Kylie's spinning around

SARAH THOMAS
Last updated 05:00 07/06/2014
ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff.co.nz

Host of The Voice Australia Darren McMullen talks about the show, and his own ambitions.

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Kylie Minogue is in something of a unique position as she settles down to chat about her latest project, The Voice.

Sitting in Sydney's Fox Studios, the singer was preparing for her time in the red chair as the latest coach in the Australian incarnation of the hit reality series, but was already doing the same job in the British version.

"It's the same show," she says of the The Voice Australia. "But obviously it's done slightly differently. For a start, the chairs spin the other way."

Jokes aside, straddling the two shows across two time zones and facing two sets of contestants and fellow coaches, and with both versions at different stages, is a tall order indeed.

But if anything, the experience has given Minogue a special insight into how the show works and that is something she is looking forward to bringing to Australia.

"It wasn't a no-brainer," she says about signing up for the Australian season. "I had just started in England and I wasn't mentally to the point where I knew what I was doing yet, but something within me said, 'In for a penny, in for a pound, let's do it'. I might as well use the experience in the UK to come here, and it's great to come home, of course."

Even without the British Voice in her resume, Minogue has the ultimate credentials to coach would-be singers alongside returning coaches Joel Madden and Ricky Martin, and fellow newcomer will.i.am.

With a career spanning almost three decades, global album sales north of 70 million, a dozen world tours and more than a passing insight into the intensity of a life in the spotlight, she has plenty of good advice - learnt the hard way - for her aspiring charges.

One thing is not to over-perform. "I fell prey to that in the beginning," Minogue says. "I didn't know what I was doing. I just kept leaping around... dancing all the time, singing, dancing, cartwheels, just keeping moving (waves her arms around).

"And at one point I learnt that less can be more, to choose the moments and peaks in a song and take people on that journey."

On The Voice UK, alongside coaches Tom Jones, will.i.am and Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson, critics gushed over "the Kylie effect", saying she single-handedly revived the show, drawing in an extra two million viewers with her "addictive" personality, some outrageous flirting with contestants and belting out great performances of her own, too.

The Voice UK eventually ended with low audience numbers and Minogue has said she will not return next year, but even while it was still running, Minogue said whatever happened, her experience in the chair would form her coaching style.

"I was very nervous at the start of the show, which is a good thing to tell my acts, as well. We don't just roll in. This is a new experience for me sitting in the seat. No one has given me a guidebook. I'm just trying to
find my way."

The biggest thing she offers is her "overall experience" and her support.

Minogue says the latter is of vital importance in tackling anxieties felt by all artists.

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"I think an integral part of being a performer is insecurity, and I certainly still have my share.

"You want to do the right song, you want to get everything right, you want to perform at the best
that you can.

"Performance is not a scientific formula. It depends how you're feeling, where you are in your day, in your life, what the audience is like, what the conditions are like with so many different factors, and there is no right or wrong.

"It's not a scientific equation, so any performer has those (anxieties). It's normal. When I was younger no one really addressed that with me and I thought it was just me, but actually it's everyone.

"So any morsels of wisdom that I've gained over the years, it's interesting when there are moments to pass that on to our acts.

"It's rewarding because I think, 'Oh, I didn't know that was ever going to come in handy beyond for me', and it might be something that's very small but it can have a big impact on someone."

Minogue is conscious of holding contestants' futures in her hands, but adds that while saying
no is tough it isn't the end of the world.

"If they don't go through, the great thing is each coach on the panel can say we've all had setbacks.

"Even if they don't get through, they've been taken really good care of and they've got stacks more experience than when they stepped through the door."

-The TV Guide

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