Divas duel it out

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - DEB­BIE SCHIPP

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

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