Sacked X Factor New Zealand judges: We were encouraged to be outspoken – it went too far

Natalia Kills and her husband Willy Moon have apologised to contestant Joe Irvine, who was the subject of their bizarre tirade during a live edition of the show - but hint at “behind–the-scenes” pressures to be controversial

X Factor New Zealand judges Natalia Kills and Willy Moon have ‘broken their silence’ after being fired from the show following a bizarre tirade aimed at a contestant during a live edition last weekend.

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Kills, an English pop singer, claimed on the programme that Joe Irvine had copied Moon’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.”

Moon backed his wife up, comparing Irvine to Psycho killer Norman Bates and saying “I feel like you’re gonna stitch someone’s skin to your face and then kill everybody in the audience.”

The pair were fired the following morning for what New Zealand broadcaster MediaWorks described as their “completely unacceptable” “destructive tirades” but have now taken to Twitter to apologise to Irvine and also to hint at backstage goings-on that may have pressurised them into their extreme reactions.

“A lot goes on behind-the-scenes of a reality show and what you see isn’t always the whole story,” wrote Kills, adding “the show brought me on to bring passion, dramatic expression and perspective. I was encourage to be outspoken and things got out of hand.”

Moon echoed her sentiments, saying “The reality of ‘reality’ TV is that there’s a lot the viewer doesn’t see. The show encourages judges to be forthright and highly opinionated. It went too far and I never intended to single anyone out. I wish the contestants, crew, and particularly Joe, all the best.”

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Kills has since used her Twitter account to celebrate the success of Madonna’s number one US album Rebel Heart, for which she co-wrote the track Holy Water, on which she also performs.