Terminally ill Hawke's Bay woman's X Factor dreams

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A Hawke's Bay woman with terminal cancer was among those vying for a shot at the big time at X Factor New Zealand pre-auditions in Napier yesterday.

Nearly 200 hopefuls flocked to East Pier in Napier to sing their hearts out to a judging panel seeking the country's Next Big Thing.

Hastings woman Ira Edwards, 35, was among those trying to impress but her motivation was different.

The mother of two has bone and liver cancer, for which there is no cure, and has taken up singing because she can no longer dance.

"When I sing the pain goes away," she told her mother Frances Smiler-Edwards.

"When you're in my position, anything that you have to look forward to makes you stronger."

Ms Edwards sang a Lauren Hill song and has yet to hear if she made it through to the next round of auditions.

It was rare that someone would get a definite "yes" on the spot, said TV3 publicist Rose Swale. But that was no sweat for Napier woman Jo Vrijs.

The 33-year-old sang her own song, Sister Soul, and Little Red Corvette by Prince, and was the only person told to pack her bags for the next stage in Auckland.

"It was awesome and I'm really rapt I got through," Ms Vrijs said. "I have entered quite a lot of these competitions before and, because I am into house [music], the stuff I sing no one has ever heard of, but I am prepared to stick to my roots and stayed true to me.

"I've just graduated the musical school at EIT and that definitely gave me the ability to get in there and perform ... now being on the stage is second nature."

Other contestants were not so lucky in the cut-throat competition, due to air on New Zealand television this year.

Napier boy George Foreman, 17, said although he initially received a yes, he was not called forward when the successful numbers were read out.

"But it's fine," he said. "I'll have to make it the old-fashioned way."

Ms Swale said the bar was very high for those getting through.

"It's called the X Factor because we are looking for someone that really does have the X factor," she said. "There has been lots of really good singers turn up, and we would love to have them, but there can only be one winner and the bar has been so high that you have to be exceptional to impress the producers."

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