When you are watching any show which has judges and a studio audience, there are some things you don’t see. The lighting is focused for TV viewing, and what you miss in the dimly light space outside the spotlight are anxious friends and relatives. This was never truer than when Tommy, Laura and I headed to Fox Studio’s for Lyn Bowtell’s blind audition for The Voice.
Having been well versed by the lovely staff that it would be at least a 6 hour filming in the studio, we came prepared. Laura and I had so much snack food in our handbags, we could have opened a school canteen. We need not have worried though because during the course of the taping the crew delivered us water, pizza shapes and a Bertie Beetle show bag. It doesn’t get better than that.
With instructions from our lovely warm up comedian, we made sure that we kept our myriad of snacks, stashed under our seats so they wouldn’t end up in a live shot or become a safety hazard.
We waited with bated breath for Lyn to take her turn on stage. There was nail-biting and stress eating….and that was just me. We cheered equally loudly for everyone as we knew all the people seated around us were just as nervous as we were for their own loved one. Then finally the doors flung open and I saw a glimpse of a beautiful floral skirt which I knew was Lyn’s and it was time.
I grabbed Tommy’s knee so hard that I almost cut off his circulation, it was about that time I think he began to regret the seating configuration. Lyn stepped on stage with her beautiful Cole Clark guitar and as soon as she sang her first note we all smiled. Her audition song was Fields of Gold, which we all know is a song she sings for her late father.
We were less than 30 seconds in, when Boy George spun his chair around. We naturally leaped to our feet. I’m an emotional girl, so I was already crying but as we stood I felt this spray of water like someone had turned on a sprinkler. We didn’t even have time to think about what that was before Kelly and Delta both spun around. We watched as Seal hovered over his red button and I am thankful there were no microphones in audience, as all they would have heard is us screaming “COME ON” at Seal at pain threshold levels, like we were at a rodeo.
By the time Lyn had finished speaking with the judges and as everyone now knows chose to go with Boy George, we had discovered what had happened. As we all stood up, our seats flew up underneath us and Laura had slammed the heel of her boot straight through a full bottle of water which sprayed 4 rows of the audience around us. By this time we were all laughing and trying to apologise to everyone around us, and then I would intermittently start sobbing again to the point where at least 3 total strangers had passed tissues over the seats for me. Tommy was as excited for Lyn as we were, but much more measured and way less embarrassing.
As all of Australia now knows Lyn made it through the knock out round with a stunning rendition of Let it Be and tonight she heads into the Battles. But behind the lights, the cameras and the beautiful smile, there is another battle that no one will get to see. The entire way through this process Lyn has been in excruciating and debilitating pain.
Few people know this as Lyn puts on a brave face. Lots of people made comment about the emotional interview that Lyn did just before her Blind Audition, where she spoke about her Dad. The day that interview was filmed Lyn was hospitalised when an ovarian cyst ruptured. Not wanting to let anyone down, though for her health she should have taken things easy, after she was discharged she went on to do 4 performances, a packed media schedule and win three awards, before being hospitalised again a week later.
The invidious choice she faces is between being able to sing, or trying to control her pain with prescribed nerve blockers which badly affect her speech and coordination. The fact that she has been able to achieve all that she has this year, despite having been hospitalised five times for this condition (musculoskeletal pelvic nerve pain syndrome) is a testament to her strength and determination in facing a very difficult and challenging set of circumstances.
The week before Lyn’s Blind Audition aired and the 1.5 million people got to fall in love with her, the way we all did the first time we heard her sing, the kid and I got to share in a magical moment. On a camping trip to celebrate Lyn’s birthday, the sun had gone down and the guitars had come out. The bonfire roared as my little one drifted off to sleep in my arms. A thousand stars above us and in the still of the night the last thing she would have heard was Lyn and long time friend Andy Toombs singing “Stand by me”. Life doesn’t get better than that moment.
I wanted to wish Lyn luck in the Battle round tonight and the battle she continues to fight on a daily basis. Our world is brighter for knowing you.
Mel Murray 28/05/2017