Red hot


The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE -


Sun­day, 6.30pm, Nine

AT THE height of their fame in the 1990s, the Spice Girls jug­ger­naut could close down in­ter­na­tional air­ports. Such was their pop­u­lar­ity that some­times, when they flew into a new city, the air­port would be shut half an hour ei­ther side of their ar­rival to con­trol crowds.

With global suc­cess came scru­tiny on a grand scale. Ev­ery move, weight fluc­tu­a­tion, ro­mance, power strug­gle, diva an­tic and de­mand – real or imag­ined – ex­pe­ri­enced by Ginger (Geri Hal­li­well), Posh (Vic­to­ria Beck­ham), Scary (Mel B) Sporty (Mel C) and Baby (Emma Bun­ton) was chron­i­cled mer­ci­lessly in the me­dia.

So you’re pre­pared for a lot of things for a first in­ter­view with ‘‘Ginger Spice’’ Geri Hal­li­well, Nine’s judg­ing re­cruit for re­vamped re­al­ity show

Aus­tralia’s Got Tal­ent.

You’re ex­pect­ing a me­dia vet­eran, well-armed with pre­pared re­sponses to ques­tions about her part­ing ways with the band in 1998 cit­ing de­pres­sion and creative dif­fer­ences.

You’re pre­pared for a publi­cist cut­ting off any ques­tion about bu­limia, break-ups and blow-ups, a bulging se­cu­rity de­tail and a strict 10-minute sched­ule.

In­stead a make-up-free, Hal­li­well, hair un­kempt, has es­chewed a restau­rant chat in favour of wel­com­ing you into her ho­tel room, cheer­fully apol­o­gis­ing that she hasn’t had time to brush her teeth.

The diminu­tive star is fight­ing a se­vere bout of flu and wrap­ping up a fit­ting ses­sion for her wardrobe for

AGT live shows, as daugh­ter Blue­bell, 7, gives her opin­ion on each out­fit and shows off her cur­rent favourite YouTube clip.

‘‘Oh, hello, we’re a bit of a mess here this morn­ing,’’ Hal­li­well grins. ‘‘I’m sorry I look like a to­tal minger, I’ve been sick all week. Swim­ming at Bal­moral in win­ter prob­a­bly didn’t help. But it’s Aus­tralia. There was sun­shine.’’

With the fit­ting over, Hal­li­well, 40, opts to sit next to you rather than across from you on the couch and of­fers gen­uine thanks to some­one bear­ing a much-needed cuppa. This is Hal­li­well in 2013. Laid back, yet pro­fes­sional. No-non­sense, but not prickly.

And loving the chance fel­low Spice Girl Mel B threw her way to come to Aus­tralia.

A con­tract dis­pute meant when Chan­nel 9 bought the rights to AGT last year af­ter Seven dumped it, Mel B couldn’t take up judg­ing du­ties on the ri­val net­work.

In­stead, with the Spice Girls hav­ing kissed and made up, Mel B sug­gested Hal­li­well to fill her spot.

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