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ColumnsMarch 4, 2015

The X Factor Group Think: Week Three

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The Spinoff knights meet at the television roundtable to discuss boot camp week of The X Factor NZ.//

Robyn Gallagher on The Forgotten Four

During the first boot camp episode, we were very quickly introduced to the 48 contestants who were going on to the merciless six-seat challenge. They were all familiar faces from the audition shows, but then suddenly there was a lady called Charlotte wearing a t-shirt with “Don’t you know who I am?” printed on it. Er, no, I don’t know actually.

It turns out there were four acts who made it all the way to bootcamp but had never been shown on the audition episodes. There was Charlotte and Tasha in the Overs, Elly in the Girls, and a country duo called Madimac in the Groups. Without fail, none of them ended up with a seat.

It became obvious they’d been included as chair fodder, the not-quite-right contestants there to be dramatically swapped out with another more worthy singer (shhh! It’s a TV show). Tasha, a perfectly lovely singer, had the dramatic cliffhanger swap when Mel needed somewhere to put Sarah’s bum.

But the highlight was Charlotte, not for her t-shirt or her unremarkable rendition of ‘Black Horse and the Cherry Tree’ or for sassing the judges, but for this amazing exchange with Mel, who was quizzing her on her readiness:

Mel: “Are you able to control those nerves?”
Charlotte: “I was born in 1984. For this moment.”

And frankly, The X Factor needs more people like that.


Jack Riddell on How to Win Back Ratings

1) Add Winston Peters to the judging panel.
2) Get the contestants to sing more Drake, struggling to believe no one has done ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’. What the shit New Zealand? Sing some 6 God and you’re guaranteed to win.
3) Clone Stan Walker and have him fulfil all the roles on the show. Love you bro.
4) Have the competition be based out of Invercargill, rename it X Factorrr.
5) Force Dominic Bowden to stop dying his hair and have him go full silver fox.
6) Have Liz Shaw come on each show and berate the judges. Sidenote –please ignore the hurtful description of this link and the stink comments, 2008 was a very different time and the Internet is full of dicks.
7) Work The Sandman from Live At The Apollo into the show.
8) Have Jackie Thomas come back and compete again.
9) End the Auckland weed drought of 2015.
10) More dramatic pauses.

You’re welcome TV3.

PS Jason Kerrison left his NZ On Air funded apocalypse dome?

Alex Casey on the Dark Side of the Moon

This week, X Factor NZ has seen some of the slickest re-editing since Heath Ledger died halfway through that Parnassus flick. Shae Brider was cut down to a whopper nine seconds onscreen, but that’s not the only thing left on the cutting room floor from Boot Camp.

I was at the Girls and the Groups boot camp. It was hot and long and there were young teens screaming from every rafter like some horrific high-pitched version of Phantom of the Opera. What remained good though, was Willy Moon’s dirty jokester ways. Cut out of the last few eps were some golden nuggets that I was lucky enough to hear first hand, and wish to share with the world.

When Elijah from Leilani and Elijah came out with a bandage on his elbow, he explained that he had hit it on a car door or something. I forget. I wasn’t listening. The point is, it was innocent. Never one to let an innocent incident rest, Willy went on this huge long bit about injuring himself similarly once through excessive wanking. Willy!

And then there’s Jazzy, our precociously sequinned 14-year-old who never fails to shock us with her big age reveal. After she performed, Willy took the mic and said “I like Jazzy so much it should be illegal!” It is Willy. It is illegal.


Josh Davis on Emotional Young’uns

For me, it’s incredible the emotional turmoil the X Factor contestants put themselves through. Just look at Joe Irvine. He’s a bloody “over” and he’s an emotional wreck for every performance. You’re an “over,” Joey, you should be crying because you are hurtling towards the end of your life at an ever-increasing velocity, not because of a singing competition. You old as shit Joe!

Someone who is not old as shit is Johnny. Oh, sweet Johnny. What an emotional rollercoaster this competition must be for a 14 year-old. It begs the question – how can these teens possibly be emotionally prepared for all this? When I was 14 the following things made me cry:

Friends ending
– seeing a pretty girl
Joey being poorly-received critically
– when my Mum confiscated 50 Cent’s opus, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ from me

The list goes on. Keep your head up my sweet Johnny and save some tears for next year when the judges come up with a different convoluted reason to eliminate you from the competition.

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Eli Mathewson on The X Factor NZ’s Burn Books

Ria’s Burn Book:

Natalia kills is obsessed with me. Lady if you can just calm down for one minute I’d like to enjoy being seated on this cheap white chair of safety while I’m here. Stop talking about me, start talking about leaving that bored Cleopatra look back in Ancient Egypt where it belongs.

