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Reality shows can get pretty rowdy, oftentimes because contestants don’t handle rejections or criticisms very well. Once in a blue moon, however, the people who cross a line are the ones sitting at the judges table, and such was the case on a recent episode of the New Zealand version of The X Factor. You can watch the mean-spirited video, below, but just in case you find it too disheartening, we’ll go ahead and tell you that the two pop stars were totally ousted from the series after their outburst.
New Zealand’s The X Factor is only in its second season. For Season 2, the show added Natalia Kills and Willy Moon, two singer-songwriters who have been in the business for some time and who also happen to be married to one another. They might have a modicum of talent in their professional lives, but as judges, they have a mean girl mentality. In the video, a young man with slicked hair and a suit on performs, and is treated to a tongue-lashing from Natalia Kills, who calls him out for copying her husband, the only man in the universe to be white and rock a suit onstage. Keep in mind that Willy Moon’s biggest claim to fame is having a song that hit #26 on the U.K. singles chart, which is a nice number but not a number that screams "I have hordes of followers who want to copy me."
After the poor kid gets called “artistically atrocious” and “disgusting” by Kills, Willy Moon decides to go a little meaner with his own critique, because why not? Here’s how he compared the kid to a Psycho character.
I mean, it's like Norman Bates dressing up in his mother's clothing. It's just a little bit creepy and I feel like you're going to stitch someone's skin to your face and then kill everyone in the audience.
Look, some people who make it to the main stage on The X Factor are going to be good, and some are decidedly going to stink, but it’s the job of the judge to explain why he or she did not like the performance in a constructive manner. Competition shows are designed so that judges are never going to be able to say positive things about everyone who pops up onstage. Regardless, there’s no reason to be unrelentingly cruel, either.
Following the airing of the episode, the above X Factor video went viral and a petition went up on Change.org demanding the two be fired. The company in charge, Media Works, responded by actually firing the couple from the hit series, also deeming their behavior unacceptable.
Contestants put their all into this competition and they should expect to receive feedback and criticism that is professional and constructive. We no longer have confidence that Kills and Moon are the right people to perform the role of X Factor judges and they will leave the show, effective immediately.
The X Factor, much like the now-cancelled US version of the series (and unlike the UK version), has not been wildly popular in New Zealand, and Kills and Moon were brought on in the hopes they could add interest to the series. That has certainly happened, just not in the way that producers expected. Anyone who makes Simon Cowell look like a tame kitty is a frightening prospect, indeed.