Is Asia's Got Talent judge Melanie C a good cop or bad cop?
The former Spice Girl talks about her new job and what has happened to her old Sporty Spice outfits
Asia's Got Talent is the first Got Talent panel where all four judges are performers. To Melanie Chisholm, best known as ponytailed, tracksuit-wearing Mel C from British pop girl group Spice Girls, being a performer gives her a different perspective when she's sitting on a panel. She understands the pressure that comes with the industry, but she doesn't want to be harsh towards contestants and is looking forward to giving advice to them.
"You know how it feels to be on stage and how vulnerable you can be as a performer. So I want to be critical, but I also want it to be constructive criticism. I want to be honest, but I want to be kind," she told us over the phone. "I'm hoping to be very honest, but very fair and give the contestants a real international viewpoint of their act."
No stranger to auditioning, Melanie emphasised that the best audition song is one that showcases the performer's strengths. She'd choose a big ballad herself, she says.
The 41-year-old is currently alternating between working on the show and recording a new album in the UK, which will be her priority once Asia's Got Talent ends. Having grown up and performed in the European music and theatre scene (she starred in West End musical Blood Brothers and played Mary Magdalene in rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar on its UK tour), she says working in Asia is very exciting for her because of all the diverse talent.
"There were acrobats from China, dancers from Japan, lots of musicians from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. It really was quite breathtaking at how high the standard was," she said. "I can't wait to see what they're going to do next. In the auditions, we have laughed, we have cried, we've been amazed, we've been able to not look at certain things – every emotion we've experienced on that stage."
Melanie credits her Asia's Got Talent co-judges (Indonesian singer Anggun, Canadian musician David Foster and American-born Taiwanese singer Vanness Wu), for the edge that the show has, adding that she would love to collaborate with them.
"We're all very experienced, we've had wonderful careers and it just works, it's a great dynamic. I absolutely adore Anggun. We both have daughters of a very similar age and we have a lot in common, which is really nice. I think the good thing about this particular judging panel is we have a lot of respect for each other," she mused.
All five members of the Spice Girls have had talent show experience – Geri Halliwell and current The X Factor judge Melanie Brown used to be on Got Talent panels, while Emma Bunton judged for Dancing on Ice and Victoria Beckham once guest mentored on American Idol. However, Melanie doesn't compare herself to them.
"Personally, I feel it's important to establish who you are as a judge, so I kind of just went into it and I wanted to find out myself," she said when asked if she's consulted with her long-time friends. "It is lovely that all of us girls have had the opportunity and we're very supportive of each other."
More support comes from her 6-year-old daughter Scarlet, who is apparently a big fan of the UK version of the show. We couldn't help but also wonder if Sporty Spice was keeping any of her tracksuits for her little girl.
"I don't have all of them, but I've kept some," she said with a laugh. "I think it will be nice to maybe sell them to charity or get them into some Hard Rock Cafes or something. But [Scarlet is] so tall, I just think that my clothes will probably fit her when she's 11 and then past that... I think she's gonna have quite big feet so unfortunately all my lovely shoes she won't be able to have."
Asia's Got Talent premieres Thursday, 12 March 2015 at 8.05pm on AXN (Astro Channel 701) and AXN HD (Astro B.yond Channel 721).