A fiery performance of Aretha Franklin’s classic belter Respect has secured Canberra’s Halimah Kyrgios a spot in the next round of The Voice.
The 31-year-old was the first artist to score a slot in British powerhouse Rita Ora’s top five.
Rita said that “Halimah has so much to give” and that she could “literally see a monster inside of her waiting to break free” before ultimately selecting her for her team.
Halimah was ecstatic and said she was thrilled to have been selected.
“I’m just so excited to have more moments of coming out of that shell.”
She was also keen to continue working more and more closely with Rita throughout the competition.
“What an opportunity,” she said.
In a video posted to her Instagram story, Halimah said she was reeling after the decision and had not expected to get through when pitted against her fellow performers.
“The other two girls had a different style and were completely in their own zone,” she said.
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She also had found herself questioning whether she needed to change her own style to be more like the others.
“And then, wow, that was just crazy,” Halimah said.
Before her performance, Halimah admitted to feeling nervous, having “never done anything like this before”.
This year, a total of 51 artists had to be whittled down to just 20 – five for each of the teams.
Rita’s team was large to begin with, and she said she had been feeling “overwhelmed” when faced with the task of cutting the group down to such a small number.
The artists were grouped based on a theme and then given the same song to sing. Halimah was up against 28-year-old Irena Lysiuk and 45-year-old Rebecca O’Connor – all artists Rita had described as “trying to find themselves”.
She chose Respect for the three artists, but encouraged them to “have fun with it and do it in your own way”.
The other acts through to Team Rita are the all-dancing, all-singing girl band G-Nation, Sofia Watt, Tanya George and Sian Fuller.
Halimah has previously spoken about how her famous last name could be both a blessing and a curse. She was encouraged to enter The Voice after finding herself back in Canberra when her performing work dried up overseas.
With much of the country in lockdown, this year’s season of The Voice has been a ratings juggernaut. Sunday’s episode was the second most-watched show of the week, with 1.226 million Australian viewers tuning in.
The Voice Australia continues Sundays at 7:00 pm, and Mondays and Tuesdays from 7:30 pm on Channel 7.