Australian folk siren Vendulka Wichta bared her soul with a sultry version of “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club on The Voice Australia. The song’s original singer Boy George was in attendance as a judge for the season eight audition, and he was also the first to turn his chair for the 21-year-old singer.
Vendulka sang and played acoustic guitar on the cover, creating an atmospheric slow burn that perfectly presented her unique, smoky voice. Aussie judges Delta Goodrem and Guy Sebastian turned their chairs in quick succession, with the latter particularly impressed by her falsetto vocal gymnastics in the second half of the song. Check out the performance below.
Vendulka really added her own personality to the cover, completely changing the original new wave arrangement of the 1983 hit and adding her own folk style to it. Boy George heaped praise on the young singer, saying “What you just did I didn’t think was possible. Because we’ve tried to mess with it over the years. What you did was give it a lovely blues flavour and made it kind of souly.”
Never shy of the stage, the English pop icon then took up the mic and jammed on the song with Vendulka, adding a bit of her bluesy style into his own vocals. Vendulka progressed through the series and later performed Lady Gaga’s country hit “Always Remember Us This Way”, which you can see below.
Vendulka, who is now 25, is a Canberra-based singer with Czech heritage. After getting the nod from three judges in her audition, she chose George as her mentor, before later being eliminated in the 12th episode.
Her relationship with George didn’t stop there though. The English pop star hinted that he had something up his sleeve for her during the filming, but she didn’t get the chance to hear what it was at the time as the production team whisked her off the set.
Vendulka followed up the connection with George later on Instagram, and to her surprise, he got back to her and confirmed he’d like to work with her. A few months later she got an invitation from George to head down to a Sydney recording studio with only 24 hours’ notice. Naturally, she cleared her schedule and then recorded two songs with the hitmaker.
One of those songs, the synthpop track “The Trouble With Love” was later released by George, with her name as a featured artist. By this point, Vendulka had changed her stage name to Aya Yves, which is how she’s credited on the song. George had plenty of praise for her performance on the track, calling it “flawless” in a Tweet.
Vendulka also loved working with George, saying in an interview with Her Canberra that he was super lovely and generous. She added that her energy as a Libra also connected well with George, who is a Gemini, stating “He is very into astrology and we bonded over the fact that we are both air signs. We also bonded over our love of Joni Mitchell. We had fun.”