Although her well-known younger brother, tennis bad-boy Nick Kyrgios did make an appearance via Zoom, when Halimah Kyrgios took to The Voice Australia stage, all eyes were on her.
Well, given the show’s format, where contestants perform their audition ‘blind’ with the judges’ backs to them – spoiler alert – all eyes were on her after the four judges turned.
With a stunning performance of Tina Arena’s Chains, Halimah had her pick of Rita Ora, Jessica Mauboy, Guy Sebastian and Keith Urban as coaches. She eventually settled on Rita Ora, although she says the decision wasn’t the easiest.
Originally, she had considered picking Jessica Mauboy as her coach because she likes her singing style, but after more consideration, she decided Rita Ora would be better placed to help her transition from musical theatre to commercial music as she has done it herself.
Then, there’s Rita’s sassy and bubbly personality, says Halimah.
“I was definitely starstruck in that moment. She’s sassy, she’s cool, she’s talented and she connects really well with her audience,” Halimah explained.
The 31-year-old has spent most of her recent time overseas, but came back to Canberra to enjoy family time after wrapping up her performance in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Starlight Express in Germany.
“All musical theatre was pretty much put on hold, so I was left with the dilemma of ‘what do I do now?'” she said.
When the opportunity to audition for the reality show came up, a friend and fellow competitor encouraged her to go for it.
Given her extensive experience performing overseas for huge crowds, Halimah wasn’t expecting to find the audition as nerve-wracking as it was.
“It was probably one of the most special, but also one of the scariest things I’ve done in my life. It felt like there was a lot on the line, so there were a lot of nerves.”
She attributes this partly to the exposure she knew she was going to get from the show.
“With people in lockdown, the show is currently getting massive exposure as they are literally all glued to their screens half the time.
“The ratings have been going through the roof, which does make me pretty nervous, and it was interesting being in a room with other artists who are all experiencing the same thing, which heightened the nerves for me.”
However, Halimah says that once she was on stage, she had a kind of tunnel vision experience and was really trying to focus on singing, rather than watching the chairs.
“I was just singing and praying that something was going to move.”
Then, there’s the matter of her rather well-known brother which, says Halimah, can be both a blessing and a curse.
“People have their opinions on Nick, whether they are positive or negative, but I really wanted my talent to stand alone and those opinions or ideas not to impact on how I was viewed.
“We are completely different people.”
Halimah added that Nick is really excited to see his older sister performing and loves watching the show.
But it was another family connection that led to Halimah’s choice of song for her blind audition.
“It’s one of my mum’s favourite songs. She’d play it all the time when I was younger, while she was cleaning or while we were driving somewhere.
“Tina Arena is also a massive inspiration with such a massive, clean tone,” Halimah said.
The Voice continues on Sunday at 7:00 pm on Prime7.