Spice for life

Scary Spice, aka Mel B, speaks plainly about jeal­ousy, loy­alty and a pos­si­ble move back to the UK, writes Holly Byrnes

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - THE X FAC­TOR, South­ern Cross, Mon- Wed, 7.30pm

SCARY Spice is do­ing the school run, rush­ing be­tween The X Fac­tor Aus­tralia re­hearsals and lament­ing the grey skies that have washed out her plans to fit in a few sunny hours on Sydney Har­bour in her flashy new cruise boat.

In short, life is ‘‘ pretty bloody good’’ for Me­lanie Brown, aka Mel B, right now.

As if star­ring at the Lon­don Olympics clos­ing cer­e­mony wasn’t enough of a buzz ( in a be­daz­zled uni­tard, no less), ru­mour has it she is set to make a stun­ning re­turn to the British spot­light as a new judge on the UK ver­sion of The X Fac­tor.

It fol­lows her head­line- grab­bing ap­pear­ance dur­ing the au­di­tion phase of the lat­est sea­son, which has since been be­set by slid­ing rat­ings.

The for­mat’s im­pre­sario, Si­mon Cow­ell, is said to be con­sid­er­ing sign­ing Brown to re­place Pussy­cat Dolls singer Ni­cole Scherzinger, who re­placed Dan­nii Minogue this year. She’d be wel­comed by res­i­dent judge Gary Bar­low, who had high praise for her tell- it-like- it- is style.

He told The Sun: ‘‘ Mel was bril­liant. It ac­tu­ally gave me a bit of a hol­i­day the day she was there. I’m nor­mally the one who de­liv­ers the bad news but she was do­ing it all so I could just sit there go­ing, ‘ Oh, that’s aw­ful what she said’ but se­cretly lov­ing it.’’

The in- de­mand diva is as blunt as al­ways about any UK move, say­ing ‘‘ I haven’t heard that but any­body who gets to be on The X Fac­tor is re­ally lucky and in for a great time. I loved do­ing the au­di­tions and be­ing a part of it. It’s a great show, any­where in the world.’’

But first cab off the rank, Brown is hyped about the chal­lenge in front of her – men­tor­ing the un­der- 25 males, Josh Brookes, Ja­son Owen and Adil Me­mon – through the live phase of the com­pe­ti­tion.

Look­ing to re­deem her­self, af­ter her all- girl hope­fuls fell out of favour last year, she is con­fi­dent she has a bet­ter shot at the ti­tle this year.

‘‘ I am all about my girl power, but I’ve been re­ally en­joy­ing be­ing so hands- on with my boys, giv­ing them point­ers on how to ex­er­cise their di­aphragm to get the most out of their voices; help­ing with song se­lec­tion.’’

While her on- screen ri­valry with judge Natalie Bass­ingth­waighte con­tin­ues to fuel talk of an on­go­ing feud, the fear­less per­former is un­fazed.

‘‘ Even in the Spice Girls, they were al­ways writ­ing, ‘ Oh, they hate each other’. But at the end of

the day, I’m opin­ion­ated and so is Nat Bass and it is what it is.’’

The depth of tal­ent on the se­ries ex­plains the show’s record rat­ings, which have kept it at the top of the most watched lists, av­er­ag­ing about 1.5 mil­lion view­ers na­tion­ally.

Shar­ing the TV ex­pe­ri­ence with her young chil­dren is a nec­es­sary part of

I am all about my girl power, but I’ve been re­ally en­joy­ing be­ing so hands- on with my boys

bal­anc­ing her par­ent­ing du­ties and a fun way to bond with her daugh­ters.

‘‘ It’s so lovely to be able to take them with me. I had them at re­hearsals over the week­end and they have a ball. I’m for­tu­nate enough when I do my work or I go on tour I can bring my kids along.’’

Not sur­pris­ingly, the four girls – Madi­son, 1, An­gel, 5, step­daugh­ter Giselle, 7, and Phoenix, 13 – are all quite ‘‘ out­spo­ken’’, their mother says.

‘‘ Mad­die will ei­ther cry or laugh, and the oth­ers, es­pe­cially An­gel and Giselle, will tell me they like that, they don’t like the other.

‘‘ It’s great to have them with me and it’s a won­der­ful work­ing sit­u­a­tion.’’

Not con­tent with jug­gling her bois­ter­ous fam­ily and a high­pro­file TV role, Brown re­vealed she’s work­ing on mu­sic for a new solo project.

Then there’s fit­ting in some play time with her fa­mous pal, Kim Kar­dashian, who is vis­it­ing Aus­tralia for the E! Chan­nel and QuikTrim this week.

‘‘ We met years ago, but it’s al­ways great to catch up with her,’’ she says.

Brown is quick to claim hon­orary Aussie sta­tus, declar­ing her­self a firm be­liever in our ‘‘ work hard, play hard’’ phi­los­o­phy.

‘‘ The Aussie life­style is right up my street, you work hard, play hard; you’re all about fam­ily and that’s def­i­nitely who I am.

‘‘ I love it here.’’

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