‘X Factor’ Judges Fired for Humiliating Contestant

Hannah Peters/AFP
Hannah Peters/AFP
Los Angeles, CA

Two judges on New Zealand’s X Factor, a televised singing competition, have been fired for crudely berating a contestant.

Following a performance of the single “Cry Me a River,” contestant Joe Irvine was blasted by judges Natalia Kills and Willy Moon, who are married, in an exchange that would make American Idol’s Simon Cowell look like Mr. Rogers.

“Ladies and gentleman, I’m just going to state the obvious: We have a doppelgänger in our midst,” began Kills’ tirade.

“As an artist who respects creative integrity and intellectual property, I am disgusted at how much you have copied my husband,” she told Irvine on live television. “From the hair to the suit, do you not have any value or respect for originality?”

As the studio audience began to boo her, the rant continued. Kills went on to describe Irvine as a “laughingstock” and claimed his appearance was both “cheesy” and “disgusting.”

“I personally found it absolutely artistically atrocious,” she lambasted. “I am embarrassed to be sitting here in your presence having to even dignify you with an answer of my opinion.”

Kills’s husband then chimed in: “It just feels a bit cheap and absurd. I mean, it’s like Norman Bates dressing up in his mother’s clothing. It’s just a little bit creepy and I feel like you’re going to stitch someone’s skin to your face and then kill everyone in the audience.”

The tirade didn’t end there, as Kills again interjected: “It’s disgusting… You make me sick. It’s absolutely disgusting. You have no identity. I can’t stand it. I’m ashamed to be here.”

“I think I look good,” Irvine said with a smile but appearing shaken.

Watch the attack on contestant Joe Irvine:

Monday, the New Zealand Herald reported the network, TV3, issued a statement announcing the judges had been released.

“While the judges on X Factor are expected to provide critiques of the performances, we will not tolerate such destructive tirades from any of the judges,” an executive said.

The executive continued: “Contestants put their all into this competition and they should expect to receive feedback and criticism that is professional and constructive. We no longer have confidence that Kills and Moon are the right people to perform the role of X Factor judges and they will leave the show, effective immediately.”