Hal­li­well rev­els in her AGT role

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

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

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