.

Although J Marie performed her part perfectly, Sophie did better than expected, with their coach will.i.am opting to to send J Marie home, saying he was the same age as Sophie when he got his chance in the industry.

The 27-year-old claimed her age counted against her.


"The fact that I am 27 should not have been a factor. It's called The Voice not The Age. I'm stating facts here," she said. "I have a lot of love for all of the contestants on The Voice, and I still support the show. But I'm always gonna tell it like it is."

During Sunday's pre-recorded show, coach will.i.am told viewers he paired Sophie with show favourite J Marie to challenge the schoolgirl.

Surprisingly, the move paid off for Sophie who rose to the challenge, with coaches Jessie J and will.i.am saying they preferred her performance.

Sophie, from Ardboe in Co Tyrone, has already made a name for herself locally as a talented performer.

Along with group Shake The Glitter, she came third in TV3's Get Your Glee On competition in 2010 and she has competed in many local competitions and shows.

Sophie also entered last year's X Factor and made it as far as bootcamp alongside fellow Tyrone teen Janet Devlin before being cut.