jessica mauboy

Thank You Jessica Mauboy For Being A Shining Ray Of Light On ‘The Voice’

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I’ll be the first to admit I don’t usually watch The Voice.

Growing up in the ’00s, I’ve already lived the peak heyday of talent audition shows like Australian Idol, and in a world where reality shows are pumped out endlessly, it’s safe to say there’s an oversaturation of reality in this current TV era.

However, since the Covid-19 pandemic started and with Australian cities being in and out of lockdown, I found myself enjoying my nightly 7pm dinner and episode of Home and Away. It was nostalgic of my childhood, visiting my Nonna’s house and eating fish and chips and watching the Summer Bay stalker storyline unfold in the ’00s. Except this time, I’m 30, locked inside, trying to eat my vegetables, and unable to visit my Nonna or family.

This segue is all to explain how I’ve started accidentally watching the Blind Auditions of The Voice, which starts straight after Home and Away. Originally airing on Channel Nine, the series was picked up by Channel Seven for 2021 with Australian Idol favourites Guy Sebastian and Jessica Mauboy, joined by Keith Urban and Rita Ora on the judging panel.

The Blind Auditions are arguably the best part of the series, with people from all walks of life singing to the back of the judges’ chairs in the hopes they’ll spin around and offer them a place on their team. And the talent that appears on the show is next level – while The Voice hasn’t necessarily launched too many well-known artists into the Australian music scene with the power of Australian Idol back in the day, that’s not because of lack of talent.

15 years ago we watched Jessica Mauboy audition on Australian Idol, a 16-year-old from Darwin who captivated us all with her rendition of Whitney Houston’s ‘I have Nothing’ in the Australian Outback. From there, she was a fan favourite with her endless joy, enthusiasm, and beaming smile.

After finishing Australian Idol as runner-up to Damien Leith, over the last decade Jessica has been a staple figure in the Australian music community, from the mid-late ’00s as a solo artist and as part of girl group Young Divas, to representing Australian on the Eurovision stage in 2018. She’s also branched out into acting, in leading roles in The Sapphires and The Secret Daughter. She even appeared on an episode of Home and Away at some stage playing herself. It’s fair to say she may be one of the hardest working women in the Australian music industry.

Now working as a coach and mentor on The Voice 2021, Jessica has breathed her trademark energy into the show, in a way that brightens not only the audition arena but which carries into the loungerooms of many Aussies watching at home. In a topsy-turvy world where the majority of us have been affected by the pandemic, it’s a refreshing break from the exhausting and depressing news cycle.

For a few hours each week, we can watch performers sing the songs they love, and Jessica Mauboy enthusiastically cheer them on from her chair, dancing, laughing, and sometimes crying.

Wearing her heart on her sleeve and with a contagious smile, Jessica’s brought a wholesome vibe into a drama-free reality show, a vibe that’s been lost over the years with more reality shows turning to forced drama and chaos to captivate audiences. Her camaraderie with fellow judges Keith, Guy, and Rita is also easy and effortless, each judge charismatic in their own way. Their support for each other and the contestants doesn’t come across as forced – they all seem to genuinely enjoy being there, and it translates onto our screens.

Jessica has also been highly praised by her fellow judges for her ability to create a positive environment while also being a threat as a judge. Keith Urban said he’d even fallen under Jessica’s spell so much he was convinced he was also on ‘Team Jess’.

Right now, The Voice is obviously doing something right. The show premiered to its largest audience in five years, beating out The Block and Survivor. Whether it keeps up momentum after the Blind Auditions or not, one thing we know for a fact is that it’s a blessing to have Jessica Mauboy lighting up our screens and dancing away during these trying times.