Husband and wife judges Natalia Kills and Willy Moon have been sacked from the New Zealand version of The X Factor after aiming an extraordinary rant at a contestant during a live edition of the show.
Kills, an English singer who hails from Bradford, claimed Joe Irvine had copied her husband’s sartorial style, telling him “as an artist who respects creative integrity and intellectual property I am disgusted by how much you have copied my husband. From the hair to the suit, do you not have any value or respect for originality? It’s cheesy, it’s disgusting, I personally fond it absolutely artistically atrocious. I am embarrassed to be sitting here having to even dignify you with an answer of my opinion.”
As the studio audience began to boo Kills, her husband Moon, a New Zealand-born singer-songwriter and producer, compared Irvine to Psycho killer Norman Bates, saying “to me it just feels a little bit cheap and absurd. 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 gonna stitch someone’s skin to your face and then kill everybody in the audience.”
Kills’ fellow judge and Brit Melanie Blatt, formerly of girl band All Saints, stepped in to defend Irvine, telling him “I don’t think many people have believed in you in your life but I believe in you… please don’t listen to her”.
Later that night, Blatt responded to an Instagram message from Kills thanking fans for supporting her “passionate opinions” with the following Twitter post.
Kills’ and Moon’s sacking was announced on Monday in a statement from Mark Weldon, chief executive of New Zealand broadcaster MediaWorks, which owns channel TV3 on which The X Factor New Zealand airs.
Weldon described the judges’ comments as “destructive tirades” and “completely unacceptable”.
“While the judges on X Factor are expected to provide critiques of the performances, we will not tolerate such destructive tirades from any of the judges,” said Weldon. “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.”