Final countdown for X Factor hopefuls

By Alison King

Who has the X factor? Rotorua experts are divided between Benny Tipene and Jackie Thomas for the win in tonight's final episode.

The country will find out tonight who the winner is of the inaugural TV3 talent show. Last night viewers got to watch Benny, Jackie and Whenua Patuwai at their best and tonight three months' of television and seven months since auditions began, there will be a winner.

"I think Benny will win," said Sam Yeoward, whose group TYP (The Young Project) were eliminated in May.

"He's different to the others, although Whenua could have a chance. They're all really talented and were my picks for the finalists. It's extremely exciting."

Sam, a John Paul College student who was at last night's final in Auckland when he spoke to the Rotorua Daily Post, said his group was still together but was focussing on their studies for the rest of the year before pursuing their musical careers.

Waiariki Academy of Singing and Music director Richard Anaru said he thought it would be between Jackie Thomas and Benny but he was leaning towards Benny.

"They both have outstanding careers in music ahead of them," he said. "I think the show will give them a fantastic platform, it's a wonderful opportunity. Benny is a songwriter and that's a long hard road as we all know. It's a tough competition but Benny has had some amount of training - that's obvious in the way he handles himself."

Rotorua songstress Evelyn Falconer said she thought Jackie Thomas should win.

"She has a fantastic voice and she commits to the performance. Benny is very good but she's got wider appeal."

Mrs Falconer said she had been a keen viewer of the programme but said that those who didn't make it through should not be disheartened.

"The reality is it's just a TV programme."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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