Louis Walsh on Ireland's Got Talent
By Michelle Newman
Ireland’s Got Talent hits screens next month and we caught up with judge Louis Walsh - the man who knows all things music – about what’s in store for the upcoming series.
Ireland’s Got Talent starts very which is exciting, how did the audition process go?
It’s just the most different talent show we’ve ever had because it’s modern, it’s contemporary; it’s not like an Irish talent show, if you know what I mean. We have some brilliant, brilliant people and it’s fun.
Were you impressed with the range and level of talent that we have in this country?
I was very impressed and we never knew what was going to walk in or what wasn’t going to walk in. It’s just so different.
Are there some surprise acts or dark horses that we can look forward to watching throughout the series?
There were some amazing, amazing contemporary dancers. There were a lot of comedians, lots of great singers, really great singers. We didn’t have too much diddley-eye Irish dancing because we were expecting an awful lot of that which was good. We had unusual trapeze acts and acrobats and all of that.
It’s a testament to the amount and variety of talent we have in this country.
The talent is out there and the characters are out there and they’re more interesting that in the UK because people tend to tell their lives stories when they come in.
Did the age range of those that auditioned surprise you at all?
I was surprised because there were an awful lot of people I had never heard of, just young, contemporary people. The dancing was just incredible, there was an awful lot of dancers from Dublin. There’s a lot to look forward to. It doesn’t look like anything you’ve ever seen on live television on Irish TV before, it’s different.
There are a lot of other types of talent shows out there, do you think Irish people still look forward to tuning in every week?
Ireland’s Got Talent will be on a Saturday so it doesn’t clash with any other shows so it’s good in that sense and TV3 have invested a lot of time and money in this show.
Do you think people will invest in their favourite acts like we’ve seen with other talent shows in the past?
Yes, because they’re from all around the country, north, south, east and west. Everybody has a golden buzzer as well and I think our golden buzzers are very different and very diverse, pretty interesting. I think Irish people like to watch Irish people entertaining them. We like to see people we know they’re from all around the country.
The panel is an interesting line-up too, with a great mix of personalities.
The panel absolutely work. Lucy [Kennedy] is great as a presenter, she’s and warm and good. We have Michelle [Visage] from America who’s just so different and it just works. The panel made it so easy for me because everybody gets on so, so well. It’s not predictable, everyone has an opinion on it. There’s good chemistry amongst us all and we’re not afraid to have an opinion.
The relationships between the judges on shows like these can often be as entertaining as the acts themselves …
We have to be because it’s a TV show and people have to invest in it because there’s so many different shows on at the moment. Every channel has a dancing show or a talent show or The Voice or The X Factor or something, so we have to up our game here.
You said recently that ‘it takes a very wise man to act the fool’ on shows like these; do you think the judges have a role or a part to play every week as well?
Totally! You can’t just sit there and be serious, you have to be entertaining, you have to say some silly things. It’s a TV show and you have to entertain.
Will someone take on Simon’s job of being the bad guy?
If anybody is it probably would be Denise Van Outen, because she’s very opinionated and she has done the singing and dancing and she’s done all these shows with Andrew Lloyd Webber and everybody. We didn’t make it happen it just happened. This panel just worked together, we’re not forcing anything it’s just natural.
Do you still get the same buzz from live TV as you did when you started?
Yeah, well this is the most exciting show I’ve worked on in Ireland because it’s different and the production values are just so high, it doesn’t look like an Irish talent show. It’s like an American or a European show. I think this is the first series of many.
You’re always busy and involved in something, do you do these shows for the love of it now more so than anything else?
Will every day is different you don’t know who’s going to walk in the door; are they going to be amazing, are they going to be crazy? You just don’t know, that’s the good thing about it.
What do you think people like to see in an entertainer nowadays, is there a certain quality that appeals to the masses?
Just something different and entertaining, somebody real and honest. A talent, be it singing or dancing or both. There’s too many magicians out there, I don’t love them they’re not great telly. It’s hard to get a comic as well.
After Ireland’s Got Talent, what else are you working on for the year?
I’ll be doing The X Factor, that’s the best show on the TV.
Ireland’s Got Talent will be on TV3 Saturday February, 3