Brian Edwards Media

Judgement Day for X-Factor judges – my pennyworth!

Natalia Kills and Willie Moon

 I’ve just been invited to sign a petition to take Natalia Kills off The X-Factor. The invitation and the petition are now de trop, since Ms Kills and her husband Willy Moon have already been dumped from the show. An excellent decision by TV3, if I may say so.

I have watched The X-Factor occasionally. Real talent can emerge from the competition. Benny Tipene and Jackie Thomas spring to mind.

Talent among the judges is a rarer commodity. The qualifications for the job appear to be that you should be pitch deaf and have the depth of personality of a stone. I will except Melanie Blatt from this unkind assessment. She is both beautiful and bright. Stan Walker occasionally reminds me somewhat of the Harry Enfield character Tim Nice-but-Dim, but that is an unfair and inaccurate judgement of a likeable personality who tempers honesty with mercy in his assessments of The X-Factor’s invariably trembling seekers after fame.

The most recent confidence and soul-destroying judgements from the late, but not lamented Kills and Moon, are perhaps merely further evidence of the truism that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. One could perhaps add that the smaller the fry wielding the power, the greater the probable level of corruption. This is perhaps a version of the “small man, big car” syndrome.

To be fair I’d never heard of Natalia Kills or Willy Moon until they appeared as judges on The X-Factor. To be honest as well as fair, they have almost certainly never heard of me either. I hope not. May the circles in which we move never converge!

My judgement of them before Ms Kills decided that it was time to demonstrate the brutality implied by her name was that they looked and sounded like clowns masquerading as connoisseurs. But clowns do not take themselves as seriously as these two.

I tell a story about meeting the great Yehudi Menuhin in 1970 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Auckland. I was very nervous. Trying to make conversation before the interview, I heard myself asking, “Mr Menuhin, do you think the violin will ever be as popular as the guitar?” One of Menuhin’s minders laughed and said something to the effect, “What a preposterous question!” Menuhin thought for a moment, then said to the minder, “My dear chap, that is the musical question of the age.” I knew that wasn’t true. But I also knew that Menuhin had not approved of his minder’s put-down of a callow and very nervous interviewer. Now that shows character.

Cruelty becomes no-one regardless of the circumstances. The cruelty of the powerful towards the powerless is simply unforgivable. That is as true of judges in a TV talent competition as it is of haranguing judges in the courts. In both arenas the quality of mercy is all too often strain’d.

Anyway, good outcome, don’t you think? The baddies get their comeuppance!



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  1. Brilliant outcome. Where do they find trailer trash of this quality. I wish Yehudi Menuhin had had the chance to enter. Probably would not have been accepted in a suit.

  2. Aside from the typo (hotell ?), there was never a truer word said.

  3. Haven’t watched the show, but inevitably criticism tells you a lot more about the critic than about the subject. Obviously that is something these two have yet to learn.

  4. Seems these two’ve been somewhat short-changed: Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes seem to have lasted 15 seconds. And rightly so. Tossers.

  5. You can’t beat a good Kills and Moon drama..

  6. They were play-acting at a role and it got away from them. Plus they weren’t very good at it.

    If they wanted to adopt the “bad guy” TV persona, then they needed to take lessons from this giant of 1970s TV: –

  7. I have just been reading about the ‘archetype’ of The Ruler. A ‘shadow’ or negative side of the Ruler is the ‘grandstanding bully’. Describes what I saw of Ms Kills on the news, last night, perfectly.

  8. The Australian version of the program had, as judges, Ronan Keating, Natalie Bassingthwaighte,Dannii Minogue and Redfoo. That I, who never tunes to commercial radio other than to dip a toe into the occasional talkback, had heard of 3/4 of them indicates – to me at least – that they weren’t nonentities elevated to experts. And apparently Mr Foo, who’s had his own issues with outbursts, does at least have more than one hit to his name.

    So I’m gratified that someone else admits to never having heard our read a single word about these people until their current tantrum briefly became grist for the tweet mill.

    I’m not averse to a good insult, but Oscar Wilde these two clearly were not. There surely must be New Zealanders better at music, better at crafting barbed critiques, and better at both. So what were the producers thinking? Our, as with so many television-related decisions, were they not thinking at all?

  9. A good rule for modern life is that if you see or read something in an entertainment context that makes you outraged enough to want to post on social media, then you’re probably the unwitting victim of a marketing or PR strategist (such as the nefarious Mr Edwards ).

    • “… the unwitting victim of a marketing or PR strategist (such as the nefarious Mr Edwards).

      Well now, Lee, that comes close to defamatory. “Nefarious”, according to the Shorter Oxford, means “wicked, iniquitous, villainous”, here in the context of my current profession.

      Never mind. I won’t reach for a lawyer. And the idea that this has all been a PR or advertising set-up to boost ratings for a failing show, has already been mooted.

      I’m inclined to doubt it because I can’t see who will gain in the end. Hardly Kills and Moon who, on the face of it, are now out of a job. And hardly TV3 who might experience a curiosity based spike in ratings, but not anything lasting.

      Then again, with BE and JC as the replacements for Kills and Moon, who knows what might happen.

      • 9.1.1


        My best guess is that they were either told to, or expected to be, meanies, but took it too far. In terms of “engagement” (whatever that means) it’s been a winner for the show.

        • My best guess is that, in the interest of ratings, they were encouraged to be a bit more caustic and it got out of hand. Time may tell.

  10. Or Dean Barker might well be interested in a new direction……. :-)

  11. Excellent summary Brian of a massive shoot themselves in the foot from Kills and Moon. As for the conspiracy theory, bah! The cost alone to TV3 of paying out Kills & Moon would blow that one out of the water, not to mention the threat of sponsors walking away. Bob Lindop the prize for the best summary is yours !
    You can’t beat a good Kills and Moon drama.. ripper!

  12. Beautifully crafted as always and on the button commentary Mr Edwards, well said.

  13. Shakespeare said it: “Man, proud man, dressed in a little brief authority, … like an angry ape, play such fantastic tricks before high heaven as make the angels weep”

    Reality TV is largely responsible for driving me away from television – it galls me that NZ On Air deems it worthy of funding.

    Nice Menuhin story Brian, calling to mind another favourite quote: “a great man is always willing to be little”

  14. But know we not if a great man will Little be…