It wasn’t the result they wanted, but after their shock ousting from The X-Factor NZ, Moorhouse are determined to see the positives in their elimination.
They’ve handled the decision very well in public, but emotions are still raw for Brock Ashby, Jason Aileone, Rory McKenna (all 19), and Marley Wilcox-Nanai (17), with the four young men admitting they “cried like babies” when the cameras stopped rolling.
But now they’ve reached the end of their journey on the hit TV3 reality show, it’s onwards and upwards for the Christchurch heart-throbs.
“We’re gutted. Like, really gutted,” says Brock.
“To make it that far, and then miss out on the final…”
“We really wanted it, but I don’t think we realised how much until it was over,” adds Rory.
It felt like the longest 34 seconds of their lives, they say, when host Dominic Bowden paused before announcing who was going home – them, or Greymouth songbird Jackie Thomas (yes, they timed it).
“Dom’s a champion, but that pause was harsh,” laughs Rory.
“In that 34 seconds our lives were going to change, one way or the other,” says Brock. “It’s kind of crazy, if you think about it.”
“It’s all a game, I guess,” adds Marley. “But it’s playing with our lives, our dreams. The thing is it was completely out of our control – it’s not like we could have voted for ourselves 10,000 times!”
“We thought about spending $1000 to vote for ourselves, but then we realised we didn’t have $1000,” Jason says with a grin.
While they’re now in a kind of “weird limbo” before they figure out what’s next, Brock, Jason, Rory and Marley are thankful for every opportunity, as well as the strengthened bond they now share.
“We’re not mates any more, we’re brothers,” Brock says, while the rest nod fervently.
“It’s not easy when you’re a group to have everything come together at the right time. It’s also not easy to stay good mates, or be positive all the time, but we did it. Being from Christian backgrounds helped a lot as well.”
“We know everything about each other now,” Rory says, throwing a meaningful glance at the others.
The boys also discovered aspects of themselves they didn’t even know they had – such as the ability to cope under pressure, and that they are capable of working hard.
“And that we can kind of dance,” Marley says.
“I’m a dancer, so to see these guys move was amazing,” Jason chips in. “It made me happy and it surprised me. Who knew that they had rhythm?Especially Brock.”
“That’s a good one Jase. Where are you sleeping tonight?” Brock retorts playfully.
While the group is looking forward to taking control of their careers, they have no regrets about their time on The X Factor NZ, and all agree the final three – Jackie, Whenua Patuwai and Benny Tipene – deserve to be the last ones standing.
“They’ve proven their greatness,” insists Brock.
“But we just want to thank everyone involved in the show. They treated us like we were their own kids, and it was an honour to meet everyone.”
“Also to our fans, thank you so much,” Rory says.
“We’ll work hard for you and make music – whether we get signed or not.”
And the boys have a message for The X Factor founder and music mogul Simon Cowell.
“Simon. Bro. It’s been a pleasure being part of your show,” Rory says with a smile.
“You’re a champion, so if you want to sign us…Call us!”
Kelly Bertrand.Photos: Jae Frew • hair, make-up & styling: Jules Armishaw
About Kelly Bertrand
“I started at the Weekly after a two-week internship in 2011, which was part of my journalism studies. Basically, I hung around and annoyed people long enough to land a job as a staff writer, and I’ve been here ever since. I’m lucky enough to get to write stories ranging from the Kardashians through to the Queen, but my real passion is telling the stories of New Zealand’s sporting stars. Sometimes I can’t quite believe it’s my job to hang out with All Blacks and Silver Ferns! I absolutely love working at the Weekly, and feel really privileged to be part of this 83-year-old Kiwi institution. I’m also fond of Instagram, coffee and animals dressed as humans!”more of this author