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X Factor blog – week two

Kelly Bertrand blogs about week two of The X Factor New Zealand.

Daniel Bedingfield is wearing my pants. Not just any pants – my wonderful, beautiful, “make my butt look fantastic” floral pants that I bought from Glassons last year.

I expected to be surprised watching The X Factor NZ, but this was just too much. (Just a note, our fashion editor Lucia also has those pants. I’m in the process of emailing her to ask if it’s still okay to keep wearing them).

Anyway – it’s boot camp time, where they sort the men from the boys, the weak from the strong and more importantly, the mildly talented from the stars.

It’s been high stakes and high drama, and we even have “those people”. You know – the one who’s a bit of a cow (Sharaine Barrett), the one who ditches their group ‘coz of an “emergency” (Sela Manu), the ones who lost a member of their group to rugby (Moorhouse), the ones who cry (pretty much everyone) and the ones who choke (also pretty much everyone else).

I’m sorry, but how hard is it to memorise a song? Of course, there’s pressure, there’s the “one chance, one dream” factor – but all the contestants had to do was memorise three lines from a song. Not even the whole song! Not even a whole verse!

Not to sound like Supernanny, but it’s completely unacceptable at this level of a competition like TXF. And these judges don’t take any crap. Even Ruby – dear, sweet Ruby – decided to get her mean on.

We had an eviction early on from The X Factor family – Ponsonby and North Shore, as Daniel calls them, real name The Steamrollers. Tip for contestants: Don’t treat the competition like a joke. Mel will kick you out. Swiftly.

From the top 120, we’re down to 24 that are about to embark on the judges retreats, but in order to get there we had to sit through absolutely terrible renditions of the Goo Goo Dolls’ Iris, Titanium’s Come on Home, Katy Perry’s Firework and Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror.

The judges were disappointed and more than a little worried, prompting Mel to venture backstage to give the remaining contestants a rark up.

But there were some standouts – Finlay Robertson killed it, as did Eden Roberts despite her disapproval at Katy’s deep and profound lyrics. (“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag…” she might have a point.)

Eventually, the judges managed to find 60 acts to put through to the second day at Vector Arena, where they were divided into groups and had to choose one song to sing.

It was here that we started to see true personalities of some of the contestants come out – and some of them weren’t that pretty.

The girl group Voltec and Sharaine have some disagreements, but while Sharaine gets her way and the group perform Rihanna’s Unfaithful, she’s eventually sent packing, while the group makes it through to judge’s retreats.

That’s retreats, not houses. Otherwise we’d be filming at Ruby’s flat in Mount Albert. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. She’d treat everyone to a jam session in the garage and they’d all celebrate with some Lindauer and fish and chips. Sounds good to me.

After six performances with only one really good group, the judges retire to deliberate.

Ruby, somewhat surprisingly, takes charge of the selection process, proving she’s no shrinking violet – or cherry blossom.

After some fierce arguments, with Daniel becoming more flamboyant and exaggerated with every passing minute, The X Factor NZ had it’s final 24.

Audition favourite Jackie Thomas didn’t make it – much to the distain of social media – nor did the Top Twins protégée Cameron Luxton and drag queen Ashley Tonga.

And only five groups were chosen to continue to judges retreats, leaving one space open, with the judges choosing to make a group from three of the unsuccessful young boys, à la One Direction.

That leaves the last few minutes of the show dedicated to the judges finding out what groups they’ll be mentoring – Girls, Boys, Over 25s or Groups.

Rather predictably, Mel of All Saints fame is given groups, celebrating with a fist pump. Dan has Girls, much to his over-the-top enthusiasm, Ruby has Boys, and Stan… well. Stan, the youngest judge on the panel at 22, has the Overs, which led to the best quote of the competition so far, “What? They’re gonna yell at me!” Poor Stan.

He might be young, but I reckon Stan is a huge force to be reckoned with. He’s incredibly determined, he hates losing – I will win. There’s no question about it,” was the first thing he ever said to me – and he’s managed to win over the audience more and more with every show.

Next week, we’re off to judge’s retreats, where we’ll finally get our top 12 – as well as some special guests, kicking off with Daniel’s sister, Natasha Bedingfield.

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