Dirty Reality TV

It couldn’t have been scripted, could it? ? Rachel at Throng dares to say it was

When was the last time a reality TV show really took the country by, er, storm and had everyone talking about it?

That?s right, it?s probably NZ Idol 1 back in 2004. 11 years ago.

Yesterday, The X Factor NZ planned to change that and getting everyone around the world talking about reality TV once again.

The show kicked off with a little easter egg. Dominic Bowden said:

?It?s time for our very own four chair challenge as we attempt to fill these seats with four of the most fearsome, megalomaniacs in the business. The only difference is, we can?t swap them out? yet.?

Like always on these shows, they save the best performance for the end. This time, it wasn?t the final contestant?s performance setting the Internet alight: it was the judges.

Yesterday, Natalia Kills and Willy Moon played the role of the villain judges perfectly. They said horrific, abusive, bullying comments to the sweetest guy on the show, who wears his heart on his sleeve. Their lines were delivered without hesitation and had obviously been written down and rehearsed.

They said comments which were completely undebatable ? there was nothing in there which could be argued over. If they?d said the contestant was boring or didn?t have the X Factor, the script wouldn?t have worked. The comments were so absurd and awful that it was clearly a case where they had to be fired.

The comments were set up utterly perfectly for the multitude of viral memes showing all the ways that Natalia Kills and Willy Moon were copying other artists. They do this more than most people. I couldn?t have thought of as many Melanie Blatt or Stan Walker copycat memes.

Getting the public to vote off a judge is the ultimate twist, especially when they think it wasn?t part of the script.

The plot was hinted at much earlier, with Natalia swearing during auditions and Willy Moon easily finding a woman to play the role of the offended mother in a public bakery. It was deliberately enflamed by Natalia showing no remorse and even saying she was enjoying the attention after the show.

In their statement, MediaWorks says the pair will ?leave the show? and Fremantle says they were ?removed?? They were eliminated like one of the contestants. Their statements didn?t say the pair were ?fired?.

?Firing? the judges has made headlines all around the world and got rival networks covering the story in their news. In a day and age when ratings are slipping lower and lower, there?s more desperate measures taken to get people tuning in. Manipulating the media is the game.

Even if the ratings are low, the show has given huge publicity to their sponsors outside of the ad breaks (which few of us watch anyways). They come across as the good guys: stomping out bullying. New Zealand media have been talking about the sponsors today. I never knew who they were before, now I do.

If this is all true, I don?t feel played. This is the most intense a reality show has felt since NZ Idol 1.

Now that the pair have ?left? the show, they are quite silent. That?s interesting in and of itself.

There?s three options I can think of for this: either they?ve finished their role and have been paid to keep quiet about it all from this day forth, or they are lawyering up, or are about to sell their ?exclusive? story to the highest bidders.

Very few people would be in on this script. Mel and Stan have authentic roles to play and couldn?t be in on it ? they needed to be outraged and get onto Twitter and Instagram and respond to the fans.

The new judges will be lovely and positive and not the surprise casting that Natalia and Willy were. A sneak preview of them were likely seen in the judges retreats this year.

Tell me this is a silly conspiracy theory and why, or tell me pieces to add to this theory.

My first reaction was “Why fire them? ?Their job was to be the unlikeable judges, they did their jobs, and the program needs to prolong the controversy”. ?But according to Rachel, and I agree, it was all too scripted with a number of flags along the way clearly signalling what was to come.

The real losers here are Winston Peters and Nicky Hager, both of whom tried very hard to re-capture the headlines with more outrage and spy stories, but were wiped off the board by cyclone Pam and then this faux X-Factor debacle.

The most amusing thing is that there are still people who think this “reality TV” thing is real.

Dirty Reality TV…? someone better hope that Mediaworks’ Andrew Szhusterman’s email isn’t hacked…


– Rachel Cunliffe, Throng