7:50am Friday 20th April 2012
A Burntwood School music teacher has dedicated his highly emotional perfomance on BBC's The Voice to a friend murdered in Battersea six years ago.
Jaz Ellington, from Battersea, reduced judge Will.I.Am to tears on Sunday night after his renditions of Ed Seeran's A Team, followed by John Legend's Ordinary People, penned by the Black Eyed Peas frontman.
Mr Ellington told the audience his performance was both dedicated to and inspired by his close friend Fabian Ricketts, who was shot in the chest in April 2006 following a gang-related attack.
The 28-year-old, who sang at his friend's funeral St Stephen's Church in Balham, said: "I've gone through a lot of heartache and I've written about it. I lost Fabian a few years ago. It was like, 'Wow, I'm never going to see you again'.
"The only way I could express that was in a song called Perfect Picture which I sang at his funeral. It was very hard to do but when I wrote the song I felt better."
The music teacher, the final act on Sunday's show, was picked by Will.I.Am to join his team of 10 singers - winning the last place available in the competition.
Speaking after the show, Will.I.Am said: "Not only did he sing awesome but he blessed us with a better version of Ordinary People. His name is Jaz because that's what he wants to do."
Mr Ellington, whose wife Kirsten is expecting their first baby in July, almost missed his audition after suffering an asthma attack just days before his appearance.
A former student of Mr Ellington at Burntwood, student Rachel McLaverty-Williamson, 17, said: "I was really shocked when I saw him on the TV. I sometimes wondered why he was spending time teaching us when he was extremely talented himself."
The Voice sees contestants audition in front of 'blind' judges Tom Jones, Jessie J, Danny O'Donoghue and Will.I.Am, who then have to pick 10 performers each - to be eliminated in the competition's final rounds, which start next week.
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