VIDEO: Ricky Martin – Meeting the Voice

Ricky Martin, currently living in Sydney while he was coaching on Nine’s The Voice, personally meeted-and-greeted 600 fans in-store at Westfield Hurstville last Thursday. Easily another 1000 watched from the sidelines. Ian Horner was among them.

Sony Music had promised Ricky would be there from 6pm to 8pm and had guaranteed access for the first 200 in line.

A few super-dedicated souls were lining up at 6am.

Shepherding the fans was a military operation that went so smoothly Ricky had met the first 200 well before the first hour was up and security batch-fed more through.

Patrick Ashby (in line since 6.30am), 18, of Liverpool, with Hasz Masoudi, 16, of Berala: “I want to ask Ricky what’s your favourite song from all your albums?”

Patrick Ashby (in line since 6.30am), 18, of Liverpool, with Hasz Masoudi, 16, of Berala: “I want to ask Ricky what’s your favourite song from all your albums?”

“I just wanna thank Ricky for being an inspiration. My brother Adam is 16 and he’s gay and Ricky has been a real inspiration to him. I wanna tell Ricky.” - Patrick Ashby, 18, of Liverpool

After buying something for him to sign – a Vida CD (just $10) or best-of CD ($15) or his book Me in which he talks about coming out – fans were armbanded (first 200 yellow, then blue) and corralled on their way to the security gate to the stage.

Then another security bloke took bulky bags and handed them to an usher who would return them on the way out, checked things to be signed, inspected gifts (letters, cards, even a bottle of wine) then motioned them up the steps and onto stage right where an officer took the CD covers, turned them the right way, borrowed the fan’s phone to record posterity’s photo and directed them into the Presence.

Catherine Denigris, 35, flew down from the Gold Coast especially for this.

Catherine Denigris, 35, flew down from the Gold Coast especially for this.

“Honestly, Ricky changed my life. I’m in uni now because of his book. I had a very rough time during my teens and I found his story very inspiring. Especially how he started his foundation.” - Catherine Denigris, 35

Ricky was safely behind four desks – two deep at front, one each side – and he greeted every single person with an outstretched hand (and it was a long way to stretch) and a smile that could launch a thousand ships. Speeches, lists of questions irretrievably gone.

Time froze for 10 seconds.

Then each one floated off stage left, bags put back in their hands, steered through another gate, screams as it sunk in.

Smile. Handshake. “Hi!”. Camera flash. Sign. Smile. Handshake / knucklebump. ‘‘Bye!’’. Smile. 600 times. Not a beat missed.

Mina Gerges (left), 21, of Sylvania Waters, with Dana Thomas, 17, of Beverly Hills, was there at 7am. Dana said: “I’m exhausted! But I’m really keen to see him. I’m absolutely devo. My Mum told me to tell him she’d have been here if she could’ve got out of work! He really inspires her.”

Mina Gerges (left), 21, of Sylvania Waters, with Dana Thomas, 17, of Beverly Hills, was there at 7am. Dana said: “I’m exhausted! But I’m really keen to see him. I’m absolutely devo. My Mum told me to tell him she’d have been here if she could’ve got out of work! He really inspires her.”

“I took the day off from everything. No uni, no work, no internet, just to be here. His courage is admirable. The honest way he can just be himself. I was here at 8am.” - Mina Gerges, 21, of Sylvania Waters

Bohdi Byles, 20, of Seven Hills, wanted to ask Ricky: “What’s the deepest spiritual lesson you’ve ever learned?” With Chris Anderson, 20, of Surry Hills.

Bohdi Byles, 20, of Seven Hills, wanted to ask Ricky: “What’s the deepest spiritual lesson you’ve ever learned?” With Chris Anderson, 20, of Surry Hills.

Lia Hester (from left), 16, of Kingsgrove, Amelia Ritchie, 16, of Bexley, Veronica Guardala, 16, of Peakhurst, and Tina Dios, 16, of Hurstville. Tina wanted to ask Ricky what it was like working with Jessica Mauboy (they did a mashup of three of his hits at last year’s NRL Grand Final). The friends had been waiting since 8am.

Lia Hester (from left), 16, of Kingsgrove, Amelia Ritchie, 16, of Bexley, Veronica Guardala, 16, of Peakhurst, and Tina Dios, 16, of Hurstville. Tina wanted to ask Ricky what it was like working with Jessica Mauboy (they did a mashup of three of his hits at last year’s NRL Grand Final). The friends had been waiting since 8am.

Fan video of Ricky at Westfield (3.12):

None of it would’ve worked had Martin not been so genuinely gracious and enthusiastic with every single person.

It’s this sort of performance which endears him to his public as much as the hot bon-bon shaking on stage and awesome Voice, as he glides from English to Spanish and back again, oozing charisma and sex as he dances with a Latin fever hot enough to melt any reserve, despite the fact that though recently single he’s not even in the market to the swooning women and girls adoring him . . .

It was just such a performance on The Voice recently, of his joyous World Cup anthem Vida, that showed beyond the shadow of a doubt that the young hopefuls on the show are not, and never will be, anywhere near his league. ■

(Scroll down for Ricky Martin links)

Ricky's Vida clip (3.24):

■ Ricky Martin 2015 tour dates

■ Ricky Martin tours iTunes app

■ Ricky Martin homepage

■ Ricky Martin foundation

■ Ricky Martin on AllMusic

■ Ricky Martin on Twitter

■ Ricky Martin on Facebook

■ Read Ian's other interviews:

Greta Scacchi for The Last Impresario: 'He's so famous you've never heard of him'

Carlotta for the ABC movie Carlotta: He did it her way

Review of The Laramie ProjectMurdered gay student's story powerfully brought to life

Joel Creasey for Rock God: Joel's a star – Joan Rivers says so

Kiri Te Kanawa for 70th birthday tour: From Downton Abbey to our Opera House, Kiri is just one of the dames

Boy George for King of Everything: King George, the Boy grows up

Danny Trejo for Machete Kills: 'I got Gaga her movie role with Gloria and me!'

Review of Privates on Parade: Parading your Privates

Review of Twists and Turns cabaret: Matthew Mitcham drops his dacks

Simon Vowles for Queens of the Outback: A frock and a rock hit town!

Nick Atkins for A Boy & A Bean: Jack, the giant killer

Matthew Mitcham for Twists and Turns cabaret: Matthew – all singing, all talking, all dancing!

Debbie Reynolds for Behind the Candelabra: What a glorious feelin’, I’m workin’ again

Lily Tomlin for Web Therapy: Lily caught in Phoebe's web!

Todd McKenney for Grease: Todd’s got chills, they’re multiplyin’

Matthew Rhys for The Scapegoat: Seeing double – and the Walkers' wine was real!

Casey Donovan for Mama Cass tribute: Casey has found her own idol

Amanda Muggleton for The Book Club: A book club for those who'd rather laugh than read!

Rachel Griffiths for Magazine Wars: We owe a big debt to Ita and Dulcie

Simon Burke for Mrs Warren’s Profession: A timeless take on the oldest profession

Ellen's mum, Betty DeGeneres on marriage equality: Not supporting gay marriage is bullying

Amanda Muggleton for Torch Song Trilogy: Amanda returns to the spotlight

Matthew Mitcham for Twists and Turns book: He couldn't believe it would last – it didn't

The story VIDEO: Ricky Martin – Meeting the Voice first appeared on Blacktown Sun.

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