New X Factor NZ judge Ruby Frost admits there will be many viewers watching the show wondering who she is.

The pink-haired, Auckland-based pop star has built up a reasonable profile on the local music scene in the past few years, and released her debut album Volition last year, but she's hardly a well-known Kiwi music name.

"I haven't been around that long, I've only just put out my first album, and I know people are going to think I'm a really odd choice. I've anticipated that. But I'm just keen to roll up my sleeves and put my two cents in," she says.

"All I can say is, watch the show and decide for yourself. It's going to be a bit of an adventure and I don't really know what to expect."


The 25-year-old was announced as a judge today along with Melanie Blatt, a former member of British girl group All Saints who were best known for the song Never Ever from their self-titled 1997 debut album.

They join Kiwi pop star Stan Walker and New Zealand-born, British-based singer-songwriter Daniel Bedingfield.

X Factor NZ, which will be hosted by Dominic Bowden, follows a similar format to the American version meaning after the auditions the top 12 will split into groups and will be mentored by the judges. The on-air date is yet to be revealed.

This weekend the X Factor pre-auditions come to Auckland starting tomorrow at the Manukau Institute of Technology in Otara (10am-5pm) and on Saturday at Tapac in Motions Rd, Western Springs (10am-5pm).

Contestants who are successful at the pre-auditions will perform in front of the judges and a live audience.

Frost says working hard within the local industry over the past few years has given her a perspective unique from the other judges.

"I've been playing shows relentlessly and working with a record label so I've got to know what works here, and I've got a good knowledge of today's music industry, which is constantly changing. And I really enjoy that business side of things, the branding and talking about how to keep fresh, just as much as the performing."

She also knows a thing or two about talent quests, with MTV's 42Unheard competition helping kickstart her career in music, and she believes winning X Factor is a chance for someone to make it on the world stage.

"The fact that it's Simon Cowell, it's massive, and he's taking quite a keen interest in the New Zealand show; to say you've won X Factor in any country is big because the opportunities that can come from that make people sit up and take notice."

Blatt can't wait to see what kind of artists and voices the judges will discover in New Zealand, and says her knowledge of the business and her refusal to conform to music industry ideals will make her a top judge and mentor.

"I will be looking for artists who have their own vibe going on and are not just copies of what is out there already.

"I've also got a big mouth and am happy to share my opinions whether people like them or not."

- TimeOut