THE first round of filming on The Voice Of Ireland will begin in three weeks after more than 120 aspiring stars were selected for RTE's new show.
Hundreds of wannabes applied to appear on the big-budget production with the successful applicants now whittled down to the very best crooners.
The Herald can reveal that the 'blind' auditions will take place in the Helix in DCU as they vie to win over the judges with their voice alone.
"There was a massive amount of interest in the competition but producers wanted to keep the talent level really strong and only put through people that they genuinely thought were great and had a chance of going further," said a source.
Filming will start this month but it won't be shown on RTE until the New Year when it's expected to be one of its season's highlights.
Hosted by Kathryn Thomas and Eoghan McDermott, putting the singers through their paces will be Sharon Corr, Niall Breslin, Kian Egan and Brian Kennedy.
One of the stipulations to be a coach was they had to have proved themselves as a seasoned performer and be able to provide invaluable advice to their chosen acts as they mentor them through the competition.
That means that all of them will be expected to take to the stage at some point in the contest and perform with their individual acts, following in the footsteps of the American version of the popular show.
The closing date for applications was September 19 and the successful candidates were called back to take part in closed auditions in Dublin.
Consisting of three phases, namely a 'blind' audition, a singing battle and the live performance shows, the winner of The Voice Of Ireland will bag a recording contract with Universal Music.
Based on the international format that originated with Endemol in Holland, it has already been a massive hit in the US pulling in millions of viewers who have gobbled up the fresh twist on the talent show format.