You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Most rational thinkers hurled themselves behind the couch when New Zealand's Got Talent was announced. We do as a nation, after all, maintain a ludicrous dichotomy of believing we are superior to everyone else in the world and our television entertainers are no more worthy than landfill.
And when they said Rachel Hunter would be a judge, even irrational thinkers started shaking their heads. Rachel Hunter. Good grief. Who would have thought this sort of thing would be in our lounges every Sunday night without a censorship warning?
The series began with auditions in various cities, and the portents were even worse. A close personal friend, with more university degrees than I have fingers, spent an entire day at the Regent Theatre being part of an audition audience. Do not ever do this. You may think you are in for 10 hours of magnificently erratic entertainment, from the fantastic to the feeble, but instead you are asked to feign joy, incredulity, amazement, shock, stupefaction, derision, and a flotilla of other human facial expressions as the producers amass hundred of miles of file footage to insert at any point of the episodes still to be filmed. My friend, as honest as the real Santa, was smacked with gob to see herself regularly on the telly every Sunday night reacting to people she had never seen perform in cities she had never been to.
But I am splitting hairs. We all know they fake everything in these shows. The point I am wobbling towards like a blind drunk man trying to insert a key in what he thinks is a lock but is actually a red letterbox, is that New Zealand's Got Talent was a really good show. And this despite having glaring open-sore wounds not so much elephants in the room but more Panponderousauruses in a phone box. Rachel, who my friend told me had 20 different outfits and was made up every 10 minutes, did the whole series with a two-word vocabulary (fantastic and awesome), though now that I type this, I am thinking, maybe that was a plus. Most very smart people couldn't do it.
And most disgracefully, our very own Kylie Price had to pull out after a tiff over the rules. Kylie is great. Oscar Wilde said, and I may be paraphrasing, anyone who can star in Gore's Gold Guitars and the Dunedin Operatic production of Dusty has to be a shoo-in to take out the Toyota Corolla.
Oscar, who is so often right - he has picked three of the last five New Zealand Trotting Cups for my friend Pip - may however have been wrong this time, 'coz the 15-year-old singer-songwriter from the West Coast, Clara van Wel, was a true talent quest rarity, an eyes-widening-wide-open talent who deserved to win on every possible level. The fact she wore blue Doc Martens was just a ridiculous bonus.
I loved the jugglers, Zane and Degge, who were engagingly alternative and genuinely funny. They botched the final and then claimed they had done it on purpose to test the audience. My close personal friend from the university got it - I saw her laughing uproariously with both thumbs up - but Zane and Degge finished last. And 11-year-old Fletcher Oxford looked the kind of kid who sits alone in the corner of the playground eating a lunch nobody else wants. He entered the show to try and bring back his missing cat Sushi, who would hear his original songs on New Zealand's Got Talent, all of which were written for her, and immediately return home. Brilliant. The irony was, Fletcher wrote a pretty good song. He was certainly better than 40% of the singer-songwriters California inflicted on us in the early 70s when everyone was trying to be James Taylor or Carole King.
Apparently the show rated through the roof. Fine. All it really needs now is a nasty judge, inexplicably absent this time. Having fallen flat on his face in Australian television, which proves Australia DOES have talent, Paul Henry is obviously that man.
• Roy Colbert is a Dunedin writer.