On July 22, 2013, “The X Factor” New Zealand crowned its first winner: 22-year-old Jackie Thomas, who hails from the Greymouth, New Zealand. As part of “The X Factor” grand prize, Thomas won a Sony Music record deal and a Ford Cougar automobile. Her first single, “It’s Worth It,” is already No. 1 on iTunes in New Zealand, and the song is expected to be No. 1 on the official New Zealand singles chart.
With her “X Factor” victory, Thomas triumphed over these “X Factor” New Zealand finalists who were in the final three: 18-year-old Whenua Patuwai (who came in second place), and 23-year-old Benny Tipene, who placed third in the competition.
“The X Factor” New Zealand (which is televised in New Zealand on TV3) premiered in April 2013. The show’s judges are former All Saints singer Melanie Blatt, singer Daniel Bedingfield, former “Australian Idol” winner Stan Walker and singer Ruby Frost. Bedingfield was Thomas’ “X Factor” mentor. “The X Factor” New Zealand is hosted by former “Australian Idol” host Dominic Bowden.
Thomas performed “It’s Worth It,” Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” (in a duet with Adeaze) and Emeli Sandé’s “Next to Me” in the show’s first season finale, which aired in two parts on July 21 and July 22, 2013.
The voting in the first season finale of “The X Factor” New Zealand caused some controversy when it was reported that numerous people received error messages when they tried to text their votes.
However, according to NZ Newswire, “X Factor” New Zealand production company MediaWorks says those messages were sent in error, due to an “unprecedented volume of votes.”
MediaWorks issued this statement: “We can assure the people who got that message that their votes did go through and were included in those that were monitored on the night. Verification to this point confirms [Jackie Thomas] was ahead both when voting paused and still further ahead when voting finally closed.”
According to NZ Newswire: “MediaWorks says it has done a recount of all votes and is in the process of having the voting independently audited.”
New Zealand’s 3 News reported: “After being kicked off early on in the series, Jackie got a second chance after mentor Daniel Bedingfield threatened to quit if she wasn’t brought back. From there she went from strength-to-strength, and topped the public vote seven times in the 10 weeks leading up to the final …
“Despite being the one on stage, Jackie wasn’t the first to know she’d won — host Dominic Bowden’s lengthy dramatic pause before announcing the winner was interrupted when the big screens behind the contestants flashed up Jackie’s name. Jackie saw her family in the seats celebrating, and wondered what the fuss was.”
Thomas told 3 News: “They were up there celebrating and I was like, okay, because [Dominic] hadn’t said anything … I had no idea.”
Thomas commented about the instant success of “It’s Worth It,” her first single: “It’s doing really well and I’m really excited about it.”