The Voice judge Olly Murs got a surprise as the show returned to screens on Saturday after his friend and former workmate auditioned.

Lara George, 32, got three turns from Tom Jones, Meghan Trainor and Olly, following her rendition of Jess Glynne's Don't Be So Hard On Yourself on the ITV show.

In a video shown before Lara, a learning support assistant, sang she revealed how she had worked with Olly in a call centre when they were 17.

Olly went on to find success on the X Factor.

Lara revealed she and Olly had worked on the same shift and sat next to each other.

She said: "We basically just laughed the whole time, which is probably why I didn’t sell anything and I can’t remember what I was actually meant to be doing.”

Lara had not told Olly she was going to take part in the blind auditions.

A shocked Olly ran onto the stage to hug Lara after turning around.

He said: "This is mad. We worked together at Kitchens Direct when we were like 16.

"We just sang and spoke every day.

"When I first started singing Lara was the one I looked up to, she was already doing all the gigs and was so confident singing everything.

"I was like ‘ oh my god this girl is amazing'.

"I’m so proud of her to come up and do this."

Braintree and Witham Times:

  • Jazmin Harrington and Lara George, who played in the band F2K with Olly, pictured in 2009 when Olly was on the X Factor

Olly told Lara she had three turns she "truly deserved" before counting himself out of contention.

Lara, who was also in Witham funk band F2K with Olly, went on to choose Sir Tom.

On Instagram she posted: "So grateful for this opportunity and still buzzing from the response from Saturday night."