Since competing in the New Zealand edition of The X Factor in 2013, Benny Tipene's pop tunes have earned him a devoted fanbase. Despite finishing third in the competition (incidentally the same place as British X Factor breakouts One Direction), Tipene's debut single 'Walking on Water' achieved platinum sales. In 2014 he released six-track EP Toulouse, followed by debut album Bricks. Both were nominated for Best Pop Album at the NZ Music Awards.
Before he became a chart-topping singer, Benny Tipene was a hopeful entrant on the first New Zealand series of global talent show The X Factor. For his audition in front of the panel of judges — including singers Stan Walker, Ruby Frost and Daniel Bedingfield — Tipene works his understated, folky magic on Outkast's 2003 party hit, 'Hey Ya'. It more than does the trick. Tipene would eventually come third; but he impressed enough to get signed by Sony Music and released a platinum selling solo album in 2013.
Utilising split screen and a home movie-style aesthetic, this video for this Benny Tipene single practically screams summer. Starring Tipene and friends out on a road trip in the sun, the video has the crew playing in the grass, swimming and sailing, and eating fruit by the water. The single saw plenty of airplay off its December 2013 release, helped in part by its use in a Coca-Cola advertising campaign at the time. The song appeared on EP Toulouse, which was nominated for Album of the year at the 2014 New Zealand Music Awards.
Thanks to NZ On Air's support, The X Factor gave New Zealand performers a primetime platform, created excitement and controversy and drew huge, committed audiences. Former Olympian Barbara Kendall explains why she enjoyed the Kiwi version of the show so much, and why one contestant in particular caught her attention. Then X Factor executive producer Andrew Szusterman shares how this "massive, massive show" came to New Zealand, and celebrates the distinct, Kiwi flavour it took on — one example being Stan Walker's judging style.
The first New Zealand final of The X Factor features emotional highs and lows, and judge's compliments aplenty. Three young singers made it through in 2013: Whenua Patuwai, Jackie Thomas and Benny Tipene. All would achieve NZ top three singles within weeks of the final. Among the highlights of the 95 minute special: Tipene's acoustic version of 'Hey Ya!', Patuwai's 'A Change is Gonna Come' and Thomas's emotional last number — not to mention the showstopping opening: Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky', featuring 13 finalists, an acrobat, and two dancers wearing mirrorball heads.
Since joining children’s TV show Squirt in 2000, Dominic Bowden’s jet-setting career has included time in the New Zealand, the United States, and Australian radio — plus three seasons hosting ratings-topper, NZ Idol. Signed to US agency William Morris Endeavor, Bowden broke into US broadcasting in 2007 as host of talent show The Next Great American Band, after relocating to Los Angeles. He then went behind the scenes on The X Factor USA, and in 2013 began presenting The X Factor (NZ). In 2017 Bowden began hosting the Kiwi version of dating show The Bachelor.