X Factor judge defends format
Ronan Keating and family. Photo: Getty Images
Adopted Aussie, X Factor judge and tireless cancer campaigner Ronan Keating says that despite his frustration with voting on this year's show, he is not interested in working on any other reality panel.
While disillusioned by voting on the Channel Seven show – which has resulted in some of the most popular bands in his group ending their run prematurely because young girls are not putting their fingers to phones – the Irish singer says he would never take a seat on Australia's Got Talent or Australian Idol.
I love this show, I love this format and I would sign up again in a heartbeat.
"I love this show, I love this format and I would sign up again in a heartbeat," he told Fairfax on Monday while launching the Emeralds and Ivy Ball on November 16 at The Ivy – a personal passion project in memory of his late "maa" Marie Keating, who suffered an untimely death from breast cancer in 1998.
The X Factor judges Guy Sebastian, Mel B, Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Ronan Keating.
"No, no . . . I wouldn't be doing that even if they offered me," he said when asked if he would take up a position on Nine's new version of Australia's Got Talent, which will have an entirely new judging panel in its new incarnation.
"I saw Brian [McFadden] on Saturday and heard they canned it and got rid of the panel as well, but I wouldn't want to be on a show like AGT. I like X Factor because it's music based – I'm not interested in looking at magicians."
Keating says while he has been asked to do a lot of other shows in the past, it is the format of X Factor that appeals to him. That and the fact he loves Australia.
"I'm not interested in looking at magicians" ... Ronan Keating.
"Mentoring is important to me. I wouldn't want to be on Idol because all you're doing is sitting back and making a comment. I like the fact we mentor and we get involved. Everything from the haircut to picking the song, to the styling, to their attitude onstage – we're a one-person record company and I love that. I still get very excited. We all do: that's why we do it."
Many of Keating's acts this season including the popular What About Tonight and Fourtunate have not made it through despite heated audience reaction.
"Look, I've never seen a reaction like the audience reacted to What About Tonight," he says. "The young girls aren't voting. Parents own the phones, they pay the bills and young girls don't vote, they don't get on the phone.
"The mums are voting for Jason [Owen] and Shiane [Hawke]. One Direction didn't win. They were third. People don't vote for groups – I'm not moaning – I do feel that Australia will embrace the Collective no matter what's on the show. They deserve to do really well. They have what we are looking for, they have the X factor, the judging panel knows it."
Meanwhile Keating's personal journey with cancer has seen him "working like a lunatic" with the Cancer Council for the first Australian Emerald and Ivy Ball. The event is now, he can proudly say, in its seventh year in London and inspired him to start an event in Sydney.
"Maa passed away 14 years ago – she would still be alive today if she understood the disease. And as her children we didn't realise. I was 20 and on the road," he says.
"For me it's about education and awareness and we rolled out a campaign in the UK and raised a lot of money and I just thought: 'I'm here, I have a profile, I have lots of great friends I can ask to come along, and lots of celebs I've hooked up with while I've been here, so why not pull it all in and make it happen."
Keating, who initiated contact with the Cancer Council to come on board, says he is hoping a special guest will help entertain the sold-out crowd alongside himself, Guy Sebastian and McFadden.
"I'm hoping to get in one big name – Elton and Chris Martin are in the city, so if I can get them to come in and sing a tune that would be great. I haven't stopped calling people. It's embarrassing. You have to lose all your shame about that when asking! Daniel Craig is here too, so I'm hoping to get him along as well."