Otara audition biggest of them all
Missy Pelu wasn't expecting too much from his shot at stardom last Friday.
The 18-year-old was one of thousands who lined up at Manukau Institute of Technology in Otara for X Factor pre-auditions - the first stage of the televised talent search X Factor NZ.
Missy, who auditioned with a cover of Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing, said he wasn't sure whether the producers would let him through to the next round.
"I'm just hoping I won't cry on TV."
Was he nervous?
"I'm definitely feeling something - I'm kind of lightheaded."
The Manurewa student was convinced to audition by his friend Carina, who filled out the entry form for him.
He said he can't name his favourite artist and instead gets his inspiration closer to home.
"Mostly I look up to my dad, who taught me to play guitar when I was young."
Family was also on the mind of fellow X Factor hopeful Vai Moeai.
The Otara security guard was hoping the judges would approve of his song choice, the Luther Vandross tearjerker Dance with my Father.
The song holds a special significance to him as his own father died when he was 11, he said.
"He was my hero. He would be proud of me."
The 27-year-old said he was ready for a shot at the big time and a break from the daily grind.
"I'm tired of working, working - I've got to do something with the talent I've got."
Hopefuls endured waits of several hours in the scorching sun before appearing before the show's executive producers.
They were told either "no" or "maybe", with the "maybes" to be called back at a later date.
Howick College student Leighton Stichbury hoped his bright green hair and quirky song choices - Skinny Love by Brit crooner Ed Sheeran and Love You Like a Love Song by Disney starlet Selena Gomez - would appeal to the producers. "I'm quite unconventional, which they might like," the 17-year-old said.
Court registry officer Shaun Hindt was a little more confident.
The 27-year-old, who sang the Etta James classic At Last, said he expected "a big fat yes" from the judging panel.
"Not only because of my talent and my look but my attitude - I want to be a role model for young New Zealanders."
X Factor NZ follows the talent search format made famous overseas by music mogul Simon Cowell.
Entrants over 14 can audition as a soloist or as part of a group, and selected contestants are split into categories and given vocal training.
TV3 spokesman Chris Henry said he wasn't sure how many people had attended Friday's auditions.
"All I can say categorically is that it's the biggest audition we've had," he said.