Two of the judges from the first season of The X Factor New Zealand will be returning for the next series.
England's former All Saints pop star Melanie Blatt and Australian-based Kiwi singer Stan Walker (pictured) have been confirmed to take up two of the four spots on the show's quartet of judges for the 2015 series.
TV3 isn't revealing who the other two judges will be - or whether they have yet been found. Producers are still in discussions with the other first series judges, Ruby Frost and Daniel Bedingfield, though Frost has been pursuing her music career overseas.
Meanwhile it's understood the producers are finding it hard, as they did on the first series, to convince credible local music industry figures to commit.
The X Factor NZ starts its pre-auditions on October 11 and this time is allowing instrument-playing bands to enter the groups category, though they must have no more than five members and have more than one singer.
Back on the bench
Why did you say yes to a second series and did you need any convincing?
To be honest, it was hard for me to make the decision this time round, as I fully knew the sacrifice it would take. Being away from my home in Australia and also from my music for so long - it was hard. But, I decided to come back because I really believe in the talent in New Zealand and I want to be a part of it all again.
Melanie: I absolutely loved being a mentor and judge last season and I was thrilled when I was asked to come back as I had truly missed being in New Zealand too. I made some great friends and really fell in love with the country - but most of all I'm coming back for the pineapple lumps.
Was there incentive to return in the fact that your guys didn't win last time?
Stan: No, I didn't even think of that.
Melanie: Sure I would love to help an act get to the final and win but that's not the reason I've come back. I genuinely loved being part of the mentoring process. I also called Jackie [Thomas] winning from her first audition - just saying.
Have you kept in touch with your contestants since? Or fellow judges?
Stan: I have a little bit. It's a bit hard when we all live in different countries and we're all moving around so much.
Melanie: I love following everyone and seeing what they're up to. I'm not going lie though, I'm a massive flake!
What changes do you think you'll make to how you will mentor or judge from last time?
Stan: I will be more direct and to the point this time around, and I will make sure my team push themselves beyond their own limits.
Melanie: I won't know until I'm with my category. With the groups I had specific knowledge I could pass on. I like to play it by ear.
Which category do you want this time round?
Stan: It doesn't matter to me, as long as they are hungry and they're ready to work. But it would be good to have a winning team, ha ha!
Melanie: Preferably the one with the winner in it! I really won't know until I see who is in each category but I'm excited that we've introduced bands now into the groups. I can't wait to get stuck in, whoever I mentor.