Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Lydia Jenkin: Judging the X Factor judges

Boy band Moorhouse. Photo / Norrie Montgomery
Boy band Moorhouse. Photo / Norrie Montgomery

We're five weeks into The X Factor now, so it's about time to take stock of the show and stack up those good points and not-so-good points so far.

Here are some thoughts.

* Sunday's first live show was way too long. Two-and-a-half hours of television is a marathon and there was far too much time spent on listening to the judges dole out cliches and platitudes, which is never entertaining. Focus on the performances and keep everything else snappy.

The padding in Monday night's show was even more appalling. Stop repeating things! And adding unnecessarily long pauses.

* The little biographical segments where we found out a little more about the acts, their families, and their hometowns were actually quite fun and remarkably un-cringey.

Tom Batchelor's mum was a bit of a star too. Someone's gotta tell him about that coat, and it made Tom very likeable when he walked on stage, with his quirky, slightly drunken-looking swagger.

"Tom's swag" I think Stan aptly called it.

* So far the judges have been predictably boring. They have a general range of approximately 10 different comments, including "you smashed it", "I thought that was the wrong song choice", "I think you can give us more" and "I'm so proud of you". It's by far the worst part of the show and makes me want to cover my ears. So when they do say something useful/amusing, I want to give them a gold star.

Ruby's comment that Cassie's performance was "a little bit Glee" - perfect. Try harder please, judges.

* As much as Daniel might appear to be a crazy man, his enthusiasm (the whooping, cheering, and general malarkey) is what the show needs more of.

Obviously nerves were running high on Sunday, but can everyone please have a bit more fun? Our politicians rark it up more than this lot do.

* Including live performances from other musicians (stars, professionals, chart-toppers, whatever you want to call them) on the Monday night show is a crucial element - because they demonstrate just how hard it is to do a really strong live performance in that setting. Live television is never overly kind to musicians.

* One point contestants might want to take on board: regardless of whether you "like his style" or not, Willy Moon was breathing hard and visibly pumped up by the time he finished his song.

That kind of vigour and dedication is what they should be bringing to their performances. Don't be so subdued - you only have to sing for about three minutes, there's no reason to be conserving energy. Get physical.

* It was wrong for Eden Roberts to go home so early. She has a lovely, distinctive singing voice and I thought her delivery was one of the more assured performances of the week.

Both Whenua and Taye gave more disappointingly bland performances this week, and Fletcher's performance was darn shaky (though I think he deserves to choose a better song and have another go).

* The most likely looking winners so far: Maaka Fiso, Jackie Thomas, Cassie Henderson, Benny Tipene and Moorhouse.

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Childhood music lessons eventually led to degrees in music and media studies for Lydia Jenkin, launching her career as an entertainment writer. A love of late nights watching local musos - whether in dingy bars or at summer music festivals – saw her become assistant editor at NZ Musician magazine for nearly five years before she jumped at the chance to join the TimeOut team. She's at her happiest when ranting about her latest music discovery, but is equally keen on excellent film and television (The Dark Horse and True Detective are her picks so far for 2014).

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