Divas duel it out
THEY bickered and blew up on screen for The X Factor last season, and just one week into the new season have gone head- to- head again, but feisty female judges Mel B and Natalie Bassingthwaighte ( pictured) agree on one thing – this year it’s time a girl had a win.
‘‘ God, Guy [ Sebastian] and Ronan [ Keating] had such a bromance going on last year that I don’t think they disagreed with each other once,’’ Bassingthwaighte laughs.
‘‘ Mel B and I may argue, but we are determined that this year it will be a female, not another boy who takes out first place.’’
Bassingthwaighte, criticised last year for being the ‘‘ softie’’ judge, says she has learnt a lot from Mel B, and already she’s putting it into practice on this year’s show.
‘‘ Mel and I often butt heads because she’s quite tough, but I’m a little tougher this year,’’ Bassingthwaighte says.
‘‘ You’ve already seen us butt heads a bit in auditions, and you’ll see more of me standing up for myself this year. I sort of know what to expect, and I’m not going to back down as much.
‘‘ The thing is, I think Mel is fantastic. She’s a great chick and I love what she’s all about, but at times, on screen, it’s very confronting.
‘‘ She says exactly how she feels which is a good thing, but it can be in your face. She likes to play the game, definitely and I think she likes playing the baddie.’’
Bassingthwaighte says the pair disagrees because ‘‘ we respect each other and we’re both opinionated so that causes a bit of friction. It blows up and then it’s like ‘ oops, sorry about that’.
‘‘ We just stand up for who we believe in. She’s taught me that. I’m doing more of that this year.’’
For Mel B, the feisty exchanges between her and Bassingthwaighte are par for the course.
‘‘ Maybe it’s just how it’s edited this year,’’ she says. ‘‘ We have always been opinionated, us judges.
‘‘ It’s funny because Simon Cowell asked me to be a guest judge on the UK X Factor for three days, and they are exactly the same there too.
‘‘ You have a bit of a feisty ‘ yes and no’ and this and that, then . . . you go out for a drink afterwards.
‘‘ I mean as judges we all want to be the best judge, we all want to be the one with the group or person that wins, so obviously we are all competitive with each other and that’s fun and healthy.’’
A week into the show, with live shows to start mid- September, Bassingthwaighte says there are more things to unite the pair than split them.
Mel B is back in Australia fresh from performing on the biggest stage of them all – the London Olympics closing ceremony where the Spice Girls reformed.
Like Bassingthwaighte, she’s now juggling motherhood and a career in the spotlight.
Bassingthwaighte’s daughter, Harper, has just turned two ‘‘ and by the time we all get to Sydney for live shows, the
X Factor is going to be like one big creche,’’ she says.
‘‘ There’ll be Harper, Guy Sebastian’s little one, and Mel’s – it will be a blast.’’
For her part Mel B couldn’t wait to get the family back to Australia, and is relishing the prospect of live shows come September.
‘‘ Once I get to those live shows it’s full on with my contestants. They have my cell phone number, I do 10- hour days, I’m with them at every single rehearsal, my kids come and hang out, we give them advice and stuff,’’ she says.
Watch out guys, the feisty females are laying down the gauntlet.
‘‘ Mel and I haven’t come up with a plan yet but we’ll be working on it,’’ Bassingthwaighte says. ‘‘ If the boys win, all hell will break loose.’’
THE X FACTOR, Southern Cross, Mon- Wed, 7.30pm