The X Factor (New Zealand TV series)

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For the current series, see The X Factor (New Zealand series 2).
The X Factor NZ
The X Factor New Zealand title card
Genre Reality television
Created by Simon Cowell
Presented by Dominic Bowden
Country of origin New Zealand
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 46 (as of 31 March 2015)
Original channel TV3
Picture format HDTV 1080i
Audio format Stereo
Original run 21 April 2013 (2013-04-21) – present (present)
Related shows
External links

The X Factor is a New Zealand television reality music competition, originating from the original UK series and based on the Australian The X Factor production format.[1] The first series premiered on the TV3 channel on 21 April 2013, with regular Sunday and Monday screenings weekly.[2] The show is open to anyone aged 14 and over, and the winner will be signed to Sony Music Entertainment New Zealand. The contestants are split into the show's four traditional categories: Boys, Girls, Over-25s and Groups.[3] From the second series, bands are also able to enter in the group category.[4]

The first season was hosted by Dominic Bowden, with recording artists Daniel Bedingfield, Melanie Blatt, Ruby Frost, and Stan Walker, as the show's four judges. Greymouth singer Jackie Thomas was the eventual winner of the first season.

In August 2014 a second season of The X Factor was confirmed by TV3 as part of its 2015 line-up, with auditions to be held later in 2014.[5] The second season will again be hosted by Dominic Bowden.[4] Husband and wife duo Willy Moon and Natalia Kills initially joined judges Stan Walker and Melanie Blatt in the second series, but the pair were fired following inappropriate comments to one of the contestants. TV3 are yet to announce the judges that will replace Kills and Moon. The live shows of the second series are accompanied by spin-off show The Xtra Factor, which screens on Four.[6] On March 17, 2015 it was announced by NZ On Air, that funding for The X Factor NZ had been cut and that the show would not be funded for a third series. NZ On Air also stated that there wouldn't be any funding for any reality singing shows for a while.[7]

On March 15, 2015 during the first live episode of The X Factor, Natalia Kills and Willy Moon bullied a contestant. On 16 March 2015, several hours before that day's episode aired, it was announced that the two judges had been fired from the series.[8]


The X Factor was created by Simon Cowell in the United Kingdom and the New Zealand version is based on the original UK series. TV3 initially purchased the rights to produce a local version of The X Factor in 2010.[9] In September 2012, TV3 finally confirmed that the first series would begin production in early 2013.[10] Broadcast funding agency NZ On Air confirmed they would contribute $1.6 million to the first series as a minority investor, for the production of 30 episodes of 60 minutes duration each.[11]

The first series was co-produced by MediaWorks and FremantleMedia Australia. The series' key sponsors were Ford New Zealand as broadcast sponsor, Samsung Electronics as technology partner with McDonald's and Coca-Cola as programme partners.[12] The broadcast sponsor of series two is McDonald's, with Mazda, Fruttare, 2degrees and VO5 as programme partners.[13]

A second series of The X Factor was not included in TV3's 2014 line-up, however in August 2014 TV3 confirmed that a second series of the show would be made. Production began in November 2014 and the series will screen in 2015.[5] NZ On Air will contribute $800,000 minority funding to the second series.[14]

Selection process[edit]

There are five stages to the competition:

  • Stage 1: Pre-auditions (these auditions decide who will sing in front of the judges)
  • Stage 2: Judges' auditions
  • Stage 3: Bootcamp - Six-Chair Challenge
  • Stage 4: Judges' retreats
  • Stage 5: Live shows (finals)
The X Factor NZ Stage

Pre-auditions in front of the show's producers are held in towns and cities across New Zealand.[15] The successful auditionees chosen by the producers are invited back to the last set of auditions held in front of the judges and a live studio audience in Auckland.[16] From the judges' auditions and the second-chance Fast Ford Boot Camp (series one only), successful contestants then progress to the bootcamp round.[17] As of series two, the bootcamp included a live studio audience and used a six-seat challenge to choose the contestants to progress to the judges retreats' round.[18] At the retreats, contestants are divided into the four categories: Boys, Girls, Over-25s and Groups, and each category is assigned one of the judges as a mentor. Each judge then selects their top three contestants which make up the final 12 and progress to the live shows.[19] In the first series, one additional wildcard contestant was selected by public vote from four previously unsuccessful contestants from judges retreats, making the final 13.[20]

