Halliwell revels in her AGT role
FRIENDSHIP never ends, declared the Spice Girls in their first hit single Wannabe, and more than a decade on, the members of the UK pop group are sticking true to that principle.
For proof, look no further than Melanie Brown, also known as Scary Spice, who recommended that her fellow bandmate Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) fill her spot on the judging panel of Channel 9’s Australia’s Got Talent (AGT) when a legal injunction stopped Brown from taking the gig.
‘‘What a lovely friend!’’ Halliwell says. ‘‘When she called me up and told me she’d said that to the producers, I was really touched she was that generous.’’
Halliwell was a bit anxious about taking the job, especially as she would be travelling to ‘‘the other side of the world’’ with her young daughter Bluebell in tow.
‘‘I love the English version of the show, and I love Australia, but it was going to be just me and my daughter, and I wouldn’t really know anyone,’’ she says. ‘‘But I just trusted. And it turned out great.’’ Halliwell has a few reality TV competition roles to her credit, having previously appeared on American Idol and the UK version of The X Factor as a mentor and judge, but her AGT gig takes things to a new level.
Amazed and inspired by some of the acts – she singles out wheelchair-bound former Paralympic athlete Paul Nunnari’s aerial gymnastic routine as a personal highlight – Halliwell also feels it is her responsibility as a judge to be honest, candid and fair.
‘‘I tried to go with my gut instinct, and there were times when I found that quite challenging,’’ she says.
‘‘I really like the show because it’s about giving people a chance to realise or even reignite their dreams. But you do get some ridiculous acts, though.’’
In such situations, Halliwell takes it upon herself to be the voice of reason, even if the news was sometimes a little painful to break to a hopeful contestant.
The golden rule behind Halliwell’s evaluation of the acts on AGT was that the personality of the performer had to shine through. Skill and passion were important factors, true, but individuality always took precedence.
‘‘I learnt a lot doing this show but one of the most important things was that talent comes from what is in your heart,’’ she says.
Australia’s Got Talent: Sundays, 6.30pm, Nine, NBN.
– GUY DAVIS
Kyle Sandilands and Geri Halliwell