Falling for X appeal
Natalie Imbruglia has her fingers crossed The X Factor will be back next year, writes Ross Brundrett
THE finalists on The X Factor aren’t the only ones crossing their fingers and hoping for the best . . . so is judge and mentor Natalie Imbruglia.
‘‘ I’d love to come back and do this again next year. I’d so love that,’’ Imbruglia says.
‘‘ I’d love to split my time between here and the UK. It would be an absolute dream.’’
For that to happen the show, an expensive gamble for Seven, will have to be picked up for another year — something yet to be decided.
Question marks have been hovering over the show since Matthew Newton’s dramatic exit as host just days before the launch, but Imbruglia is loath to think the controversy affected the show in any lasting way.
‘‘ Not at all. It was reported on a lot but it didn’t affect the show . . . I think it’s the kind of show that people take a while to get involved in, that’s just the nature of it,’’ she says.
Time was needed, she says, for the audience to align not only with the contestants, but also with the judges, who include Ronan Keating, Guy Sebastian and Kyle Sandilands, of whom Imbruglia says inclusively, ‘‘ we’re all good friends’’.
‘‘ I even sent him (Kyle) flowers when he was sick, though it did take him four days to say thank you,’’ she says with a curl of her lips.
But she promises there are no backroom stories of bitchiness a la the British version where Sharon Osbourne and our Dannii Minogue famously feuded.
‘‘ No, any bitchiness we have is happening on camera,’’ she says with a laugh, before putting on her serious face. ‘‘ I don’t like it when the other judges come down hard on my girls. I take it really personally.’’
It’s the mentoring job with contestants (she has under-25 females) which Imbruglia has enjoyed the most, surprising even herself with her mother hen instincts. ‘‘ It is full-on, there’s a lot of extra hours the judges are putting in— or most of us are— but I’ve learnt a few lessons along the way. I got too close early on so I stopped that and there’s a healthy distance there, but the girls know I’m there for them.’’
She says that if she was starting out in her career she probably wouldn’t have made it past the first auditions for X. ‘‘ They (the contestants) are under a lot of pressure and have to turn around things quickly. I don’t like being told what to do so I wouldn’t have made it.’’
As for the role that The X Factor fills, Imbruglia says it is a ‘‘ valid platform’’ not just for new talent, but for people in the industry. ‘‘ It’s hard out there for artists . . . there are not a lot of shows and this basically is an old-fashioned variety show, we give performers the chance to come on as guests . . . I mean it’s a soap as well . . . it works on a lot of levels. I know some people still frown at it, but I have a different opinion,’’ she says.
‘‘ I definitely think, as far as it being the first year of the show, I think Australia has done an incredible job and I know that Simon (Cowell, the show’s creator) thinks that. I watched the show with him in the UK when we had a month off and he was impressed.’’
Imbruglia remains hopeful the show will return. ‘‘ I have a good feeling about it. I haven’t been asked though (to return), I haven’t been told anything . . . do you know something I don’t?’’ The X Factor, Channel 7, Sunday and Monday, 7.30pm. Lessons: Natalie Imbruglia loves her mentoring role.