Soul classic a winner
The studio audience was amused when it heard Jack Johnson would be competing in heat eight of the Homai Te Pakipaki singing competition last week.
Although Mr Johnson bears little resemblance to the international folk-rock singer who shares his name, he is a bit of a celebrity since winning the heat.
Jack says he was ‘‘dumbfounded’’ when he was named the winner after competing against four other contestants and receiving the most votes.
Homai Te Pakipaki (meaning to give applause) is a live karaoke show which screens on Maori Television at 8.30pm on Fridays.
‘‘It is a show about the people for the people,’’ says producer Piripi Menary. ‘‘ We want to give them a platform but we’re keeping it real and grassroots.’’
Mr Johnson is celebrating his win and his prize ($1000 and a 2Degrees phone) with his family at their home in Waitangirua.
Mr Johnson’s partner Orion Rei and their baby daughter travelled to Auckland with him, although the show wasn’t the main purpose for the trip.
‘‘Jack has liver cancer,’’ Ms Rei says. ‘‘ We went there for his chemotherapy treatment.’’
This trip was the fourth treatment session Mr Johnson has undergone.
‘‘I wanted to cheer myself up and I knew the studio was just around the corner from the hospital so I went and auditioned,’’ he said.
Before the screening, Mr Johnson was asked to perform two songs and complete two interviews.
‘‘ The producers choose which song they think is best based on length so it fits into the show’s format,’’ he said.
The winning song was the Solomon Burke soul classic Cry to Me which earned Mr Johnson the highest number of text-in votes.
No stranger to performance, Mr Johnson runs karaoke competitions at Jimmy’s Bar in Porirua on Thursday nights.
‘‘ It’s him,’’ Ms Rei says. ‘‘This is what he does.’’
The couple’s seven-monthold daughter Lydia was unwell on the night of her father’s win, so Ms Rei saw it on the screen rather than in the studio.
Their sons Ramu, six and Cameryn, three, also saw their father’s win on television while staying with family close to home.
‘‘I knew he was going to win,’’ says Ramu. ‘‘Uncle William told me.’’
WINNER: Jack Johnson with partner Orion Rei and daughter Lydia.