Winning formula shaken up
IT is a new take on a popular, established format, aimed squarely at keeping the Australian version of the franchise on song. Judging recruits Dannii Minogue and LMFAO frontman Redfoo are set to inject new life into The X Factor.
The reality singing show’s fourth season will see the singers join Ronan Keating and Natalie Bassingthwaighte on the judging panel, replacing seats formerly occupied by Mel B and Guy Sebastian.
“The judges that have left are going to be missed,” Minogue says.
“But it is looking fresh and it is going to be completely different.
“We are all just such strong personalities, you don’t come in and try to be who was there before. We are just us.”
Redfoo, 37, born Stefan Kendal Gordy, has sold millions of albums as the frontman of American pop outfit LMFAO.
He will set up home in Sydney’s Bondi Beach when the live shows kick off in coming weeks, and says already The X Factor Australia experience has exceeded his expectations.
“It is really fun. It’s been a lot of improv and Ronan and Dannii and Nat have just been so welcoming to me and it is actually more fun than I expected. I’m having a blast,” he said.
Likeable Irishman Keating didn’t know what to expect ahead of meeting the colourful Redfoo.
“Until you sit on the panel with the other judges, you don’t really know what role you are going to take or what gaps you need to fill so it is quite an interesting thing,” he said.
“It’s quite exciting. I’m looking forward to working with Dannii and Redfoo.”
A successful X Factor contestant always has to be on song, but this year, where there has previously been tension among the judges ( especially between Bassingthwaighte and judge Mel B) there is now harmony.
Minogue and Bassingthwaighte have bonded over their children.
Bassingthwaighte missed the early audition phases of the competition because she couldn’t travel when she was pregnant with her son, Hendrix.
She is also mum to daughter Harper, who turns three in August.
Minogue is mum to three- year- old son, Ethan.
“Nat and I are doing our baby planning together,” says Minogue.
“I know people don’t want to hear that, but we are all really friendly and we’ve got a good vibe from the whole crew. They are the A- team.”
Minogue, 41, is not new to the X Factor format. She appeared on several series of X Factor in the UK alongside Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Cheryl Cole.
“I’m loving it, I just can’t wait to get started,” she says.
“I think that I’ve stepped into a more forceful role in the panel because every time you have a different panel of four judges, the dynamics change. And I feel more forceful than I was in London.”
Minogue’s older sister, Kylie, will make an appearance during the series, joining contestants for an already- recorded mentoring session in New York.
It will offer a rare chance for the public to see the Minogue sisters working together.
“We sort of like to keep our work separate,” says Minogue of teaming up with her sister. “We forget that it is a big deal for people. “Just seeing the contestants’ faces when she [ Kylie] walked out – it was so cool.”
Redfoo, son of Motown founder Berry Gordy, is extremely and unapologetically competitive in most things he turned his hand to.
He recently said he was considering a professional career in tennis after trying out as a wild card entrant for the US Open.
“I’ve always just wanted to do my best at whatever I do,” he says.
So it’s unsurprising that despite being new to the show, Redfoo is confident of winning the series with one of his charges. “That is the goal,” he says. “We are going to work really hard and dream really big and hopefully somebody on my team will take the title.”
To that, Minogue says: “It’s all the tennis he [ Redfoo] does and all of that. He might turn into a nightmare”.
“Redfoo might go from Mr Nice to Mr Diva. We’ll have to wait and see.”
THE X FACTOR
Southern Cross, tomorrow, 7.30pm