When it comes to TV talent shows few could be better placed to know what it feels like to be a contestant than 2003 Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian.
There’s just one difference -he never got rejected.
“I didn’t receive a “No” so I don’t even know what that feels like,” he admits.
But as an X Factor judge he’s had to dish out plenty to those who think they have what it takes, even when it includes Pacific Islanders who are personal fans of his music.
“These huge guys start bawling their eyes out, and it kills me. It absolutely kills me. But I’ve never played that role before.”
For Seven’s new talent show, Sebastian is convinced the mentoring of the format will help emerging artists who are often left to their own devices.
“When I was on Idol I’d go home and I’d pick a song. It would be all up to me. I’d pick off a rack of Ed Harry clothes and that was it. You’d have one whole rack for the whole season,” he says.
“But here we’re actually getting our hands on these guys and mentoring them, picking songs with them, choosing their styling, the kind of performance they’re going to do. So we’re really guiding them, not just throwing them into the deep end.
“If I was an artist and saw the mentoring process I know I would say ‘it would be great to have that help.’
“I’m tired of seeing a lot of these shows where these kids are 16 years of age on this show that says ‘We’re going to turn you into a superstar’ but once it’s over they’re just thrown to the wolves.”
Sebastian says some talent show winners also lack the skills to tackle interviews, especially when facing the quick wit of some radio hosts, including his co-judge, Kyle Sandilands.
“You’re not going to last if you have no media training. It’s a multi-talented facet being able to be an artist,” he says.
“There’s only so much we can do, but at the end of the day it is up to them to voice their own opinion, but what a platform this is. It’s like all these other shows, but it’s refined.”
Joining them on the judging panel are Ronan Keating and Natalie Imbruglia, who are all under the watch of creator Simon Cowell.
This is the second time the brand has launched in Australia and this week it has suffered a major blow with the loss of host Matt Newton. FremantleMedia are understood to be frantically editing all trace of the troubled star despite good reports on his on-screen performance.
When it launches on Monday, former Popstars Live host and Home and Away actor Luke Jacobz will be seen linking the Audition moments together.
Sebastian says talent shows are valid in today’s pop music industry, and that traditional opportunities for musicians to perform in live venues and be seen by Artist and Repertoire executives are diminishing.
“They could go to 20 A&R’s or go out into live music venues. But most of the venues are gone. Most of the A&R’s are gone. There’s an expectation to almost spoon feed record companies with a product that’s almost finished.
“If you don’t have the demo that sounds ‘bangin’ and could be on radio the next day you don’t get a look in,” he says.
Next week’s shows will showcase the talent competing in four vocal categories Males under 25, Females under 25, Singers over 25 and Groups.
“Whoever wins this show is tapping into a network. If they’re good enough they’ve got Simon (Cowell) in their corner and the whole show in the corner. That’s the industry at the moment. If you can tap into a show like The X Factor it means you can possibly get a performance in America or the UK. If the winner is good enough to absolutely nail it, and we’ve seen that level of talent walk through the door, then it’s a pretty amazing platform.”
The X Factor premieres 7:30pm Monday on Seven.