I posted on Facebook after the audition episodes, which coincided with the first few episodes of Top of the Lake, that I far preferred X Factor to Jane Campion’s series. I doubt there’s been a more emotionally engaging piece of NZ television in years than those first episodes of X Factor. Two recurring themes I noted: breast cancer and poverty. I don’t know how many aspirants were singing for dead mothers, lost wives—maybe I’m inflating the number but grief seemed everywhere. So did poor people.