Judges need a dash of X Factor

JANE BOWRON
Last updated 10:14 24/05/2013
x factor
JOHN SELKIRK/Fairfax NZ

WHERE'S THE X FACTOR? Judges, from left, Stan Walker, Melanie Blatt, Dominic Bowden (host), Daniel Bedingfield and Ruby Frost.

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When Fletcher Mills sang Paradise horribly off-key on The X Factor (TV3) on Sunday night, I thought if that's paradise I'd rather hear what hell sounds like.

And we did the following night, when judge Ruby Frost, or Pinkie as some call her, gave the audience a dubious treat, proving she hasn't the talent to be mentoring or judging on The X Factor. Frost couldn't sing, couldn't move, and had zilch stage presence. Sure she's a sweet kid, but that performance would have lost her a lot of respect as an "artist", that word the judges keep bandying about, especially when they spoke glowingly, reverentially of Eden Roberts, the first talent to be voted off The X Factor.

Eden's exit was another blow for a show struggling under the helmsmanship of inept judges, particularly Daniel Bedingfield, who seems to be sabotaging the talent on the girls' team who were, before the live performances, the group to watch and win it.

Eden, who has shown a gift for songwriting and has a standout original voice, not only lost to the energetic but deeply predictable dime-a-dozen girl duo rap group L.O.V.E, but also to Mills, obviously voted back in by his adoring female, teeny-bopper fan base.

The unenviable task of deciding to lower the boom on either L.O.V.E or Eden fell to judge Stan Walker, who appealed to Dominic Bowden – a host whose smarm oozes postmodern Cary Grant crossed with a used-car salesman – to not let him be The Great Decider. But there was no getting away from it, and, boy, did Stan make a poor fist of it, rabbiting on about how before living in Australia and his X Factor win over there, he would have voted wholesale for L.O.V.E because that's his roots.

But now in his maturity he had come to love and admire true artists like Eden, indicating he was going to do the decent thing and go with her. If he had, the panel would have been deadlocked and had to vote again.

But he seemed to be distracted, possibly by a producer yelling in his ear to go with L.O.V.E because they were running over time, and the bugger did. Oh ye of little faith, I moaned, and I like/love Stan.

At least he seems to be mentoring his troops well, all three going through to the next round. Maka Fiso gave a powerhouse performanceand Anna Wilson wasn't bad either, but Taye Williams lacked oomph and was lucky to get through.

Eden took her early dismissal graciously, praising Daniel for his masterful coaching of all her group, and was very loving about her team-mates. How distressing to watch the saccharine performance of poor Cassie Henderson stripped of her cool by having to dress in a sickly little girl's frock and dance round the stage as if she was in an American high school end-of-year musical.

It seemed like we were watching a completely different person as the audience at home and in the studio wondered who stole Cassie? Daniel did. Stan and other judge Melanie Blatt castigated Daniel for his appalling direction and told her to seek advice from them.

Yeah right, Melanie, look what mummy did dressing up her Moorhouse boys in Sunday best. I think Stan's the man to go to or Cassie should storm ahead under her own steam. Competitors should be allowed to defect to a judge-free group. That would really throw a much-needed spanner in the works.

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- The Dominion Post

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