Paul Casserly watched too much TV as a child.

Paul Casserly: Judging the judges

X Factor USA judges Britney Spears, Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid. Photo / Supplied
X Factor USA judges Britney Spears, Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid. Photo / Supplied

"Judge not, lest ye be judged," said God, or some other joker who wrote down what he reckoned God said. It's one of his better lines, like the one about the rich man and the eye of the needle. What then would he make of Simon Cowell?

It's been interesting to compare New Zealand's Got Talent with the big overseas judge-based shows, The X Factor and The Voice, and even America's Got Talent which Prime has craftily programmed on Sunday night's just after New Zealand's Got Talent.

There's something a little special-needs about the local product, especially the judges. Is it too judgemental to refer to them as the smiling goof, the model/mum's-bum and the affable bullfrog? Mostly Jason, Rachel and UB40 are likeable chimps, but there's no killer instinct, no Simon Cowell, which disappointed me at first.

Now I'm starting to think that all is as it should be. With a population of four million as opposed to 300 million, the last thing we need to do is to bash our poor performers over the chops with brutal first world honesty.

The fact they can round up a few dozen people who can sing and stand up at the same time is a near miracle.

You may have noticed that many of the best ones appeared on Prime's version of New Zealand's Got Talent a few years back, so obviously we have talent, just not very much of it, hence the recycling. What we're looking at is an inclusive day-room rather than a coliseum, with psych nurse Tamati backstage to lend the bewildered a helping hand. Against the glare of the shiny overseas version, it can all seem a little backward, third-world almost, but that's actually who we are. As someone once said, we are the Masterton of the world.

New Zealand's Got Talent is admitting that, and owning it. It's something that's been embraced for some time on Maori TV's Homai Te Paki Paki - the penultimate episode of which is this Friday at 8.30pm. It's a show that has so few pretensions it could actually do with a couple. While The X Factor is at its best early in the season, Homai is best viewed towards the end. If you're a fan of the genre, give it a watch or set your PVR, especially for the final in two weeks time.

There's no denying that Simon Cowell sadistically bashing narcissistic idiots is one of the great delights of the modern age. The first few weeks of The X Factor (TV3, Friday, 7.30pm) have been brilliant, aside from the hokey preambles - Simon's entrance on an electric scooter was particularly lame-balls. Britney Spears turns out to be rather likeable, and I'm getting some good hate-watching out of Demi Lovato. I'm not sure what it is; maybe it's her desperation in trying to outshine Britney, like a little sister who's had too much Red Bull. But I don't hate her guts like this guy does.

It will all turn to custard later in the series as it always does, but for now the viewing is good. Which brings me to The Voice (TV2, Friday, 8.30pm). The Voice actually has the best judges of all. The Australian series was marred by the f-wittery of Delta Goodram and Joel Madden, although again, they give good hate-watch. The American iteration has the big black one who strokes a white pussy like a Bond villain (Cee Lo Green), and the likeable country dude (Blake Shelton) who sounds like the spit of Hank from King of The Hill.

Then there's Christina Aguilera and her boobs, and that knob from Maroon 5 (Adam Levine), who turns out to be okay. If you haven't seen The Voice or The X Factor, or don't think you like 'those kinds of shows', you should give them a look one Friday night, possibly aided by an IPA or some Pinot or even some laughing tobacco.

I used to be a denier but may Jesus Christ strike me dead if it didn't turn out that once again, I was wrong.

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Paul Casserly watched too much TV as a child.

It began with Dr Who, in black and white, when it was actually scary. The addiction took hold with Chips, in colour. He made his mum knit a Starsky and Hutch cardigan. Later, Twin Peaks would blow what was left of his mind. He’s been working in radio and TV since the 1990s and has an award in his pool room for Eating Media Lunch.

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