Tears and laughter at NZGT
In the midst of all the light entertainment, the second programme of New Zealand's Got Talent suddenly got serious.
We'd just seen a couple of teenage lads dressed as farmers hamming up some well-played duelling guitars, when the show introduced 15-year-old Alisha Osborne.
She told the judges she would be singing Angel by Canadian Sarah McLachlan.
It's the sort of song that can start off a round of sniffles, even when played for no particular reason. But when Alisha said she was singing for her father, one of the 29 men who died in the November 2010 Pike River Mine disaster, eyes across the country surely were suddenly blurred by an onrush of wetness.
"My dad was in the Pike River Mine and he's still down there," Alisha explained. It was heart-wrenching.
"I sing Arms of the Angel because that's where they should be. That's where they are."
The tension was hard. Here was a girl in her mid-teens somehow taking on the responsibility for representing all that grief. Who did not hope desperately that she would do well?
Standing alone on the stage in front of a silent audience, Alisha started singing. She was strong, and palpable relief swept through the hall.
"I'm absolutely heart broken for you, and to have the courage to get up and do what you just did, your dad would be really proud of you. That was just absolutely beautiful, and you're amazing," judge Rachel Hunter said.
Well put. The poise and, in this case, delicate sensitivity, shown by Hunter, along with the model's good sense and well-judged humour throughout the show were a revelation.
Needless to say Alisha won with all three judges and is through to the next stage of the competition.
It was hard to separate the moment from the performance, and it will be interesting to see how she does when the atmosphere is less emotionally loaded.
Among other contestants who seemed to particularly impress the judges was music teacher Mihirangi Fleming, who also had a personal moment, meeting an adopted sister for the first time.
It was quick and straightforward, but still lovely.
Then Mihirangi ended the programme with a so-called loop show, building up a track by putting several recordings of her voice on top of each other.
"Mind blowing" and "brilliant" was how judge, and OpShop singer, Jason Kerrison described the performance. Hunter said it was "mesmerising".
Another well received contestant was 17-year-old student Kale Simpson, who did not seem to lack for self-confidence. Playing a guitar, he sang a song called Confusion - based on a rough patch he had in a relationship.
"We could've just heard the future winner right there," judge, and former UB40 frontman, Ali Campbell said.
Then when seven-year-old Jayden TJ, long black hair held back by a colourful bandanna, played guitar and sang Mustang Sally, Campbell said: "You're a future star, trust me on that."
Another youthful hopeful, 11-year-old Fletcher Oxford, sounded as if he might have thought a little long when he explained how he played for his runaway cat Sushi.
But that was unimportant when he launched into When You Say Nothing At All.
"You just smashed it, my friend. You just smashed it to smithereens. Well done," Campbell said.
Not everyone went so well.
Top Shop, a group of five university students who described themselves as a boy band from Dunedin, received only one vote, from Hunter: "because you're entertaining".
Backstage presenter, and television weatherman, Tamati Coffey, when told one of them was studying music, commented: "The rest of you probably shouldn't ..."
Kerrison interrupted another hopeful to tell him that if he wanted to win the show he should probably tune his guitar.
Howling basset hound Dougal also failed to make the grade.
"I don't think it's a talent," Campbell said. "I think that that's what dogs do naturally. They howl."
Contact juggler Mr Klink looked to be making an early impression as he swept a glass sphere around his hands, but then it went wrong.
"It's a bummer you dropped your ball," Hunter noted.
What did you think about the episode?
- © Fairfax NZ News
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