Sir Tom Jones has defended himself against critics who slammed him for losing touch with his contestant on U.K. singing contest The Voice, insisting his former protegee was "taken over" by record label bosses.

The Welsh star coached Leanne Mitchell to victory on the Tv show last year (12), helping the singer beat three other finalists to snap up a recording contract.

But her debut album went on to sell less than 1,000 copies, and Sir Tom came under fire after Mitchell recently revealed she hadn't heard from him since The Voice wrapped.

Now the veteran entertainer has shot back, insisting, "Whoever wins (The Voice), they are then with the record company and management agency, so there's not a lot I can do after that - she's been taken over. You sign on for the whole package."

The 72-year-old Sex Bomb hitmaker reveals he has yet to listen to Mitchell's album, but blames record executives for rushing the release of her first single Run To You, which came out the day after she won.

He says, "I think you can't push something forward when it's not there yet, because there's no point in it, and they did rush a single out on her... I've got the album and haven't listened to it yet. But I've heard the new single, If I Knew Then, and I think she's done a great job on it. Like everybody does, she needed time to live with the music then put it out.

"So I don't think the timing worked on her first single. It was rushed and the record company didn't take enough time with her. So hopefully now that they have taken time it will work."