Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Locals strut their stuff for X-Factor judges

Napier singer George Foreman, 17, believes he has the right amount of skill, experience and "diva" to prove to judges he has the X-factor, as auditions for the reality TV show kick off in Hawke's Bay today.

Hundreds of hopefuls were expected to flock to East Pier in Napier from 10 this morning, to show a celebrity judging panel of four, including Daniel Bedingfield and Stan Walker, that they have what is needed to win the X-Factor New Zealand.

Napier Boys' High School student George, and his fellow performer friends, say they believe he has what it takes to make it far in the career-making competition.

"I'm pretty confident, but not too confident," George said. "I have been practising for years for an opportunity like this, it's a long time coming.

"It's nerve-racking getting there, but when I'm onstage it's just natural. You have to have a big ego to get somewhere you know? You have to be a diva to get somewhere because you can't be trampled down all the time."

George took to the stage when he was a child and hasn't looked back.

"I have been doing stuff like this for ages," he said. "I was about 8 when I first had my real taste of performing in some little shows in our community.

"I want to be a musician and I have always wanted to be a musician and be famous for my work."

Best friend Emma Katene, 17, said George was sure to impress the judges and be an audience favourite.

"I haven't met anyone who can sing like George" she said. "He's got what we call a 'black woman's voice', and that's pretty much my summary of his singing. I also think he has got a personality that the audience will like."

Friend and fellow cast member of Hairspray, Ritchell Maxwell, said George had "the vibe" and she, too, could see him going far.

"I have only known him since December but he definitely has the X-factor. He just has such a smiling personality and always makes you laugh. I think he will go a long way. He's got the determination and the ambition."

George counts Christina Aguilera, James Brown and Whitney Houston as his biggest icons, and will sing I'd Rather Go Blind by blues legend Etta James today.

"It's got a lot of emotions behind the song and it sounds crazy but it kind of speaks to me and is good for my voice."

The Hawke's Bay X-Factor NZ auditions will be held at East Pier in Napier from 10am to 5pm today.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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