Natalia Kills and Willy Moon have suggested they were prompted to play mean before they gave a contestant an historic dressing-down on X Factor New Zealand. And both now admit the situation got out of hand.
The married couple, who were sacked for their part in a mean-spirited critique of contestant Joe Irvine's performance, have issued statements from their Twitter accounts to try to fill-in the backstory.
Kills tweeted her statement with the caption, "at last! I am relieved that I'm finally able to break the silence". Her message notes, "a lot goes on behind the scenes of a reality TV show and you see isn't always the whole story. The show brought me on to bring my passion, dramatic expression and perspective. I was encouraged to be outspoken and things got out of hand." She also offered an olive branch to the shamed contestant. "Joe," she writes, "I hope you can forgive me and I wish you all the best! Be natural, unconventional and be you!"
At last! I am relieved that I'm finally able to break the silence... xoxo pic.twitter.com/9ubfgJjjZm
-- NATALIA KILLS (@NataliaKills) March 19, 2015
Moon's statement follows a similar theme. He said, "the show encourages judges to be forthright and highly opinionated. It went too far and I never intended to single out anyone," before offering his own apology to the crew, and to Irvine.
-- Willy Moon (@willymoon) March 19, 2015
It's the first time the pair has openly addressed the weekend's X Factor debacle, in which Kills slammed Irvine for having "copied my husband," and put the boot in with: "You're a laughingstock. 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... You make me sick." Moon got his own turn during the taping: "I feel like you're going to stitch someone's skin to your face and then kill everyone in the audience."
After footage of the tirade went viral and a public backlash gathered momentum, Mediaworks, owners of TV3, the local broadcaster of the show, announced Kills and Moon were "no longer suitable to judge The X Factor NZ and have been removed from the show."
Since Irvine's on-screen character assassination, a handful of music stars have reacted to the Kills and Moon blast. Ed Sheeran and Lorde have reached out to the hapless contestant, while Ellie Goulding and Calvin Harris mocked the former judges on social media. Check out a full roundup of celebrity reactions here.
Kills and Moon's places on the judging panel will now be filled by Australian singer Natalie Bassingthwaighte (formerly with electronic act Rogue Traders) and I Am Giant drummer Shelton Woolright.