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Music Monday: The Secret History of X Factor’s Archie Hill

With the shocking departure of Jazzy “Jazzy” Acton from our screens last night, beaming Archie Hill represents the last of the 14-year-olds standing on stick thin, vinyl-trousered legs at this year’s X Factor. He absolutely ripped Ed Sheeran a new one at the auditions, before walking on stage and into our hearts with ‘Blank Space’ at boot camp.

Last night he sang us a piano-led version of Emile Sandé’s ‘Read All About it’, and we all sighed and marveled anew at his unflappable nature. At 14 I was a pimply, anxious mess, terrified of any and all women and generally happy to make it through the day without a wedgie.

Archie’s not worrying about wedgies – he’s crushing auditions in front of hundreds of thousands of people Now he’s at retreats, and chill as hell about singing for Natalia Kills and Benny Tipene..

“These are the kind of shows I watch every year,” he said last night, sat on a grass bank as pohutukawa wafted in the background. “It’s not something you ever imagine you’re gonna be on.”

I nodded idiotically, buying every damn thing they’re selling, as I do throughout most X Factor episodes. Then I checked my telephone. [REDACTED] had tweeted me to point out that this is not, in fact, young Archie’s first rodeo.

The youngster was even younger-ster in 2013, when he was tasteless enough to sing ‘She Will be Loved’ on television and became the proud-as-punch recipient of three yesses on the late, unlamented New Zealand’s Got Talent. Jason Kerrison, Rachel Hunter and Cris “Who?” Judd were thrilled with the young tyke – “I’m a fan already,” yelled Our Rach. He never advanced, probably because he was, y’know, at intermediate school. But video footage of the magic moment remains.

First Steve Broad, now Archie! Add in Finlay Robertson and Nofo Lameko’s X Failures in 2013 and as much as ⅓ of our forthcoming live show contestants could be pre-loved, and out to prove that they stashed their X Factor so deep that it wasn’t visible the first time around.

Does it matter? Probably not. New Zealand has baked only so many cutie pies, so it’s natural we’ll have to reheat them every few years just to make up the numbers. I for one welcome the day when we see Archie – overweight, unshaven, his voice long-broken – singing Fun’s ‘We Are Young’ on a nameless future talent show in 2038. He’ll still be beautiful, and still probably slide on through for one last Kenny Powers-esque run at the title.

X Factor screens on TV3 nearly every night of your life at 7ish.

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