PRESENTER Emma Willis has shared her 'guilt' over her inability to hug devastated contestants on The Voice UK in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The much-loved host has been at the helm of the vocal talent series since 2014 and is the first person to dish out a consoling embrace with contestants when they fail to get to the next round.
However in a Covid world, Emma's intuitive tactile moves are a no-go due to social distancing guidelines and has admitted she's been reduced to only "virtual hugs".
Speaking to The Sun Online ahead of the new series of The Voice UK, the former Big Brother host admitted she feels "guilty" not being able to give auditionees or their family a hug after failing to impress the coaches.
She told us: "In the blinds, it's the families I can't console but in the battles it's them [the contestant], two metres away from me and I feel really bad for them obviously and I carry the guilt of them not going through.
"I just kept going 'virtual hugs' but I'm sure in the gallery they're probably going 'stop bloody saying virtual hugs'.
Adding: "I just feel really bad and you can feel the disappointment in some people.
"For me it's just a natural thing to give someone a hug and say 'I'm really sorry' – but we live in a Covid world where we can't hug."
Despite having to adapt to a new way of filming, The Circle presenter admitted she's just so thrilled they're able to work on the series this year amid the ongoing pandemic.
"It's the hardest thing for me I think because my part of the show in the Blinds is being tactile and giving hugs and screaming and clapping," she continued.
"While I can still scream and clap, I miss being able to cuddle a mam or a dad or a nan.
"But we're just bloody lucky that we can do it all really so I'll deal with the no hugs. It's just nice to be able to do the show."
Emma joins coaches Olly Murs, Sir Tom Jones, Will.i.am and new addition Anne-Marie on the show, which will air later this week.
The series will see a wealth of new talent from all over the UK battle it out in a bid to get the coaches to turn their chairs while a virtual audience eggs them on.
The Voice UK returns to ITV at 8.30pm on Saturday 2nd Jan.
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