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EIRE'S LOOKING AT YOU KIRILEE! Welsh mum wows Irish in the Voice.

Byline: BRENDAN HUGHES brendan.hughes@walesonline.co.uk

SHE'S wowed celebrity judges to the extent that she's an early front runner to be crowned the Voice of Ireland.

Just one thing: Kirilee Dermott is Welsh.

Kirilee received universal praise for her powerful rendition of Etta James' Rather Go Blind after auditioning for the Irish version of hit singing show The Voice.

The mum-of-two sailed through to the second round of the contest, which features celebrity coaches Kian Egan from Westlife, British popstar Jamelia, Sharon Corr from The Corrs and Irish heart-throb Bressie.

Kirilee, 34, will now compete in the show's battle stages, going head-to-head with another contestant in a bid to win a place in the live finals.

Jamelia, Kian and Bressie swivelled their big red chairs to give their seal of approval during Kirilee's blind audition after being impressed by her "perfect" vocals.

Westlife's Kian said: "You have such a smooth voice. It was just effortless and that's what we're always looking for."

And Jamelia said: "Your vocals were spot-on. I need you on my team. The person I was waiting on was you, genuinely."

Single mum Kirilee, who is originally from Boncath, near Cardigan, and has lived in Ireland for 14 years, said she was overwhelmed by the response to her performance.

The brunette beauty said: "I was actually crying when I watched it back. The whole experience was absolutely amazing.

"Music has run in my family and I have always wanted to be a singer. I have to be on stage - I'm just one of those mad people."

But Kirilee's audition on The Voice of Ireland, which was broadcast last Sunday, is not her only connection with TV talent programmes.

Her uncle, composer Tony Hatch, was a judge on New Faces - one of the UK's first talent show formats during the 1970s and 1980s.

And Kirilee said she has auditioned for The X Factor almost every year since was 26, but has never progressed past the untelevised rounds in front of the show's producers.

She said: "Everybody is so supportive. They can't believe I got through this audition after trying for so many years."

Kirilee works as a professional singer, performing at pubs, clubs and weddings across Ireland, where she lives with her two sons, Rhys McGrath, 10, and Saul McGrath, nine.

Kirilee, who was born in Essex and moved to Wales at the age of six, chose to join Irish singer Bressie's team of contestants for the show.

Speaking about her audition on the show, Bressie said: "It was perfect. It was absolutely on the money. I think you are going to be absolutely amazing at a battle."

Kirilee said: "Before I went on stage I cried my eyes out because my boys went into a separate room to watch me on the telly. But I got up there and did my thing. As soon as that first note came out, I was relaxed. I had to keep it together then because they turned early."

Kirilee said watching her audition back last Sunday evening was emotional as it was the first time her mum, Lynne Shaw, 58, who lives in Boncath, had seen her in two years.

Kirilee said: "I'm even bursting into tears now because I miss my mum so much and all I want is to give her a hug."

Kirilee said the show's battle rounds, which have yet to be filmed, would be tough.

She said: "Everybody is super talented. Whoever I go up against, I think we're all on a par so whatever happens, happens. I have just got to do my best."

To watch Kirilee's audition on The Voice of Ireland go to WalesOnline .co.uk

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Kirilee Dermott has impressed star judges on The Voice of Ireland
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Feb 3, 2013
Words:628
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