Scary spices up X Factor
SHE may go by the name of Mel B now, but those who come under her gaze in this season’s X Factor may well understand why she’s also known as Scary Spice. The former Spice Girl, who along with Natalie Bassingthwaighte has taken on the role of full-time judge and mentor on The X Factor this season, pulls no punches. You can take it as disarming or harsh. Either way, Mel B ( pictured) makes no apologies for it. She’s not Scary. She is forthright. ‘‘ I’m just very honest,’’ Mel B says. ‘‘ You’re either good or you’re not. ‘‘ If you’re good, you can always get better. And if you’re not, you need to be told this is not for you.’’
Mel B, along with Bassingthwaighte and returning judges Ronan Keating and Guy Sebastian are on a mission to find Australia’s freshest talent. This time Simon Cowell’s global TV franchise has expanded its search, dropping the age limit for hopefuls to 14.
In an expanded audition process the four judges eventually will take on a group each: males under 25, females under 25, the over 25s and groups. The mentors will take their group through gruelling boot camps and live performances, which begin in September, with the aim of getting one of their charges the final prize of a recording contract.
Make no mistake, Mel B wants the best, and is determined one of her charges will be the winner.
And she’s happy to take on her fellow judges to make that happen.
‘‘ I think we’ve [ the judges] got all angles covered between the four of us,’’ she says.
‘‘ I’m very honest. The others are very forgiving sometimes and honest at the same time. I think we all bring something unique to the table.’’ She gives a cheeky laugh. ‘‘ But I’ve come determined to win. I’m not doing this show to make friends. I’ve come to find my winner and take them the whole way.’’
Having made her way to superstardom as a member of the Spice Girls, Mel B is no stranger to the demands of the industry.
She knows her recruits will need to be hungry and she’ll be using her own experience to pinpoint that, and nurture it.
‘‘ After seeing the auditions and remembering what we saw and who we put through, I didn’t care what category I got,’’ she says.
‘‘ I came and guest mentored for the show last year and even though that was good, this year is much better talent-wise.’’
Whether it’s a raw recruit or someone with a wealth of singing experience behind them, Mel B wants two things of her charges.
‘‘ They have to have a good voice. Period,’’ she says. ‘‘ And they have to be hungry for it.’’
It’s something she learnt as she carved out her own career, which has extended to include reality television, producing and judging.
‘‘ I’ve always been really opinionated. I’ve always had a big ego and been really confident,’’ she laughs. ‘‘ Sometimes that can work for you. For me it did, so I’m sticking to what I know.
‘‘ I’ll be reminding my group it’s about giving it your all, giving it your everything because someone’s going to snatch it away from you if you don’t.’’