MENTORING children on a prime-time TV show has left Pixie Lott feeling broody.
The singer, who has twice won The Voice Kids as a coach, is hoping to have a large family of her own after being charmed by the youngsters she met on screen.
But first, the 29-year-old star wants to finally set a date for her wedding to model fiancé Oliver Cheshire, after it was postponed due to coronavirus.
In an exclusive interview, Pixie said: “I’m a big family girl, a very big family girl.
“Family is everything for me so I would love to have my own family when I can find the time. When the time is right I would love that. It’s such an amazing thing to have.
“We were planning to have our wedding this year and now everything is so up in the air, we’ve just delayed it.
“There’s still a lot of planning behind the scenes but we are waiting for the time there are no restrictions and rules, because we don’t really want to have that on the special day.
“We’re having a little look around and waiting for when we can do it without the rules and restrictions.”
On tomorrow night’s The Voice Kids final, at 7.20pm on ITV, Pixie’s winning hope — 13-year-old Justine Afante — is aiming for victory but is up against Danny Jones’s ten-year-old singer George Elliott, Will.i.am’s Victoria Alsina, seven, and Paloma Faith’s Dara McNicholl, 12.
Justine chose Team Pixie after all four coaches turned their chairs to signal their backing for her in the blind auditions, and she has dazzled with her renditions of Rise Up, One Moment In Time and Never Enough.
If she is crowned winner, following in the footsteps of fellow Pixie protégés Jess Folley and Daniel Davies in 2017 and 2018, she will get a £30,000 bursary towards her music education and a VIP trip to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
Tomorrow night each competitor will perform a solo song and then a duet with their judges.
For the first time, due to coronavirus restrictions, the final has been pre-recorded with no studio audience, each performance has been choreographed to be socially distanced, and the coaches’ chairs are two metres apart.
Pixie said: “It’s just great to be back. It’s great for the kids to have their final.
"They really all have their own moment. I know they’ve been looking forward to it this whole time.”
Despite lockdown, Pixie has managed to stay in close contact with her finalist Justine and said: “Early into lockdown we had little Zoom catch-ups because obviously we couldn’t meet in person, and we’ve seen our finalists recently to do some extra filming.
“It was lovely just to see them again before we get into rehearsal mode.
“During this time they’ve been practising and working hard. We’ve just kept in touch in that way.”
Despite all the changes, there is one thing that stays the same — the drive and passion of the children, which echoes Pixie’s life when she was that age.
She said: “When I was the same age as Justine and George, that was all the stuff I was doing.
"I lived and breathed it. I loved it. I was singing everywhere — I was looking for my own auditions in the newspaper.
“I was dragging my mum and dad around to the auditions and just loved it.
"If this had been around when I was that age I would 100 per cent have done it. I’d have loved it.”
Even when The Voice Kids is finished, Pixie keeps in contact with the young people she mentors on the programme.
She said: “We want them to know they have our support and they can ask questions at any time, long after the show, because they’re such talent.
“We’re all excited about their journey and what they do next and what song they are writing and what they’re putting out.
“I stay in touch with all my kids from previous years. They always come to my summer school that I run.
"I found out today that one of my kids who was on my team a couple of years ago got six A*s and a couple of As or something in his GCSEs. I sent him a celebratory message.”
Unlike adult talent competitions, there is little rivalry between the contestants — in fact, it is the coaches who are desperate for their act to win.
Pixie said: “I feel like it doesn’t have that vibe about it, this show. I couldn’t take the crown again for the third year.
“All jokes aside, it is about making it as special as possible for the kids. It’s an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives.
“Honestly, it is like they’re having the best time and we are having the best time as well, watching them. That is the most important thing.
“They will take this with them for the rest of their lives.”
Though Pixie has won the show twice before, it’s not the winning she enjoys most — it’s seeing the friendships that blossom throughout the process.
She added: “They do all make best friends. They’ve all got their little WhatsApp group. My friends that I met at that age doing this sort of thing, they’re still like my besties for life.
“Watching that, seeing them have those little friendships and really just get the best out of it is just beautiful.”
Away from her TV role, Pixie has spent the five months of lockdown doing up her home — including building her own boozer in the garden.
She said: “We’ve got a beautiful terrace bit and we’ve never used it before but we turned it into a little outside restaurant because I was missing all the going out and eating.
"We just did an overhaul and I made a bar of the wooden pallet things.
“I’ve got little fairy lights. I’ve learned how to make a margarita and I’ve got a little photo up there now, complete with hanging lights.
“I bring my little speaker out and make food and now that you’re allowed people in the garden, I can have people over. I’ve even got a little cocktail menu.”
- Applications for the next series of The Voice Kids are now open for children aged seven to 14. Go to itv.com/thevoicekidsuk/apply or see stv.tv/voicekids.
‘Win to beat the bullies’
THE show’s reigning champion coach, Danny Jones, has bonded with his current contestant over their experiences of bullying.
The McFly guitarist, 34, was targeted at school for playing the guitar – and was even spat on – while his finalist, George Elliott, gets picked on for being short.
Danny said: “No one deserves to be spat on just for carrying a guitar. But you build up resilience.
"Resilient people see through that – they don’t notice the spit on their shoulder.
“I always knew that one day I wanted to be on stage and have a band.
"I just kept working on that and I wasn’t going to let anyone stop me, not an idiot from school who wanted to spit on me.
“It’s similar to George. We had a really good conversation about why he gets bullied for being small.
"I was trying to teach him about visualisation and, like, if you have visualisation you’ll be able to stay on your path and forget about those kids bullying you – because you sound huge on that stage and you put in such a big performance for a small kid.
“So when the bullies see it they’re going to be sick, and when you’re successful they’re going to be even sicker.
"You know where all the bullies are now that used to bully me? They don’t even have a job.”
Last year Team Danny singer Sam Wilkinson won the show and the pair are still in close contact via social media.
Danny added: “This is why Instagram is good because they all set up little Team Danny 2018.
“They all become really good friends and we’re often tagged in on that so we’re up to date.
“I have a rule now where if you get to my semis then you can have my contact details, if they ever want advice. For example, Courtney from the first series.
“Her mum messaged me the other day saying she was writing music and wanted some help.
“As coaches we just want them to know that we are there whenever they need us.”
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