“The X Factor” Australia viewers better watch out: Melanie Brown has declared herself to be the “bitch” of the show.
“The X Factor” Australia is once again the No. 1 TV series in the nation, based on the ratings of the show’s Season 3 premiere, which had 1.3 million viewers when Australia’s Channel 7 televised the episode on August 29, 2011. But the ratings triumph has come with off-camera drama between the two new judges on the show’s panel: Australian singer/actress Natalie Bassingthwaighte and British singer/TV personality Brown (also known as Mel B), who is best known for being a former member of the Spice Girls.
Brown and Bassingthwaighte both joined “The X Factor” Australia in 2011. Brown replaced radio personality Kyle Sandilands, and Bassingthwaighte replaced singer Natalie Imbruglia. The other two “X Factor” Australia judges are singers Ronan Keating (of Boyzone fame) and Guy Sebastian (the first winner of “Australian Idol”).
The drama started a few days before the Season 3 premiere, when Australia’s Herald Sun published an interview with Brown. In the article, she insulted her fellow “X Factor” Australia judges. Brown said:
“I don’t care much for the other judges. Ronan thinks he knows it all (and) Natalie is just too nice and really dishonest. Guy could just be boring, like ‘get on with it. Keep it moving, brother’ …
“They (the contestants) are either going to love me or hate me. Sometimes I can be tactful and sometimes not. It all depends on the mood I’m in.”
The drama continued as Bassingthwaighte and Brown did separate interviews on “The Kyle & Jackie O Show” (the Sydney-based radio show co-hosted by Sandilands) after Brown’s insulting comments were published:
“She said that I was too nice and dishonest, so I think by that she means because I am too nice I’m dishonest .. It’s what she thinks … I think it’s in fun. I hope so; otherwise, she deserves a slap.”
Brown later addressed her controversial commentary:
“Did I really say that? I just blame it on my pregnancy… I’m allowed to say what I want when I want … So yeah, I did say that … They’re all scared of me, and I love it. There’s got to be one bitch on the show, so I might as well take that bloody crown …
“You know what? They’re all really nice, but you know life, we all have our flaws, I’m sure I’ve got many, but actually I do think I’m quite perfect on the panel. Everybody has their own little thing. I just happen to be the one that points it out … I’d never even heard of Guy until I went to Australia anyway.”
Brown is currently pregnant with her third child (her first child with husband Stephen Belafonte), and Brown says that she is due to give birth in August or September 2011. Brown has two daughters: 12-year-old Phoenix (from her first marriage to ex-husband Jimmy Gulzar) and 4-year-old Angel (from a relationship with Eddie Murphy).
Season 3 of “The X Factor” Australia marks the debut of new judges and a new age limit for contestants. As of Season 3, the show’s minimum age for contestants has been lowered from 16 to 14 years old.
In the Season 3 premiere, a standout contestant was Emmanuel Kelly, an adopted son of Children First Foundation executive director Moira Kelly. Emmanuel, who was physically affected by chemical warfare in Iraq, impressed “The X Factor” judges with his version of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”