The X Factor NZ: Where Are They Now?

12/12/2013
We all watched as Jackie Thomas, the girl who from auditions was dubbed the "winner of X Factor," claim her title, her recording contract and her big Ford Kuga. But what ever happened to those favourites we wished to made it to the X Factor NZ stage?
 
While Jackie Thomas didn’t make it through to bootcamp herself, neither did all-star and “man in heels” singer Ashley Tonga. The 18-year-old drag queen entertainer from South Auckland excited the audience with her energetic performance of ‘Proud Mary’ , and got named the “biggest personality that [the judges] seen”, and easily got four yeses from the judges.
 
Unfortunately her star struggled to shine when she reached boot camp, when she was placed in the boys category and the pressure got to her, and was unable to make it through. But she still left on good terms, joking with host Dominic Bowden that she’d return to Mangere and take the high heels off.
 
But despite not making it on the X Factor NZ stage, Ashley was featured in Huffington Post for her performance, on TV’s ‘Mazel of the Day’ in America, and has gone on to perform overseas in Australia and USA.
 
Nerves struck another fan favourite, Te Ao Te Huia, who caused hearts to break as she sung a beautiful rendition of ‘It Only Happens’ . The 16-year-old student, who shared her moving story as a caregiver for her younger siblings, dedicated her performance to her mother who passed from breast cancer.
 
After her stunning performance where judge Stan Walker joined with an impromptu duet, it was easy for the emotionally-struck judges to say yes to her.
 
But sadly once in bootcamp and competing against 120 other strong potentials, Te Ao’s confidence was shaken and nerves got the better of her when she was unable to hit notes. Producers are expecting big things to come from the 16-year-old in the future.
 
When Renee Maurice arrived to audition for X Factor NZ, she felt a bit uncomfortable to be in the competitive and challenging environment. While she was aware of her talents in singing, she felt she did not have that competitive drive, and had only entered when a friend pressured her.
 
While self-aware of her talents in singing as she belted out sung Celine Dion’s ‘All Coming Back To Me Now’ in auditions, she never managed to find her footing within the X Factor sphere. Renee ended up leaving during bootcamp rounds suffering versatility issues. She remerged, supported by the popularity she earned during X Factor NZ, to win NZ’s Got Talent.