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Bressie's in the hotseat in search for the Voice

HERE'S the first picture of RTE mentor Niall Breslin on the set of new talent search contest The Voice of Ireland.

Hailed as the national broadcaster's answer to The X Factor, filming got under way for the first time earlier this week as the four coaches got to grips with their new roles.

And in keeping with the international format for the show, which has proved to be a huge success in the States, RTE have decided to bring in the distinctive Mastermind-style red chairs, complete with buzzers.

Occupying the hotseats alongside former Blizzards star Niall will be celebrity mentors Brian Kennedy, Sharon Corr and Kian Egan.

Kathryn Thomas (right) will present with Eoghan McDermott.

Speaking for the first time about the show, celebrity mentor Brian revealed to the Herald that he was confident there was going to be some stellar talent found in Ireland.

"I'm very excited about it. It's something I've not done before and I'm really looking forward to it," he said.

The first round of 'blind' auditions took place in the Helix in DCU earlier this week as dozens of aspiring singers tried to wow the judges, who do not turn to face the contestants until they have sung.

The big-budget production will hit our TV screens next January on RTE 1.