The live shows consist of two weekly live shows, the first featuring the contestants' performances and the second revealing the results of the public voting, culminating in one act being eliminated each week. In the initial live performance shows, each act performs one song (two songs during the semi-final and grand final shows) in front of the judges and a studio audience. The acts usually sing over a pre-recorded backing track, and backup dancers are commonly featured as well as stage props. Acts occasionally accompany themselves on guitar or piano. Each week has a different theme; each act's song is chosen according to the theme. After each act has performed, the judges comment on their performance. Heated disagreements, usually involving judges defending their acts against criticism, are a regular feature of the show. Once all the acts have performed, the phone lines open and the viewing public vote on which act they want to keep in the competition.

The results are announced during the live results show the following day. The two acts that received the lowest number of votes perform again in the "final showdown", and the judges vote on which of the two to send home. If the judges vote is a tie, the showdown goes to deadlock and the act with the lowest number of votes is eliminated from the competition. The live results shows also feature a number of celebrity guest performers.

Season summary[edit]

To date, one season has been broadcast, as summarized below.

     Contestant in (or mentor of) "Boys" category
     Contestant in (or mentor of) "Girls" category
     Contestant in (or mentor of) "Over 25s" category
     Contestant in (or mentor of) "Groups" category

Season Start Finish Winner Runner-up Third place Winning mentor Presenter(s) Main judges Guest judges
One 21 April 2013 22 July 2013 Jackie Thomas Whenua Patuwai Benny Tipene Daniel Bedingfield Dominic Bowden N/A
2 18 February 2015 TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA

Judges and hosts[edit]

Dominic Bowden hosted the first series and is due to reprise his role as host of the second series.[4][21]

The first series' four judges were New Zealand-born, UK-based singer-songwriter Daniel Bedingfield, former All Saints member Melanie Blatt, New Zealand singer-songwriter Ruby Frost as well as Australian-born Maori and Australian Idol winner Stan Walker.[22] Walker and Blatt returned as judges in the second series,[23] joined by new judges New Zealand-born singer Willy Moon and his wife, English singer Natalia Kills.[24] However, Moon and Kills were sacked from their roles as judges after the two humiliated a contestant.[25] They were replaced by Australian X Factor judge Natalie Bassingthwaighte and I Am Giant drummer Shelton Woolright.[26]

Judges' categories and their finalists[edit]

In each series, each judge is allocated a category to mentor and chooses three acts to progress to the live finals. This table shows, for each series, which category each judge was allocated and which acts he or she put through to the live finals.


     – Winning judge/category. Winners are in bold, eliminated contestants in small font.
Series Daniel Bedingfield Ruby Frost Stan Walker Melanie Blatt
One Girls
Jackie Thomas
Cassie Henderson
Eden Roberts
Whenua Patuwai
Benny Tipene
Tom Batchelor
Fletcher Mills
Over 25s
Anna Wilson
Maaka Fiso
Taye Williams
Series Willy Moon
Shelton Woolright
Natalia Kills
Natalie Bassingthwaighte
Stan Walker Melanie Blatt
Two Groups
Brendan Thomas and the Vibes
Mae Valley
Fare Thee Well
Beau Monga
Stevie Tonks
Nofo Lameko
Lili Bayliss
Nyssa Collins
Finlay Robertson
Over 25s
Steve Broad
Joe Irvine
Sarah Spicer


  • The first series enjoyed strong ratings with an average audience of 485,000, this is a significantlly high audience number for TV3. The first series also had strong online engagement, with over 120,000 Facebook fans and up to 70,000 people actively discussing the show. Every episode trended on Twitter, with #xfactornz sometimes trending internationally. The show's site at has over 6.3 million page impressions, with over 886,000 streams of full episodes and over 844,000 streams of individual song performances.[27] The grand final decider was watched by a cumulative audience of 1,326,000, with 553,976 votes cast to decide the winner.[28] Overall 3,285,500 New Zealanders (79.7% of the population) watched the first series at one point.
  • The second series was significantlly down in ratings from the first. An average of 343,280 people watched the premiere of the second series whilst over 467,000 people tuned in to watch the premiere of the first series; this is a 35% drop in viewers. On average over 1.3 million people watched the first week of the series overall. However the overall average of viewers for the second series is only down by 13% (currently at Live Show 4)


