Mediaworks, the owners of TV3, fired Kills and her Willy Moon from The X Factor New Zealand Monday. The decision was announced less than 24 hours after the judges eviscerated contestant Joe Irvine on live TV. Following Irvine's performance of "Cry Me a River" Saturday, Kills, 28, went for the jugular. "Ladies and gentleman, I'm just going to state the obvious: We have a doppelgänger in our midst. As an artist who respects creative integrity and intellectual property, I am disgusted at how much you have copied my husband. From the hair to the suit, do you not have any value or respect for originality?" she asked. "You're a laughing stock. It's cheesy. It's disgusting. I personally found it absolutely artistically atrocious. I am embarrassed to be sitting here in your presence having to even dignify you with an answer of my opinion." Irvine remained a gentleman, saying, "Thank you, Natalia. You're beautiful."
As the audience booed Kills, Moon ganged up on Irvine, saying, "It just feels a bit cheap and absurd," the singer said. "I mean, it's like Norman Bates dressing up in his mother's clothing. It's just a little bit creepy and I feel like you're going to stitch someone's skin to your face and then kill everyone in the audience. But...do you."
Kills' cruelty didn't end there. "It's disgusting. You make me sick. It's absolutely disgusting," the "Wonderland" singer told Irvine. "You have no identity. I can't stand it. I'm ashamed to be here."
"I think I look really good," Irvine said.
Kills fired back, "I think you look good 'cause you're dressed as my husband!"
Judge Melanie Blatt jumped to Irvine's defense, saying, "Actually, you dress better than her husband!" The All Saints singer added, "Do you know what, Joe? I don't think many people have believed in you in your life. I'll tell you right now: I believe in you. You have got what it takes. You have got a beautiful tone." She also asked Irvine to ignore Kills and Moon's unkind words, telling him, "Please don't listen."
After the episode, Kills ignored the controversy that took social media by storm. "Had the most fun at the live shows tonight! So many new followers! Love you all. Time to celebrate!" she told her 131,000 Twitter followers.
Blatt took to Twitter to address Kills and Moon's coments, writing, "I quite obvs am not cool with what went down last night but remember 2 wrongs do not make a right. whatever the reason or outlet you use. Ive tried to keep my cool and stay professional but really @nataliakills ? Sorry love, you're a t--t."
Fans of the show rallied against Kills and Moon, and an online petition was created asking TV3 to fire the two judges; it received more than 70,000 signatures in less than 24 hours. Last night on X Factor both Kills and Moon made comments that were completely unacceptable. "While the judges on X Factor are expected to provide critiques of the performances, we will not tolerate such destructive tirades from any of the judges," MediaWorks chief executive Mark Weldon said in a statement Monday. "Contestants put their all into this competition and they should expect to receive feedback and criticism that is professional and constructive. We no longer have confidence that Kills and Moon are the right people to perform the role of X Factor judges and they will leave the show, effective immediately."
Executive producer Andrew Szusterman added, "We now need to move on, and give the contestants and the public the competition that they deserve." Two new judges will take over Moon and Kills' teams from next week, he said.
During Monday's live show, host Dominic Bowden welcomed hand-holding judges Blatt and Stan Walker on stage and confirmed the other two judges' abrupt exits. "Yes, following last night's show, Mediaworks has made the decision that Willy Moon and Natalia Kills are leaving the show," he informed viewers, to their delight. "From all of us, we believe it was the right thing to do. The good news is we're bringing in new mentors for the boys and the groups. They'll be sitting in those chairs right there next week."
Until new judges are hired, Blatt will oversee Moon's groups, while Walker will oversee Kills' boys.
"It wasn't about the talent last night and this show is all about that. I love this show so much. All the acts that were on last night, they've been working for weeks and weeks to get this right I feel like we didn't talk about them enough," Blatt said. "I just want to tell them that I'm so proud and they all smashed it."
After her dismissal, Kills tweeted a link to her "Problem" music video and told her fans, "I love you guys, thanks for your support & understanding my passionate opinions! You know what they say about me..."
That girl is a problem, all right. She's just not The X Factor New Zealand's problem anymore.