Sen­si­tiveguy A

How did one singer’s au­di­tion bring Guy Se­bas­tian to tears? Cameron Adams

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

IN re­al­ity TV shows, back sto­ries are de­signed to pro­voke tears. When said wa­ter­works come from a male judge, even bet­ter. In the first episode of this year’s The X Fac­tor, judge Guy Se­bas­tian be­comes the per­son he swore he’d never be — some­one who cries on TV.

Some back story to the back story that made Guy cry — he wept af­ter con­tes­tant Sa­man­tha Jade au­di­tioned. It wasn’t her tal­ent, to the con­trary. Se­bas­tian is a friend of Jade, 25, some­thing he ad­mits on cam­era from the get-go.

Jade had a charmed start to her ca­reer. Signed to US la­bel Jive (home to Brit­ney Spears, Back­street Boys, ‘ N Sync), her fam­ily moved from Perth to LA in 2003.

‘‘ Sammy was be­ing flown around the world first class when she was still a kid,’’ Se­bas­tian says. ‘‘ She was signed to Brit­ney’s la­bel and when Brit­ney took off she kind of got side­lined.’’

With her al­bum never re­leased af­ter years in record com­pany limbo, a dis­il­lu­sioned Jade moved back to Perth and by the time of The X Fac­tor au­di­tions was work­ing at her fa­ther’s com­pany. When she says it’s her last chance to make it in mu­sic, Se­bas­tian breaks down.

‘‘ I tried to brush it off, but of course the other judges saw it,’’ Se­bas­tian ad­mits.

‘‘ I’ve seen her at her wit’s end. It just hit home be­cause I knew her story, I knew how des­per­ate she was. I was lucky, my strug­gle lit­er­ally lasted for eight months af­ter I left uni to do mu­sic. Those eight months (be­fore Aus­tralian Idol) seemed like an eter­nity. But what about the peo­ple who’ve been try­ing to make it for 10 years?’’

Se­bas­tian is sen­si­tive to claims he may show favouritism to Jade; he was heart­bro­ken when his friend and back­ing singer Car­men Smith got booted off The Voice for fea­tur­ing on one of his sin­gles.

The judge says it’s no sur­prise singers know other peo­ple do­ing the same job.

‘‘ Aus­tralia’s such a small place. I knew 60 to 70 per cent of the peo­ple on The Voice. I’ve au­di­tioned tons of singers for my band. I don’t want any­one to say Sammy’s only on there be­cause she knows Guy. But when peo­ple hear her there’s no way you can ar­gue with that voice.’’

Se­bas­tian ad­mits the judges oc­ca­sion­ally get briefed on par­tic­u­larly emo­tional back sto­ries be­fore an au­di­tion.

‘‘ You want the con­tes­tants to tell their story them­selves rather than it be told in a voice over,’’ Se­bas­tian says, aptly demon­strat­ing his knowl­edge of how TV works af­ter sev­eral sea­sons on The X Fac­tor.

‘‘ So you’ll ask ‘ What does this mean to you’? be­cause on a TV show like this the back sto­ries are very im­por­tant. It was the same with The Voice. Karise (Eden’s) jour­ney wouldn’t have been as pow­er­ful with­out un­der­stand­ing where that emo­tion and that raw­ness in her voice came from.’’

Se­bas­tian is not wor­ried view­ers may be suf­fer­ing tal­ent show fa­tigue af­ter the run­away suc­cess of The Voice.

‘‘ I was stoked The Voice did @RobSch­nei­der AKA Deuce Bi­ga­low: Male Gigolo star Rob Schneider gets un­ex­pect­edly philo­soph­i­cal AU­DI­ENCES are about to see a lot more of Ronan Keat­ing (top left). The X Fac­tor judge makes his fea­ture film de­but in God­dess, in which he is seen un­dressed in a num­ber of love scenes. His screen wife is played by West End mu­si­cal star Laura Michelle Kelly. Keat­ing, mean­while, has split from his real-life wife, Yvonne.

judge. Real tears: Guy Se­bas­tian is an emo­tional so well, be­cause if three mil­lion peo­ple are tun­ing in and the tal­ent is qual­ity and peo­ple are cham­pi­oning oth­ers to do well, that’s a re­ally good sign.

‘‘ I’m hop­ing The X Fac­tor fol­lows the same path as The Voice where it’s tal­ent that bol­sters the rat­ings. Ev­ery­one says it in ev­ery show but this re­ally is the best tal­ent we’ve had. This is the first time where there won’t be any duds in the top 12.’’

Un­sur­pris­ingly, there are also a few young men hop­ing to im­i­tate the UK X Fac­tor’s li­cence to print money — boy band One Di­rec­tion.

‘‘ We started con­struct­ing a group in our head due to the dis­mal na­ture of groups on of­fer,’’ Se­bas­tian ad­mits — fol­low­ing the Si­mon Cow­ell blue­print that as­sem­bled One Di­rec­tion on cam­era.

‘‘ Some peo­ple aren’t so strong solo but they’re great in a group. Then this awe­some boy band walked in.’’

That band, What About Tonight (‘‘shock­ing name,’’ Se­bas­tian notes), met via YouTube videos and are proud to at­tempt to be an ‘‘ Aus­tralian’’ One Di­rec­tion.

Fel­low X Fac­tor judge Ronan Keat­ing was ‘‘ papped’’ with One Di­rec­tion in Lon­don, spoil­ing the sur­prise that he’ll work with the chart-top­ping band as they men­tor Aus­tralian tal­ent. Pop tart Ke$ha, ur­ban hero Usher and classy R&B singer Ali­cia Keys have also filmed guest men­tor­ing ses­sions over­seas. The X Fac­tor, Chan­nel 7, Mon­day, 7.30pm

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