A 16 year old Limavady schoolgirl is to make her national TV debut on Saturday night when she hopes to wow the judges on the flagship BBC series ‘The Voice’.
Rachael O’Connor will be hoping to impress musical legends Tom Jones, Will.I.am, Kylie Minogue and Kaiser Chief’s frontman Ricky Wilson with her peformance of Emeli Sande’s breathtaking ballad ‘Clown’.
“It has been crazy,” the Limavady Grammar pupil said. “I did my first audition, when producers from the show came to our school, just after I did my Biology GCSE last year.”
Rachael then went on to combine the audition process with starring as Sandy in the youth production of Grease at the Millennium Forum during the summer holidays.
“When I did Grease in thd Forum, I thought ‘Wow, this is as big as it can get’ - and then just months later I was singing in front of Kylie and Tom Jones.”
It’s hard to believe that before that, Rachael had appeared only in community productions and school shows. Now she said she can hardly believe she has made it in front of national audience on prime time TV.
“It’s just the biggest thing ever - getting the chance to sing in front of four major music idols.”
At 16 Rachael is one of the youngest contestants on the show - but she said her age has not gone against her. “There are a number of 16 year olds in the show - some who have already been shown - and it has been lovely getting to know them and sharing the experience.
“All the judges have been really nice and really encouraging. Unlike some shows, there is just no nastiness about them.”
The A Level student said she is still “quite shy” but with each stage of the TV show she has become more confident.
When it came to choosing the song for her blind audition she said there was simply no choice. “I first heard Emeli Sande sing ‘Clown’ probably about this time last year and I just started singing along. I recorded a video and put it on Facebook and the response was really good.
“So I suppose every time I’m asked to sing a song, it’s that one. It has kind of become my song.”
Although sworn to secrecy about the outcome of Saturday night’s blind audition. Rachael said it was a “hugely positive” experience.
“I have friends and family coming to see the show on Saturday night but I’ll be cringing the whole way throught it,” she said “I’ve seen the little trailer that the BBC have released and all you can hear is my daddy shouting. I’ll be hiding behind a cushion watching it!”
The Voice is on BBC One on Saturday night at. 7.10pm.