Emma Willis hosts new ITV special Your Song, which sees deserving members of the public rewarded with a performance from their musical hero. Here, Emma tells us more...
Emma Willis on meeting local heroes for her new ITV entertainment show…
TV is always a great platform to honour life’s unsung heroes and that’s exactly what people can expect from ITV’s new music show, Your Song.
The brainchild of X Factor judge and music mogul Simon Cowell, the hour-long special sees ordinary people – who’ve done extraordinary things – being surprised with the performance of a lifetime from their favourite recording artist.
Host Emma Willis isn't afraid to admit that fronting Your Song has been a humbling experience.
"I love doing things with the public anyway and it makes you feel good if you know you’re doing something for somebody who’s either had a really rubbish time or who goes out of their way to do things for other people and doesn’t really ask for anything in return," says Emma, also known for hosting The Voice UK. "It's nice to repay people who deserve it and I think Your Song is a really heartwarming show."
Here Emma, 41, talks getting emotional and meeting her own musical heroes…
What can you tell us about the people on Your Song who are being surprised with a special musical performance?
"I don't want to give too much away about the individual stories but each of these people have been nominated by a friend or family member for a specific reason as to why they deserve this special treat. There are some serious stories, which will make you cry, as well as other more light-hearted stories that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy. We surprise these people at their schools, colleges and workplaces; none of them have a clue what’s going on until they're literally face-to-face with their musical hero."
Emma surprises a group of young people at the The Rugby Portobello Trust in West London
Can you tell us about any of the singing superstars involved?
"I can tell you they're all British. This show is very much about flying the flag for local British heroes and their favourite British music stars. The people we surprise will have a link to the artist that performs for them. Also, there's no 'studio' element to this show; everything takes place on location around the country and the stars perform there."
Did you get emotional hosting this show?
"The team would always try and prepare me for the really emotional stories and I'd tell them: 'I cry at people singing on The Voice, so if you think I'm not gonna cry at this then you're crazy!' I do try not to cry but you get really connected to these people and their stories, so it's really hard not to. So there has been a bit of 'moisture' in the eyes at times, definitely."
Singer Rita Ora gives a group of deserving children a musical treat
Who in your own life would you like to surprise with a special musical treat?
"It's a really lame answer but probably my parents. They always go above and beyond for me and do it selflessly. I’m a grown woman now, who should give lots back to them, and I do try, but they still insist on doing EVERYTHING for me. My mum will say: 'I'll take your washing home' or my dad will ask: 'Shall I paint those walls for you?' So I'd want to give back to them. My dad's a massive Fleetwood Mac fan and my mum loves Bruce Springsteen. I'd imagine they'd be quite hard to get though!"
And which recording artist would you like to get a special performance from yourself?
"Let's keep it British and say Eighties' pop band Duran Duran; that would be amazing. My sister got me into them as a kid and she'd literally pass out if they performed for me."
Your husband Matt sings and performs with his band Busted – has he ever serenaded you?
"No! He sings all the time but not in a serenading way. I'd laugh at him if he did!"
Emma with her husband, Busted star Matt Willis
Your Song sees people meeting their musical heroes. Do you ever get starstruck?
"Oh, very much so. The last time was when I met Dave Grohl from US rock band The Foo Fighters after hosting The BRIT Awards earlier this year. I was too afraid to approach him at first but then, as we were all leaving, I saw Dave chatting to somebody, so I ran over and said: ‘I’m so sorry but I just hosted the BRITs and I’d love a picture with you’. He was a really nice man, we had a lovely 60-second conversation, and my publicist Max took the picture for me. I was VERY excited – I hope I play it a bit cooler next time."
Your Song can be seen on Sunday October 22 at 9pm on ITV.
Get the What to Watch Newsletter
The latest updates, reviews and unmissable series to watch and more!
With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!