Scary spices up X Fac­tor

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - DEB­BIE SCHIPP The X Fac­tor, South­ern Cross, Mon­day, 7.30pm

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.’’

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