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X Factor Blog – Week One

X Factor Blog - Week One

After months of carefully planned hype, The X Factor debuted on our screens with a bang. Even before it began, the reality TV show had gathered it’s fair share of skepticism – do we even have enough talent for another singing competition? Will it have credibility? Who is Ruby Frost? And, perhaps the greatest fear, will it be hokey?

New Zealand does hokey incredibly well. It’s not a bad thing – we do have this fantastic ability to take something polished and slick, and make it look as if it’s come out the back of Ted from Rangiora’s garden shed.

But The X Factor was polished. It had an international feel to the entire production, a feat probably achieved by the truckloads of money TV3 has invested into making this show work.

It’s got the production values of the US version, but it’s still uniquely Kiwi. From the first audition, we’re reminded that we don’t take well to the brassy over-confidence and arrogance that’s usually rampant throughout these types of talent competitions.

Instead, we have 17-year-old Finlay Robertson, refusing to answer judge Daniel Bedingfield’s question of “Do you think you have the X Factor?” saying, “I don’t know, I don’t want to talk myself up eh.” Turns out she did, but it was a clear indication that the show hasn’t forgotten its audience.

And it wouldn’t have been a true, blue Kiwi talent competition without a little cameo from the Topp Twins, who were on hand to support stepson and nephew Cameron throughout his audition, as well as the obligatory reference to the group that started it all in New Zealand reality television, TrueBliss, with Megan Alatini’s lookalike sister Meryl trying her luck in the family business.

Uncovering a few gems has already helped the show’s credibility. Some of them are a tad uncut and could do with a polish, but the question of whether New Zealand actually has talent has finally been answered.

The judges – Daniel Bedingfield, Ruby Frost, Stan Walker and Melanie Blatt – haven’t been shy at letting the contestants know exactly what they think, all except Ruby “butter wouldn’t melt” Frost, who so far is as mean as a packet of candyfloss. It’s a random judging panel, but somehow it works.

The X Factor had it all. The chicken man (You’ve just entered New Zealand pop culture on the same level as “O for Awesome”) an insanely talented, a drag queen and a Kanye West moment when Stan decided to jump on stage with a contestant for a singalong, and what some are calling New Zealand’s Susan Boyle moment when Renee Maurice stepped on stage and surprised everyone with a Celine Dion classic.

It’s a promising start. From social media reaction, the mood of the country is one of “pleasant surprise”– let’s see if the momentum continues.

What have we learnt from The X Factor NZ?

  1. Chickens and an old piano in a shed aren’t a good combination for those of us that are blessed with the gift of hearing.

  2. Name-dropping your famous stepmum or sister might not the world’s best idea, unless you’re prepared for the inevitable comparisons that come along with it. You must ask yourself, “Do you want to be compared to TrueBliss?”

  3. It is possible to do Ike and Tina Turner’s most famous duet on your own – and well.

  4. Comparing yourself to the judges and flattering them with their own songs is risky, but apparently pays off. Who knew an All Saints pop classic would go so well with a Christian hymn? A match made in heaven.

  5. New Zealanders can’t admit if they’ve got the X Factor because “I don’t wanna talk myself up, eh”. Fair call.

What were your thoughts of the first week?  Share your views below

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