Tuesday 19 February 2019

'I'm too Irish to be a nasty judge', says comic Jason

Jason Byrne with fellow judges Denise van Outen (left) and Michelle Visage, and presenter
Lucy Kennedy. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Jason Byrne with fellow judges Denise van Outen (left) and Michelle Visage, and presenter Lucy Kennedy. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Jason, Denise and Michelle with fourth judge Louis Walsh. Photo: Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX

Comedian Jason Byrne has said he doesn't think he has enough chutzpah to be the nasty judge on Ireland's Got Talent.

Jason will join Denise van Outen, Michelle Visage and Louis Walsh on TV3's Saturday night entertainment show.

"As an Irish judge, it is very hard to be honest," he told the Herald.

"I mean it was hard for me. I said yeah a lot when I meant no."

Frequently, the parents of young dance troupes would be sitting directly behind the judges, he said.

"You could hear them saying, 'You better pick my young one!' I'm telling you! They could practically touch you."


This Saturday night, TV3 will air the first episode of the talent show.

It is the most expensive production that the station has ever commissioned and is being pitted as a rival to RTE's Dancing With The Stars (DWTS).

Already, there has been quite a war of words between DWTS producer Larry Bass and Walsh.

Walsh has criticised DWTS, saying it lacked any actual celebrities, and suggested RTE should rename the series "Dancing With The Staff".

In response, Bass said he was looking forward to watching Walsh "die on TV" and added that talent shows cannot sustain themselves here, as the pool of performers is too small.

However, Ireland's Got Talent producer Shane Byrne doesn't seem fazed by Bass's comments.

Shane, who has worked on The X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing, Britain's Got Talent and Blind Date, believes Ireland's Got Talent will be a sexier and snappier show than DWTS.

"I think Dancing With The Stars is a great show, I really do. But I do think it's a shame they don't have a live band," he said.

As a result, he said, the programme sometimes ran the risk of feeling like a dress rehearsal.

However, he added: "I won't knock Dancing With The Stars. I think there is an audience for both programmes."

Jason Byrne is confident that Ireland's Got Talent will return for a second series.

"I would love it. It will come back for a second series, it'll definitely fly," he said.

He said the judges had grown close over the course of the shoot, although Walsh "still pretends not to know who I am".

He added his first love would always be stand up. Next month he will bring The Man with Three Brains to Vicar Street.

"Stand-up is the scariest thing anyone can do. It's definitely scarier than Ireland's Got Talent," he said.

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