Natalia Kill’s Burn Book:

Ria. Get out of your chair Ria. You didn’t even rap RIA. Stan sees something in you Ria but he’s wrong. RIA. Listen to me-ya. I don’t see-ya no potential in you.


Now that you’re gone I can’t stop thinking about you.


When I close my eyes you’re there.

Ria. The last words of your song will be the last words of my life. I’ll shuffle my feet, say “That’s it” and be done

Ria. You’ve changed me.

Joseph Harper on The All Blac-tor


I was stoked when I saw this fella pop up as part of Bay of Plenty sibling harmony trio Fare Thee Well, because I immediately thought of the joke, “Fuckin hell, Conrad Smith has some pipes, eh.”

Later, I realised that he looks a bit like Conrad Smith, but maybe not that much. So, to supplement my bad observation, here’s what the All Blacks would do on the X-Factor:

Kevin Mealamu starts with a potent rendition of ‘Bathe In the River’ and gets a seat. Also because he’s ~76 years old he can’t get kicked out because the producers reckon the sadness of that will make him die.

Crotty and Cruden form a duo called “Cruise Crontrol” and absolutely butcher ‘More than Words’. No seat.

Julian Savea makes everyone cry via transcendent ‘Ordinary People’, and Colin Slade does a ludicrous cover of Meatloaf or something. People are weirdly into it. Two more seats gone burgers. 

The Whitelock brothers pull out a pretty questionable rendition of that One Direction song Steve Braunias loves and get through because they need a group.

The final two chairs are taken when Richie McCaw sings ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’, and Ma’a Nonu does a rap.

Talia Smith on Lizard Moon

This week was a mixed bag of tears, musical chairs, Natalia being a giant, pouty baby and a video recording of Simon Cowell talking on a phone to the judges which made no damn sense at all.

It was also the week that I discovered the true root of my Willy Moon hate.

After a long investigation, I have discovered he is in fact, one of the lizard people, sent to earth to infiltrate and destroy the human race. The leader, John Travolta was spotted at the Oscars recently communicating in small flicks of his tongue to fellow lizard Benedict Cumberbatch. They can morph into a lizard when needed to gain entrance into zoos and government houses, slowly but surely achieving their plan of domination.

We need to band together before it is too late.

No one is safe.

willy animorph (1)

Renee Church on Exciting Veranda Music

Boot Camp has been an emotional roller coaster for contestants and viewers alike. I approached these episodes expecting to see a few tears and some Robyn covers. Those were delivered, tenfold, but what we weren’t prepared for was MUSICAL DEATH CHAIRS.

This part of Boot Camp is entirely new, with contestants getting through to the next round, and then their mentor being like “Um, ya know what, I’m going to swap you with another person. Laterz.” Scary stuff. But what I’m really excited for is the Veranda Musicals. What’s better than contestants singing a Lady Gaga cover on someone’s veranda to Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield? What could top that guy playing a Casio keyboard as backing music on the veranda? It’s safe to say that contestants fresh out of Boot Camp are in need of some soothing veranda music. I just hope It’s everything I want, and more.

Duncan Greive’s Categorical Power Ranking

We head into the retreats with a firm-ish handle on the various categories, and some kind of sense of who amongst them might have a lil X Factor in em. So I’m gonna power rank the categories, based on both the quality of contestants and the imagined ability of the assigned judge to elevate them.

The Boys
Number one with a goddamn nuclear warhead. Archie and Micah are like a young Culkin and DiCaprio, and kids will not be asking their parents first before they shower them with votes. Pick any two of Nofo, Beau and Reiki – those dudes have pipes and cheekbones and sweet attitudes. All that plus Natalia, who actually knows how big songs get made. Too easy.

The Overs
Last season it was a wasteland. This year, it’s got sly potential thanks to old men – the most unlikely of sources. Joe Invercargill, Joseph the music teacher (a dark horse courtesy of original songs – an over-valued commodity by X Factor voters) and bloody Steve Broad. He’s a cheeseball but battle-hardened and will have that middle-aged New Zealand women demo on lock. Plus Mel’s in love with him and will shank any judge who gets in his way.

The Girls
Dropping Georgia Bishop was the biggest bombshell of the show to date that didn’t involve Shae Brider. She is manifestly already better than Jackie Thomas, and epitomised the haphazard way Stan handled his business. Swapping in Eden Roberts 2.0 – that mashup-toting busker – capped a very sloppy night. Jazzy’s walking porcelain doll thing could work, Nyssa kills me and Georgina might be a quality R&B singer. But so far Stan’s making an absolute hash of a great hand.

The Groups
Straight up apocalypse, with Willy Moon for emotional support. If any group other than Fare Thee Well survives past Easter I will audition for X Factor next time around.

Keep going!