Series Episodes Premiere date Premiere
Rank Live Final date Finale ratings
(Grand final)
Rank Final Results date Finale ratings
(Final Results)
Rank Average
series ratings
1 28 21 April 2013 0.467 #4 21 July 2013 0.553 #3 22 July 2013 0.598 #3 0.428
2 31[29] 18 February 2015 0.343 #5 TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA

Controversy and criticism[edit]

During the first live show of the second series, judges Natalia Kills and her husband Willy Moon verbally attacked and ridiculed a contestant, resulting in an audible backlash from the audience and fellow judge Melanie Blatt, who later described Kills as "a twat" on social media for her behaviour.[30] The following day, MediaWorks received several complaints from viewers and the major sponsors of the show; McDonalds and 2Degrees. It was later announced by the show's producers that both Kills and Moon had been immediately removed from the program. The results night aired with only Walker and Blatt in attendance at the judging panel.[31]

The Xtra Factor[edit]

The Xtra Factor is a companion show that is broadcast on FOUR on after the main TV3 show.


  1. ^ "X-Factor follows reality 'bible' religiously". Stuff. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "X Factor Premiere episode information". TV3/Mediaworks. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "X Factor auditions". TV3. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Knight, Kim (24 August 2014). "X Factor NZ auditions hit the road again". Stuff (Fairfax). Retrieved 9 September 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "The X Factor NZ Returns For Season 2!". TV3. Mediaworks. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  6. ^ ""It’s Not Now, It’s the Future!" – The Sublime Mania of the MediaWorks New Season Launch". The Spin Off. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "X Factor judges Natalia Kills, Willy Moon sacked". 16 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "Kiwis to get X-Factor". NZ Herald. 20 June 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "X Factor NZ confirmed". 3 News. MediaWorks. 14 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "NZ On Air supports The X Factor NZ". NZ On Air. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  12. ^ "TV3 Signs Brit Award Winner For The X Factor NZ". Scoop. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  13. ^ "Mediaworks Partners with Mazda On the X Factor NZ". Scoop. Scoop. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "Celebrating NZ music’s top talent". NZ On Air. NZ On Air. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "THE X FACTOR NZ AUDITION DATES AND VENUES". TV3. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  16. ^ "Rotorua turns out to X Factor auditions". The Daily Post. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  17. ^ "Fast Ford to The X Factor boot camp". The Edge. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "The X Factor NZ Boot Camp Performance Day". TV3. Mediaworks. Retrieved 12 December 2014. 
  19. ^ "THE X FACTOR episode 1". TV3. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  20. ^ "X Factor NZ wildcard voting open". TV3. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  21. ^ "TV3 Announces Dominic Bowden as Host of the X Factor NZ". Scoop. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  22. ^ "Final Two Judges For The X Factor NZ Announced". TV3. Mediaworks New Zealand. 31 January 2013. 
  23. ^ Baillie, Russell (11 September 2014). "Round two for X Factor NZ judges". NZ Herald (APN). Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  24. ^ Walters, Laura (30 October 2014). "Husband and wife duo join X-Factor NZ judging panel". Stuff (Fairfax). Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  25. ^ "TV3 sacks X Factor judges Willy Moon and Natalia Kills for bullying contestant on live TV". NZ Herald (APN). 16 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  26. ^ "The X Factor Announces Two New Judges". TV3. Mediaworks. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  27. ^ "The X Factor NZ Sets New Audience Engagement Records". Scoop. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  28. ^ "More than half a million votes cast in 'X Factor' final". Voxy. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  29. ^ "Arts & Culture Funding". NZ On Air. 
  30. ^ Nissim, Mayer (16 March 2015). "Melanie Blatt on Natalia Kills X Factor rant: Sorry love, you're a tw*t". Digital Spy. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  31. ^ "TV3 sacks X Factor judges Willy Moon and Natalia Kills for bullying contestant on live TV". New Zealand Herald. 16 March 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 

External links[edit]