LIMERICK’S Conor J Ryan sparked scenes of intense rivalry between the judges on RTÉ’s The Voice of Ireland on Sunday night.
The 20 year old performer - son of well known theatre veteran Richie and choreographer Susan - made history on the show, which has been drawing huge ratings, by causing all four judges to turn around and vie for his services.
Conor, who drew rave reviews for his performance alongside Pat Shortt in Garage several years ago, found himself the subject of effusive praise from judges Sharon Corr, Brian Kennedy, Kian Egan and Niall Breslin, after a startlingly composed performance of Etta James’ song At Last.
“It was a great feeling! I didn’t expect it going up, I was just intending to do my best and not expect too much - for the four of them to turn around, it was incredible,” Conor told the Limerick Chronicle afterward.
Conor is a very experienced performer despite his tender years, appearing on stage in musicals since the age of four and latterly drawing plaudits as front man with local rock band Better Than You, so he had plenty of experience to draw on and hold his nerve in front of the judges.
“That was one of the hardest things. When you are up there in front of the audience and the you can only see the back of the chairs, you just have to keep your nerve,” he explained.
“I just got myself in the zone before I went on stage and I sang the song the night before at a gig so I just pretended I was at a gig again and just did what I could,” he added.
Conor decided to select Brian Kennedy as his coach, forgoing the opportunity to work with the Westlife’s Kian or Sharon Corr.
“I think it was what he said to me about expanding my repertoire and I am big believer in learning new songs and learning as much as you possibly can. I really believed him when he said it,” Conor explained.
He will now go on to the battle stages of the show, joining local girl Lesley-Ann Halvey and Bunratty’s Gari Deegan, a DJ with Spin South West, in the next round.