It was a bittersweet episode of RTÉ’s The Voice of Ireland for the Banner County as Sarah McTernan advanced to the quarter-finals while Kate Purcell was eliminated from the contest.
Labelled as one of the strong contenders to take the title, twenty one year old Sarah McTernan stormed through to the quarter-finals after doing a rendition of Ella Henderson’s ‘Ghosts’.
Orginally from Scariff, Sarah expressed her delight to be working with Rachel Stevens. “It’s really nice being on Team Rachel, she has a lot of advice for me. I feel like I really need to work hard and push myself and settle the nerves so my singing doesn’t get affected”.
Sarah received contrasting views from the mentors in relation to her singing but they were all unanimously praiseworthy when it came to the styling of the Penneys Employee. Westlife’s Kian Egan had some constructive criticism for McTernan. “Your timing at the start was a little bumpy. You have a fantastic voice and potential to go very far in this competition. Tonight you overcooked that song a little for me and you just need to hold back and get into the song. It was good, it wasn’t amazing but it could have been”.
Equally former frontman of The Blizzards, Niall ‘Bressie’ Breslin offered Sarah a number of points in order to improve on her performance. “One of the important things with a song like that isn’t just the melody and staying in pitch, it’s the flow of, the phrasing of the vocal and it sounded awkward especially when the beat kicked in, it sounded like you were almost falling over the words.
“When you started lifting and building up your lungs you were amazing and brilliant, so start concentrating on what you’re good at but work on those things because the timing wasn’t strong for that type of song”.
Rachel Stevens outlined her delight with her act. “You look gorgeous, you have got an amazing voice and I’m really proud of you because your confidence is growing every week”. The Saturdays’ Una Foden echoed Stevens’ praise. “You’ve got a very unique voice but one that I really love”.
In the end Stevens opted to send Sarah through ahead of Galway’s Paul Murphy and Maynooth man Cian O’Melia as she believed McTernan was the one that she could work with and grow as the competition progresses.
Feakle native Kate Purcell fell victim to the live knockouts when her coach Kian Egan opted to send nineteen year old Fionn Gardiner through to the quarter-finals at both her and Pat Fitz’ expense.
Prior to Kate’s live performance, Egan stated why he wanted to have the Clare woman on his team. “I turned for Kate in the Blind Auditions because she’s a great singer and you can tell she’s a seasoned performer”.
In the Battle stage of the competition, Purcell’s song choice of ‘Torn’ was criticised by the coaches. In advance of the live shows, Kate was determined to prove the judges wrong for their remarks. “I do feel I’ve a lot to prove, I want to prove to Kian that I can sing pretty much anything that is thrown at me”.
Purcell performed ‘Sweet About Me’ by Gabriella Cilmi and according to Bressie it was the wrong song choice. “That song was a groove-based reggae kind of song and it is a repetitive melody that in this time doesn’t really get to show you off. I know the type of song that you would blow the roof off with and I’d love to hear you sing that song”.
Una Foden praised the Dromoland Resident singer for her vocals. “You’re an incredible singer and you were giving it socks tonight because you were more comfortable, you’ve got a lovely voice”.
Former S Club 7 member Rachel Stevens believed that more was required from Purcell at this stage in the show. “At this point in the competition it was a good performance but at this point it has to be a great performance”.
Coach to Kate Purcell, Kian Egan felt that it was her best performance whilst on the RTÉ Talent Show. “I think you came out here and redeemed yourself hugely. The battles weren’t great; the blind auditions were very strong, tonight it’s the best we’ve seen from you. You’ve done a great job.
A return to The Helix is on the cards for Sarah McTernan as she prepares for the quarter-finals, with a large Clare contingent getting behind the Banner’s only remaining contestant. While Kate Purcell’s time on the show has come to an end, it certainly won’t be the last we hear of the gifted singer/songwriter.
Check out the performances of the two Clare women and some of the reaction.