While the rest of country waits with breath that is baited to see which one of the four remaining young(ish) vocalists will be crowned as Australia’s Next Top Voice, another search (which has also been underway since April) has narrowed down its contenders to the final four in the semi-triannual-ish Channel [V] Presenter Search.
After sifting through over 6000 applicants for the self-appointed best gig in the world, Bridget Hustwaite, Charlie Cotton, Gus Kell and Marty Smiley have emerged semi-victorious from masses of charismatic and clumsily edited YouTube CVs and awkward interviews. Now we have to apply some rigorous framework to best determine just who is destined for either a career-defining status as a verified ‘personality’ on the Australian media landscape (see “Yumi Stynes“) or who will fade into obscurity as a vilified ‘personality’ on the Australian local media landscape (also see “Yumi Stynes”).
Here’s our criteria for judging each contender based entirely on first impressions of: screen presence (read: telegenics), Like-ability (read: social media presence), brand allegiance (in keeping with previous hosts) and follicle fitness (is your hair [V] apropos?)
Bridget describes herself as “basically passionate as fuck about music” and has watched [V] for ten years so she’s got a strong awareness of the [V] brand (these parentheses are really gonna piss me off). I like Bridget’s ballsy attitude. Plus current host Billy Russell admits to having developed a crush on her (bodes well?). Bridget’s to-camera addresses via her laptop are a bit snooze but she can definitely turn it on whilst in an on-screen, mic-in-hand situation and she’s totes watchable.
So far she’s raked up the most Facebook ‘Likes’ with 1.4k, has a Twitter following of 106 and a blog that has only been active for a couple of months. She’s definitely got an active fan base, which I’m guessing comes in handy in this competition. I should probably look into [V]’s criteria for choosing the winner.
A visual merchandising student, Hustwaite has a penchant for dropping the F bomb in 50% of her sentences which is pretty on-brand for [V]. I thought it was pretty fucking funny and first but it got old pretty fucking quickly. See? She’s definitely spot on for [V] obviously, or else she wouldn’t have made it this far. So this category is fast becoming redundant.
Bridget’s definitely has a Danny Clayton thing going on with her mussed up hair, which at the outset you’d think might work well in her favour; but really, how much room is there on [V] for the perpetually bed-headded? Answer: A lot. Stupid question – the more dishevelled the better. I don’t think this category can be emphasised enough, in fact, I’m putting it out there as THE deciding factor. Bridget gets 3.5/5 Danny Claytons.
Full disclosure: my parents were friends with Charlie’s parents when I was between the ages of 5 – 10 so this is a bit weird. Charlie fancies himself as a bit of a presenter and his showreel is populated with some pretty impressive stunts including crashing the Raffles runway barefoot at Fashion Week. It’s no Dion Lee runway but that’s pretty ballsy/hilarious. A dickhead move, and I think he knows it so that’s a big tick.
With 442 Facebook likes and 73 followers on Twitter, CC has less of a social media presence than Bridget, but a significant library on YouTube more than makes up for that. I think it’s safe to say Charlie enjoys his time on camera and that’s definitely a good thing.
Cotton has a very impressive resume, looks the part and has alliterative initials, which never hurt. He’s undoubtedly comfortable on camera and definitely has a screen presence that can read as either “douchey” (according to one commenter) or really entertaining, depending on how you read cocky from confidence.
With locks that run the gamut from combed and parted to artfully dishevelled, CC’s follicles will suit [V] just fine, as long as he stays away from the blonde wig featured in his display picture. A strong, though tame, head of hair. A solid 3.5/5 Andrew Gs.
Gus has this awkward red-head thing going on which is pretty hilarious. His acoustic musical comedy schtick is definitely LOL, although I can kinda see Gus a little further up the remote on 806, or whatever music MAX is these days.
With 806 FB Likes (coincidence to the MAX!), Gus is going okay and has only had Twitter for, like, a fortnight. On the plus side, although it has since disappeared, Gus received an endorsement from Wil Anderson whose 190,063 followers more than make up for Gus’ measly 90 (says the guy with 97! #FF me please? ¯_(?)_/¯ Kidding.) Gus was also the viewer voted finalist so he has a proven following with the pay-for-television public.
Kell is totally to the left of V’s brand and I think that’s a massive tick. Although I guess you could say he’s kind of like a ginger James Mathieson. I just watched his rap and it’s hilarious. High production value and a full-body leopard print jumpsuit? Good one Gus.
Dude rhymes ginger beard with ginger beer. Nice! Plus there is a serious lack of red-heads on TV at the moment (sans Joan Harris née Holloway). Potentially too well-groomed? I like his sweater collection though. 4/5 James Mathiesons.
First impressions: Marty has a great name and looks well-poised to fill the mousey void left by Steve Bourke. He used the ‘What ____ Thinks I Do’ meme for his audition video! Relevant. He’s got previous presenting experience and works for a NFP. This guy’s hilarious. He looks like a background dancer from Countdown circa ‘Livin In The 70s‘ or the lovechild of Leo Sayer and whoever made love to Leo Sayer and this is definitely a good thing.
Smiley has 693 Likes and by far the strongest Twitter following with 327 followers – plus his background is actually a photograph of him and a Leo Sayer poster! I like how he thinks.
With the necessary levels of quirk, charisma and presenting skills, Marty obviously fulfils the [V]J brief. Duh – I’m really regretting creating this category now.
Along with the social media chutzpah, Marty definitely has a fantastic head of hair and a large enough personality to prevent it becoming the sole-signifier of his personal brand. 4/5 Steve Bourkes.
Final thoughts? With Jane Gazzo leaving for MAX, Bridget seems an obvious choice to correct the gender imbalance three dudes would bring. However her lack of experience is made all the more evident by someone like Charlie, who literally has a degree – or as close as you can muster – in this field and has a lot of experience doing [V]esque things on camera. Gus is evidently the people’s choice but may be a bit too mature for The [V] while Smiley is perhaps a little too young. The final two will be announced next weekend so we’ll check back in then. My prediction: Gus [v]. Marty, with Marty taking the title. I will most likely be wrong! Next up, The Voice!