A Rainbow of Balloons on Australia’s Got Talent

When I got the news, I was shocked, stunned and of course thrilled! I was going to be a part of something amazing! I was going to be a part of something sensational! I was going to be on Australia’s Got Talent! It wasn’t my first time auditioning, but it was the first time that I would proceed beyond the Producer’s Auditions, and that was everything.

A Rainbow of Balloons onstage before the judges of Australia's Got Talent
Picture courtesy of Australia’s Got Talent and Channel 7

Fast forwarding to the day of my performance: Sitting in the holding areas whilst surrounded by a number of people, I understood that I was amongst a room full of highly talented and dedicated individuals and teams – and yet I know that the full impact of it all would only be realised once I saw their always beautiful and sometimes stunning acts come to life on my TV at home.

It was such a hive of activity of cameras and colours, bright lights and movement as I awaited my turn. And finally it was my turn – to be a part of something beautiful. I didn’t have time to allow the butterflies to take as I strutted out onto the Australia’s Got Talent stage and prepared to do my absolute best and have fun doing it! On stage, I just could not stop grinning – for how could I not!? 

Now before I continue can I just say something?? Working with Ricki-lee was an absolute delight. I was immediately taken by her sweetness and sincerity towards me –  she came across as genuine and sweet, topped with an abundance of kindness. The highlight of my time on the show was without a doubt getting to dress this stunning person and Australian music icon! Seeing her bring to life the balloon gown that I created for her was absolutely thrilling and without a doubt one of the must wonderful and exciting experiences that I have ever had. Even as I think back to it now, the memory brings a smile to my face!

Onto the performance…

Standing on the stage before the judges as I began my performance… I cannot forget the excitement and buzz I felt from having the unconditional support from the audience as they clapped and cheered as Nena’s 99 Red Balloons blasted away around us. As the music played, I turned each balloon around in the order that the judges were sitting, and put the finishing touches on each judge. To break it down a bit further for you, I did the following:

Works in progress in my hotel room – this is the only picture I have of all 4 of them!

Shane Jacobson sometimes wears glasses (I had noted that he was not wearing them as I came onto the stage..!), so I put a pair of balloon glasses onto him – and as I turned and looked at him, he gave me a smile and pulled a pair from his pocket and put them on – that was just perfect!

Lucy Durack has beautiful golden hair, which is sometimes worn down – so I gave her hair a long and curly style by inflating a balloon on stage, and removing one from my dress to complete her look.

Nicole Scherzinger and I shared the same makeup…. I touched up my blush on stage and then added it to the cheeks of her balloon likeness.

Finally for Manu Feidel, I am a fan of his through his MKR show, and so his balloon caricature was styled with his MKR persona in mind, with my version of his burgundy dinner jacket and my addition to him was a balloon bow-tie plucked from the skirt of my dress.

The grand finale however was to beckon Rikki-lee to join me on stage, to which she strutted out wearing her very own balloon dress. Not only were the audience clapping and cheering, I was also blessed with a standing ovation from all four judges. It was magical and amazing.

Shot of completed dress in my hotel room. The dress features double stuffed 160 and 260 sized modelling balloons into 260 Qualatex Chromes as well as 7″ Chrome inside of Jewel Quicklinks
How Amazing is this? Via the Australia’s Got Talent Twitter feed 
https://twitter.com/gottalentau?lang=en

Ricki-lee looked SENSATIONAL!! Via the Australia’s Got Talent Twitter feed  
https://twitter.com/gottalentau?lang=en

I hardly remember the comments Shane and Lucy, but I do recall that they were kind and thoughtful… For Shane it was a yes, for Lucy it was a yes… But Manu had just one question… Could they keep their balloons? Of course the answer was yes, and so Manu proclaimed “then it is a Yes from me!” and as he and Nicole hugged each other and bounced up and down, Nicole stated “it’s a Yes from me too!” and for me, that left me speechless.

I left that stage on a high.

Then I had to play the waiting game until I would find out if I made it to the semi-finals…

I want to apologise to the hotel staff member to whom I am sure I gave a fright when they saw there chaotic nature of my room, but please rest assured that I picked up every scrap of balloon that was previously strewn about my room before checking out..! (Please see my Environmental Policy if you are interested to learn more about my pledge towards the environment!)

Now, as a Balloon Artist, there are two questions that I often get asked,  and one is easy to answer, whilst the other is not.

First and foremost,  the question I get asked is what is the biggest or hardest thing that you have had to make? But if you have seen my performance, you now know that it is a wearable balloon dress!

Secondly, how many balloons did you use? And can I just say here that I don’t actually know? It’s an inevitable curiosity. As I set out on my task, I vowed that this time I would indeed have that answer for when the judges would surely ask about it,  but soon the creative working frenzy  took over and that vow soon forgotten as I created my balloon sculptures. Of course I was asked the question, but I don’t even remember the answer that I gave (although it was along the lines of I dunno haha)!

Thanks for reading about my experience! If would like to know more about the creative process, please read on…

A small look at the creative side:

Leading up to my audition before the judges, I popped on over to their Instagram pages and studied their beautiful faces. I paused and I pondered, what would be my inspiration pictures? And once they were selected, I planned and practiced the methods that I would eventually use to create their balloon doppelgängers for my performance. See below some of my first attempts at the judges…

At home practice attempts of Nicole Scherzinger and Shane Jacobsen

My balloon figures feature a technique known as balloon distortion. Balloon distortion occurs when you cause a deviation to the true form of a balloon through shaping it in an unexpected way. Sometimes it is a simple method of manipulating it through the heat and pressure from your hands…It has a lot to do with how you manipulate the latex and air – without twisting and locking it into place. A more advanced method is to distort it by inflating other balloons inside of it, and allowing the out balloon to be distorted by the internal interaction of latex and air. It is these techniques that allowed me to bring the judges to life in latex form.

Don’t turn your back on a 2 year old..! Bronson wants to follow in my footsteps I think…

The main balloon techniques that were used included:

  • curling modelling balloons by inflating them whilst the balloon was curled around my fingers,
  • Double stuffing 160s into 260s and 260s into 260s (these numbers denote balloon sizes for those who are unfamiliar with the terms),
  • Double stuffing Chrome rounds into Jewel toned quicklinks and other rounds to achieve colours and balloon shapes that are not commercially available and finally
  • Distortion – discussed in greater detail above.

Just finally…

For anyone considering an audition for Australia’s Got Talent: I felt safe and well taken care of by the producers throughout the entire audition process, and never thought that they would betray me and portray me in any other way than anticipated. They were upfront and clear about this from the outset. For that I am grateful, as it was a small concern that became a non-issue from their support provided.

If you are interested in seeing more of my balloons, you’re welcome to follow along by subscribing to my blog, or visit me on Facebook and Instagram

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