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Pat Byrne Wins The Voice of Ireland
Pat Byrne has emerged as the winner of the inaugural Voice of Ireland competition.
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 29 Apr 2012
On a tense and frequently emotional final night, Carlow man Byrne – who was coached through the competition by former Blizzards frontman Bressie – prevailed, leaving the diminutive Richie Hayes in second place. Byrne performed Bruce Springsteen's 'The River', which had been his blind audition song, and carried the night with what was a fine performance of a characteristically big Springsteen opus.
First to be eliminated on the night was Jim Devine, who was coached by Westlife's Kian Egan. He was followed into the departure lounge by Vanessa Whelan, who was coached by Sharon Corr.
Richie Hayes performed an excellent version of 'What About Me?' – a track originally recorded by the Australian band Moving Pictures. The tension was extraordinary as the final results of the public vote were awaited – but it was the red-haired Byrne who came through in the end.
The affection which had built up during the competition between the finalists was obvious, despite the inevitability that three out of four would be disappointed.
"The process is a very strange one," an RTE insider commented. "I found it very draining because the emotions were so strong – but in the end the guy with the biggest voice, and with the most chance of becoming a bona fide star, won."
Pat Byrne was the favourite going into the final. His single 'What A Wonderful World' hit the Irish singles charts at No.3 this week – suggesting a groundswell of support that would be hard for the other finalists to match. Next in line in chart terms was Richie Hayes, whose single 'One Voice' was at No.23 – a gap in instant popularity that seemed too big to bridge on the night. And so it proved.
"There was a slight sense of anti-climax as a result," the RTE observer reflected. "But I still thought it was a very good end to what was a very popular programme for the station. I'd be very surprised if we didn't do it again next year."
While the big bad world of showbiz is a tough one, Byrne clearly has the potential to make a career in music. He started playing at the age of eight, when he joined a marching band and took up drums, and for the past five years has been earning his crust singing in pubs around the country.