So­nia find­ing her own voice

Sunday Territorian - - TV -

Af­ter co-host­ing last year, So­nia Kruger is go­ing solo this year. She speaks with GUY DAVIS about pre­sent­ing the hit show.

think Joel Benji are quite de­pen­dent.” That’s the thing about So­nia Kruger: she can al­ways be counted on to tell it like it is. (In this case, she’s dis­cussing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween rock-star broth­ers Joel and Benji Mad­den. But more about that in a mo­ment.)

Kruger is, of course, one of Nine’s go-to stars, ef­fort­lessly mak­ing her­self at home in any num­ber of for­mats the net­work of­fers up. She has co-hosted Nine’s Morn­ings pro­gram with David Camp­bell since 2012, and fronted the net­work’s re­boot of Big Brother.

Last year, she joined Dar­ren McMullen as a co-host of the pop­u­lar singing com­pe­ti­tion The Voice. And in 2016, with McMullen jump­ing ship to present Seven’s up­com­ing game show The Big Mu­sic Quiz, she’s step­ping up as solo host.

“It’s fine!” she laughed when asked if los­ing a co­host had dou­bled her du­ties.

“I now get to go through more of the process with the artists – I see them at the be­gin­ning, I see them af­ter the per­for­mance, I’m kind of there with them the whole time, whereas pre­vi­ously Dar­ren and I split those du­ties.

“I miss Dar­ren; he was great to work with. But I feel like I’m more im­mersed in The Voice this year.”

Kruger’s role on The Voice when she joined last year and co- was to help con­nect the show’s au­di­ence with the friends and fam­ily mem­bers watch­ing an artist’s per­for­mance on stage.

“With the Blind Au­di­tions, we had the artists and their fam­i­lies in the hold­ing room, where I would have a chat with them be­fore they went on­stage,” she says.

“When the artist is per­form­ing, I’m in the view­ing room with their fam­ily and friends, with our fingers crossed that a coach’s chair turns for them. And then I’ll wait back­stage when they meet up with their fam­i­lies again.”

It’s an ex­pe­ri­ence that was some­times cel­e­bra­tory. And some­times it was the op­po­site.

“Some­thing that dawned on me when I first did The Voice was that it’s amaz­ing when some­one gets through – it’s ex­cit­ing and it’s fun – but it doesn’t al­ways hap­pen,” Kruger says.

But that’s show busi­ness for you. Kruger is quick to point out that The Voice of­fers up not just vo­cal per­for­mances but per­sonal sto­ries that are touch­ing and com­pelling.

“There are so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple who show up to au­di­tion each year, and we have some in­cred­i­ble per­son­al­i­ties this sea­son,” she says.

“We have a woman from Iran, and in her coun­try it’s il­le­gal for a fe­male per­former to sing in pub­lic. She risked be­ing put in jail if she sang at home. So to pur­sue her dream, she has had to come to Aus­tralia.

“And we have a young guy named Adam, he’s 16, a lovely boy who has Tourette’s syn­drome. He has had se­vere tics for most of his life, but when he gets up on­stage and sings … well, you just have to see it.”

She’s quite the sales­per­son, that So­nia Kruger. (And she ad­mits with a laugh that she’s be­ing watched by a PR per­son im­plor­ing her not to re­veal too much about the con­tes­tants in this up­com­ing sea­son.)

Some­thing she can dis­cuss, how­ever, is The Voice’s line-up of coaches, which sees old favourites Delta Goodrem, Jessie J and the afore-men­tioned Joel and Benji Mad­den joined by a new face – Ir­ish pop star Ro­nan Keat­ing, well-known from his time on the judg­ing panel on a ri­val tal­ent quest, Seven’s The X Fac­tor.

“For me, the real sur­prise this year has been Ro­nan,” she says. “You’ll see in the first few episodes he strug­gles a lit­tle bit. It’s a new show for him, while the other coaches have their pitch­ing styles down pat.

“So it takes a lit­tle while for him to find his feet – and he ad­mit­ted to me, ‘This show is giv­ing me a com­plex!’ – but he’s very di­rect and he re­ally backs him­self. “

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