LIMERICK singer Aoife McLoughlin, who qualified for the final group of ten in Sundayâ€™s Voice of Ireland show, has admitted her win was â€œbittersweetâ€, coming as it did at the expense of fellow contestant Tammy Browne.
The two Limerick contestants - Aoife, 29, from Dooradoyle and Tammy, a 30-year-old native of Newbridge who lives in Castletroy - were forced to battle it out against each other to survive in the high profile television show last Sunday.
Both singers were members of judge Sharon Corrâ€™s team, and had built up a friendship throughout the show, which made it difficult to square off against each other.
Aoife, singing Alicia Keysâ€™ Girl On Fire, was ultimately the winner, qualifying at Tammyâ€™s expense, who was eliminated.
Charlevilleâ€™s Keith Hanley, who is a member of judge Jameliaâ€™s team, also qualified for the closing stages of the song competition, which finishes in three weeks.
Aoife, a journalism student in UL, said she was â€œsorry to see Tammy leave the competitionâ€, which is one of the top rated shows on television.
â€œIt was really unfortunate because we were up against each other and we really got on very well, it was very bittersweet,â€ said Aoife.
â€œShe is such a wonderful lady, so humble and graceful and was a massive amount of support to me all week. We had a ball, there was no competition there whatsoever, we said that we would give it our all, but I was really sorry to see her go.â€
Aoife remarked that she is now the oldest competitor left to fight it out for the Voice title, and will turn 30 years of age just a week after the show finishes.
â€œI think I am actually the oldest in the competition,â€ she laughed. â€œIt would be a fantastic 30th birthday present if I was to win, I wouldnâ€™t mind that at all and I would invite everyone to the party!â€
The singer said the song selection pushed her â€œoutside her comfort zoneâ€ - one more closely associated with her spine-tingling first performance of the Nancy Sinatra classic Bang Bang in her first audition.
â€œWe looked at a few different options and I fall back into my safety mode, but I had mentioned that I liked Alicia Keys. I hadnâ€™t heard it and when we listened to it, I thought it was fantastic,â€ she said.
â€œIt was out of my comfort zone but I decided to give it a whirl and see what happened.â€
She now looks ahead to Sundayâ€™s show with a view to staying in the competition, and is â€œnervous but excitedâ€ and hoping for more support from Limerick.
â€œI have gotten so much support from Limerick and beyond, I am getting feedback from different parts of the country and I am really overwhelmed by it to be honest. I am actually starting to believe that I can hold a tune,â€ she laughed.