Seven days of TV viewing
MEGASTAR Kylie Minogue may be set to steal the show as special guest when The X Factor draws to a close this week, but judges Ronan Keating and Guy Sebastian are confident they’ve seen plenty of rising stars this season.
The pair come from different sides of the musical tracks – Keating shot to fame the oldfashioned way, via Irish boy band Boyzone in the 1990s, while Sebastian won the first Australian Idol in 2003 – but they share the view that says reality TV singing contests can be a legitimate way to unearth new talent.
And, given the show’s dominance of the ratings this season, audiences agree.
Keating and Sebastian, who signed on as judges and mentors last year and were joined this season by ‘‘ Scary Spice’’ Mel B and Natalie Bassingthwaighte, are not surprised with the show’s popularity surge.
‘‘ It’s had a breath of fresh air,’’ Keating says.
‘‘ X Factor has exploded globally – it’s massive in the US and UK. It’s had eight years in the UK and 18 million watched the finale over there last year.
‘‘ More people voted in X Factor in the UK last year than in the public vote [ general election] – the actual government vote. That’s nuts. That’s a juggernaut.
‘‘[ Australian] viewers got to know it, like it and understand it, and that’s why it has come back with all guns blazing.’’
With the final three contestants set to perform tomorrow night and Tuesday night, ahead of the final verdict, Keating and Sebastian say it’s not only the eventual winner of a Sony recording contract who stands to make it big.
‘‘ You don’t have to win this show to have a career. Absolutely not,’’ Keating says.
‘‘ In the UK, second and third place sometimes have an even bigger career than the winners.
‘‘ JLS is the biggest boy band in the country and they came second in the UK two years ago.’’
Of this year’s crop, Sebastian – the mentor who held on to his three charges in the under- 25s male category the longest – predicts big things for young guns Reece Mastin ( pictured with the judges and Minogue), Johnny Ruffo and Declan Sykes. Keating agrees.
‘‘ Reece is really strong. He messed up late in the show, but recovered and he’s a great performer,’’ he says.
‘‘ Declan [ who exited almost a fortnight ago] in a few years will be great – this season he’s too young and he’s not ready yet.’’
Of the groups he has mentored, Keating predicts Young Men’s Society ‘‘ can do some good things with the right production’’.
Of his most enduring group, Three Wishez, Keating says ‘‘ there’s no act in Australia like them’’.
He says he also enjoys the camaraderie he feels on the judging panel.
‘‘ There’s a great dynamic on the panel and we’re not afraid to say how we feel,’’ he says.
‘‘ You say it, you’re thickskinned, and you move on.’’