Okay, time for the confession. I watched XFactorNZ. From start to finish. This is the first time I’ve watched something like this. I got caught up when I heard that two people I know had made it from the Christchurch regionals up to Auckland so I sat through the 4 hours of auditions, never saw either of them. But I kind of got caught up in it all. So for the last 10 weeks, every Sunday and Monday night I’ve had the tv on … sometimes only in the background.
I don’t really like the concept behind these shows. I know some very talented musicians who have worked really hard to do well and the type of music I like is ‘real’ music, not manufactured pop. I did my stint (for 4 years) on student radio and I’m a big advocate of homegrown music. XFactor kind of goes against everything I stand for. So why did I keep watching? Benny Tipene. As Mel Blatt said “the little indie boy got all the way through to the final”. Whether it was singing The Smiths on prime tv, (whodathunk?), giving the legendary Chris Knox song “Not Given Lightly” a new voice, or singing his own original song (brave at such a stage in the comp) Benny did things his way. He turned every cover into his own – not some karaoke copy. He was eliminated in the first half of the grand final, and in a way I’m glad. He’s managed to expose mainstream New Zealand to some real homegrown talent, and that exposure should set him up for the future. Good luck Benny!
As for the winner? I’m quite pleased for Jackie Thomas – the one singer who never hit a bung note in the comp. And there were plenty of bung notes in the comp. Honestly you do wonder what the judges hear sometimes! She does have a lovely voice and I thought the way she hugged her mum and said “mum I won!” at the end was charming.
But back to some music… as it’s my Listening To category today… On Sunday night someone tweeted saying “what’s that song?” when Benny sung. It was great to be able to tweet back the answer. Another triumph for indie! It was the incredibly beautiful song “Laura” by Bat for Lashes. Not an easy song to sing at all. I don’t have Benny’s version here. I have the original. Enjoy.