Grainne's must prove she has the 'X factor' to host new show
Published 15/07/2011 | 05:00
NOW it's Grainne Seoige's turn to show that she has that all-important 'X factor'.
For three series of the 'All Ireland Talent Show' she watched as contestants faced their fears in front of a panel of judges. But the Galway-born TV presenter could be the one forgetting her words and 'going blank' next week when she screen tests to host the biggest talent show ever staged by RTE.
And insiders say she will have to overcome her reputation as an ice queen if she is to secure the coveted gig.
Earlier this year, the Irish Independent revealed a new reality series called 'The Voice Of Ireland' was set to replace the 'All Ireland Talent Show'.
The panel she will face will include the Dutch owners of 'The Voice' format who, it is understood, are unaware of her status in Ireland.
A perceived "lack of empathy" with contestants is among the hurdles to be overcome by the Gaelgeoir. Raising the stakes even higher are reports claiming Seoige had already been signed up to anchor the reality series. These were last night described by RTE sources as "wide of the mark" and "potentially damaging" to the star.
"If Grainne Seoige is automatically the presenter of 'The Voice Of Ireland', why is she being screen tested?" an RTE source told the Irish Independent.
"Seven presenters are being called in to audition, of which Seoige is one. Should she not get the job, these kind of reports could be potentially very damaging."
It is understood the mother-of-one's profile as host of 'The All Ireland Talent Show' may not help secure the new role.
"Grainne was a very good newsreader but there's still a big question over whether she can empathise with contestants," the source added. "Could she put her arm around an upset auditionee in the way someone like Derek Mooney could?"
The show takes its name from an audition process where judges sit with their backs to the contestants so they only hear their voices.
'The Voice Of Ireland', which will be made by independent production company Screentime ShinAwil, is due to air on RTE1 in either December or January. While Screentime ShinAwil declined to comment on Seoige's chances, MD Larry Bass said his company had been inundated by calls from people seeking work on the series.
"There must be a lot of out-of- work TV presenters because my phone hasn't stopped ringing in the last 24 hours," Mr Bass said. "But not just presenters, people who want to work on every aspect of the show."
Yesterday it emerged ITV executive Ian Rumsey, who headhunted Seoige to appear on 'Daybreak', was stepping down from his role because of poor ratings.
Tweeting her followers earlier this week, Seoige, who has the title of features editor on the programme, said she would be off ITV for a few weeks in order to "film a project in Ireland" which is understood to be a documentary series for RTE.
Last month the Irish Independent revealed Commitments' singer Andrew Strong was in discussions to be a judge on 'The Voice Of Ireland'.
In the US, Christina Aguilera, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, rapper Cee Lo Green and country singer Blake Shelton were the panellists on the first series of 'The Voice'. A second series will kick off next February.