RTE pins hopes on La Toya Jackson as 'Voice' judge
RTE is in advanced negotiations with US singer La Toya Jackson to be a judge on the biggest talent show it has ever produced.
'The Voice Of Ireland' comes to Irish screens early next year after causing a sensation on US and Dutch TV.
The key to the format is that the four judges sit with their backs to the contestants during auditions so they can only hear their voices.
Launched in Dublin yesterday, only the main presenter Kathryn Thomas and backstage reporter Eoghan McDermott had been unveiled as part of the line-up.
However, the Irish Independent has learnt that producers are in negotiations with Jackson, the sister of late singing superstar Michael Jackson, for a mentoring role.
"The Jackson family are royalty when it comes to the music business. More importantly, La Toya has experience of the recording industry outside of Ireland; she has been signed to every major label. But most importantly she is a singer herself," a source said.
"Even though she's based in the US, it will be possible for La Toya to complete filming because the series will be shot in phases. But she will have to spend the last couple of months in Ireland for the live show," added the insider.
RTE is expected to announce the three other judges for the panel later in the autumn.
Meanwhile, host Kathryn Thomas revealed yesterday she had been on holiday in Ibiza last week when she received the call from RTE saying she had won the role of main presenter on the series.
"I was on the beach reading a book. There had been talk of having two main presenters but RTE told me I was doing it on my own. This is the biggest thing I have ever done. Three or four years ago I wouldn't have been ready for it, but now I am," said Thomas, who will host the live shows from The Helix in Dublin.