The Voice UK vocal coach accused of favouritism towards artist Jay Norton

Jay Norton (The Voice UK)The Voice UK is in more hot water today over claims that its head vocal coach Juliet Russell has been giving 'special treatment' to contestant Jay Norton.

The 24-year-old wooed judge just seconds in to his blind audition for the smash hit BBC One talent show, performing Aloe Blacc's 'I Need A Dollar'.

Norton eventually joined the Black Eyed Peas frontman's team, after a tense bidding war with music legend Tom Jones.

However, it has since emerged that he has a friendship with Russell, whose responsibilities include preparing the acts before they go on stage.

According to The Mirror, Jay was a singer for her company 'Sense of Sound', who finished sixth on BBC series Last Choir Standing in 2008.

Russell was also seen championing him before and after his appearance on Saturday's episode. Posts on her Twitter page included: "The Wonderful Jay Norton is on The Voice tomorrow at 7pm, he’s supratalentado and I love him!"

A 'source' told the newspaper: "Jay and Juliet have been friends for a long time. They have built up an excellent relationship.

"She is meant to give each act equal attention and support, but it’s obvious she has a soft spot for Jay. But how can it be fair when singers are listening to her advice just before they go on for the biggest moment of their life and someone like Jay has had her expertise at his disposal for years.

"If being friends with a head vocal coach on the show isn’t an advantage, I don’t know what is."

In response, the BBC insisted that there had been no improper conduct, saying that staff have acted as talent scouts for the show. A spokesperson stated: "Juliet did not coach Jay at all once he turned up at auditions and she has no say over who the judges pick.

"All she did was help get him a chance on the series."

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