Talent lines up in quest for TV fame

By Anne-Marie Emerson

The queue stretched right across the War Memorial Hall forecourt as Wanganui's singing hopefuls waited patiently to audition for The X Factor.

The music talent television programme is holding pre-auditions in 27 centres throughout New Zealand and yesterday it was Wanganui's turn.

More than 100 people lined up to sing in front of the show's executive producers.

Among the hopefuls was Maddy Stoneman, of Wanganui, who oozed serenity in her simple cream dress as she waited in line with her guitar and her best friend, Shannen Cummins.

Miss Stoneman, who is about to start Year 13 at Nga Tawa, said before the audition she was not nervous: "I'm just excited."

She decided to audition because she had been encouraged to by her friends.

"I've always enjoyed singing, and I write my own songs too."

Her music choice was unusual - she sang her own arrangement of The House Of The Rising Sun by The Animals. She also had other songs prepared.

Miss Cummins had no doubt her friend would wow the judges.

"She is an amazing singer."

Rose Swale from TV3 said she was delighted by the turnout in Wanganui, and around the country.

She said a large cross-section of people had auditioned, some of whom were "exceptional".

"But we always knew it would be great ... By taking the pre-auditions to places like Wanganui, it gives everybody the opportunity to sing for us."

Ms Swale said the best from each pre-audition would be selected to audition in front of The X Factor's four judges and a live audience in Auckland in late February. From there, the top 12 contestants will be mentored by the four judges until the winner is chosen.

Two judges have been revealed - singer-songwriter Daniel Bedingfield and Australian Idol winner Stan Walker. The show will screen on TV3 later this year.

Ms Swale said contestants were given either a "no" or a "maybe" by the judges. Those given a "maybe" would receive a letter in a few weeks to confirm whether they had made the next round.

So for Miss Stoneman it will be an anxious couple of weeks. "I was really happy with my performance. And the judges liked me, so now I'll just have to wait."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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