The funny fac­tor

Vet­eran rocker Chris Isaak thought singer- song­writer James Blunt was the ‘ sad, ro­man­tic guy’. Blunt thought Isaak was dead. SHAN­NON MOL­LOY dis­cov­ered the new X Fac­tor judges are a hi­lar­i­ous pair­ing

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

BE­FORE they met, Chris Isaak and James Blunt formed opin­ions of each other that weren’t ex­actly flat­ter­ing.

Vet­eran US rocker Isaak knew lit­tle of the Bri­tish crooner, ex­cept that he had a string of hit songs about love and loss.

“I thought, ‘ Oh, he’s go­ing to be the sad, ro­man­tic guy’,” Isaak says.

“I had the to­tal wrong im­pres­sion. He’s hi­lar­i­ous – a real nut.”

Blunt was sur­prised Isaak was on The X Fac­tor judg­ing panel.

“Be­fore that, I ac­tu­ally thought he was dead,” he jokes.

“I’m thrilled to know he’s still kick­ing. He’s great fun. I mean, I don’t get any of his sto­ries be­cause they all hap­pened in the 1920s, but he’s a won­der­ful char­ac­ter.”

The two new judges ( they join Guy Se­bas­tian, re­turn­ing af­ter a few years away, and stal­wart Dan­nii Minogue) have sur­prised since day one.

Set in­sid­ers say the pair con­stantly ribbed each other dur­ing early film­ing, with hi­lar­i­ous re­sults.

“We’ve got­ten along in­cred­i­bly well,” Blunt says. “We take the p--out of each other end­lessly and I’ve thor­oughly en­joyed that.”

When it comes to hu­mour, Blunt – the army cap­tain- turned- singer whose de­but hit You’re Beau­ti­ful made him a global star – is some­thing of a so­cial media icon.

A few years ago, his la­bel in­sisted he join Twit­ter. Dis­cov­er­ing the aw­ful things some peo­ple say about him and his mu­sic, Blunt started re­ply­ing with witty, dry come­backs.

“It re­minded me of be­ing in the army where we con­stantly picked on each other, so I started laugh­ing at peo­ple who took them­selves so se­ri­ously,” he says.

“It’s a strange thing some hu­mans do from the anonymity of their bed­rooms, prob­a­bly with their trousers around their an­kles, writ­ing abu­sive things to peo­ple they’ve never met.”

That sar­cas­tic sense of hu­mour is bound to win over view­ers. And that’s a good thing – se­cur­ing him and Isaak for the show was no small feat.

“You don’t just knock on the door, say g’day and get them to agree to do it,” Seven’s di­rec­tor of pro­gram­ming Brad Lyons laughs. “There are many, many con­ver­sa­tions.”

As the show en­ters its sixth sea­son, Lyons says there’s pres­sure to up the ante and ward off viewer fa­tigue.

“You’ve got to bring fresh­ness and we cer­tainly have. Straight off, we’ve got a new bunch of judges. Then there’s a twist in boot camp.”

But all the tricks in the book mean noth­ing with­out tal­ent, which Isaak says the show has found.

“I walked in with a smug at­ti­tude – like, ‘ I’ve been in a band for­ever, these are young peo­ple with no idea’,” he says.

“Then this 15- year- old girl walked out and just sang. She hit ev­ery note, shook the rafters, did a dance step and had peo­ple on their feet. I went back to my band and said, ‘ We’ve got to work harder. These kids are bet­ter than we are’.”

THE X FAC­TOR

SUN­DAY, 7PM, SCT ( CON­TIN­UES MON­DAY- WED­NES­DAY, 7.30PM; AND THURS­DAY, 8PM)

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