A quick word with Iain Stables

By Rebecca Barry Hill

Iain Stables is a NZ Idol judge, radio host and trouble-maker

How are you?

I've got the flu and I feel like a bag of shit.

Right then. And how are you feeling about your first Idol show on Sunday night?

I'm kind of looking forward to it now.

You weren't before?

Obviously there's been a lot of work around the country and some very long days for auditions. I'm looking forward to seeing it all kick in.

How will you fit Idol in with your radio show, especially with all the travel?

I've got different studios in different cities I can use. Obviously I'll have amazing balance in my life. My time-management skills are complete crap ...

So we might turn on the TV on Sunday and you won't be there?

Yeah, I'll be having a sleep under the desk.

Are there any rules about what you can and can't talk about on radio?

No, not really. I'll probably have to interview myself.

Did you have to audition for the Idol job?

At the end of last year I was talking to Frankie [Stevens] on our show and he said, "Why don't you come and judge next year?" It was just a throwaway comment and I forgot about it. Then I began looking in the papers and the gossip columns and apparently I was a judge. There was more and more media and I was like, "I don't know anything about this." I got a call from the Australian network producer who said, "I hear you're an Idol judge and we haven't met so perhaps we'd better." So he invited me to come in to do a screen test ... it just felt right.

Comfy chair?

Yeah. At least I don't have to sit on phone books like Megan [Alatini] does. She has to sit on five phone books to be the same level as me and Frankie.

Who were the other candidates for the position?

I heard a few rumours: Joe Cotton, Jordan Luck, Annie Crummer.

So you're the new Paul Ellis?

We are very different and probably have absolutely nothing in common. Paul used to sell records, I source them and play them.

What about in the wardrobe department?

Absolutely nothing in common.

Did the Idol producers want to give you a makeover?

They said "You're definitely a bit of a jeans and T-shirt boy and there will be times when we're going to dress you a little better than that. Just let us worry about that and trust us." So I am. But I've had quite a few jeans and T-shirts come through. I think they're keeping me quite T-shirty.

Radio is about being heard not seen. How do you feel about the TV side of things?

With ZM we're so promotionally active - fronting events, compering stages and concerts in front of 30,000 people so you do get a lot of media anyway.

Any one-liners you're saving up?

No, not at all. If I try to rehearse or pre-script anything or read a cue card, I can't do it. It just kind of comes out but I don't know where it comes from.

You've ended up in court because of things you've said on radio. Are you going to be a headache for the Idol producers?

I love live, don't you? Once it goes out you can't bring it back. I certainly hope so. Put that in - that'll give them the shits. Although I'm trying to keep within my media parameters. [Expletive, expletive, expletive].

Why should we care about Idol a third time?

It's a different Idol this year. It has a bit of bite. Because we're going on the road we're going to see a bit more fun in the audiences too.

You've said you can't sing or dance - what gives you the right to tell others if they can or not?

I've been part of lots of acts and artists from conception to delivery. We have a pretty bloody good idea of what's going to work. Could I imagine hearing you 300 times a day on the air? Plenty of people can sing well but it's whether you can work an audience, communicate with people, and have an attitude of difference. I'm looking for a demon.

* NZ Idol starts Sunday, TV2, 7.30pm

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