Brassy entrants and fun-loving jury

GORDON BROWN
Last updated 05:00 15/09/2012
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NZGT: New Zealand has got talent.

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New Zealand's Got Talent - of course it has!

After Sunday night's opening episode (TV One at 8.30pm), you could tell this series is going to be a hit.

There was much to like, parts to absolutely love, and hardly anything to dislike. If I needed any proof of that, Mrs Brown, who often gets embarrassed watching these sorts of programmes, also loved it, and never more so than when 10-year-old Jessie sang at the end. What a wee treasure she was, but more on her later.

I had reservations about Tamati Coffey being the compere, he's nice but bland and can be a bit earnest, but with one exception he was very good and entered into the spirit of the show.

The one time he did lose the plot was when some ladies were doing a belly dancing number, with mixed results and Tamati decided he should loosen his shirt and do his own belly dance number in the wings. You half expected Petra from the breakfast show to suddenly turn up and make it a duet.

But it was an isolated lapse on a night in which fun and talent ruled.

The judges, Rachel, Jason and Ali, were super, although Jason got off to a false start when he voted for Bill and his brass band to go through. Generally though, they laughed and shed a tear in all the right places (mouths and eyes) and added to proceedings, especially when Rachel good-naturedly joined a dancing geek on stage for what turned out to be a spot of dirty dancing - by her at least. In that one move she captured the essence of New Zealand's Got Talent. There wasn't quite the vivisection of some of the lame contestants that happens when Simon Cowell lets loose, but to be honest, it didn't need it. Bad singers and dancers don't really need to be told they are bad, unless they think they are good and then a judge is needed to cut them down to size, while we at home applaud.

It started off with Bill, an old busker who performs as "Bill's Brass Band". He did a terrible rendition of the old Dad's Army number, Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler?

But the good thing about it was that it was done with lashings of humour. Bill took the proverbial and clearly was having fun, especially when he had to engage the clashing of the cymbals, which came thudding down on his head with some force - and wincing from the judges and audience alike.

Rachel also has already come out with the one liner that could well be the mainstay of the show for her: “You are what this show is all about!" indeed. Several of them qualified for that homage. Unbelievably, Jason thought he should go through to the next round, but Rachel and Al put a stop to that. It was a lively start to the show and what an extraordinary lineup was to follow. There was an Elvis impersonator who was slightly less tuneful than a castrated camel and was quickly put out to pasture. The belly dancers weren't too bad, but there's a limit to how much talent there is in a collective bevy of bellies.

There was a woman of mature years singing with mixed success, and Jason said it all for us when he let her go gently. "With the utmost of respect, that's awful."

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There was a confident young man, Tawaroa, who could sing and when he said he was going to sing a Rod Stewart number, Rachel, an ex-Mrs Rod Stewart, was blushing. He sung pretty well, serenaded her and then reduced our Rach to tears. Mrs B thought he should go through because he looked like Sonny Bill whatsisname who used to play for the All Blacks. He did and he did.

Judge Jason wasn't so impressed. "There's always a danger singing to one judge when there are three."

There was a 9-year-old girl who actually could yodel, a Maori performing group who were a great mixture of humour and dance and a large lad who could sing beautifully.

But there were two absolute stars. The first was Jessie, as I said earlier. She had the voice of an angel, a lovely smile and (the bit which impressed Mrs B) impeccable manners. She captivated everyone and she could win this, or as Rachel inevitably said, “you are what this show is all about".

The other standout contestant was Olivia, a woman of mature years. She too could sing like an angel, but she threw everyone when she revealed she was 91. The word sprightly does not do her justice, she didn't look a day over 89.

She went through to the next round and you couldn't help but think . . . she is what this show is all about.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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