The Malta Independent 9 June 2023, Friday
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X Factor judges had not seen Matthew Grech interview clip before audition

Albert Galea Monday, 29 October 2018, 08:31 Last update: about 6 years ago

The judges of X Factor had not seen the controversial interview clip with contestant Matthew Grech before his audition.

This was confirmed by both Ira Losco and Howard Keith Debono, who are two of the show's four judges, in a comment board on a Facebook post.

Matthew Grech raised controversy after he used the interview prior to his audition on the show to speak about how he had been gay and how he used to lead a "homosexual lifestyle", but then "found God". 

"For a long time, I stopped following my passions to follow Jesus. There can be love between two men and two women, yes - but only friendship love. Everything else is a sin", Grech said in the clip aired by Malta's national broadcaster TVM. 

Grech is a member of the controversial, anti-gay movement River of Love. River of Love had been in the news for allegedly carrying out what they called 'gay conversion therapies'.  The promotion of such supposed therapies was made illegal in 2016.

Grech passed through to the next round with three yeses, with Ray Mercieca, Ira Losco and Howard Keith Debono giving him the thumbs up.  Alexandra Alden gave him the thumbs down.  In judging the contestant, none of the judges made any reference to what Grech had said in the filmed clip.

Questions were raised over the fact that none of the judges made reference to Grech's pre-audition interview; however both Ira Losco and Howard Keith Debono confirmed on social media that they had not seen the said interview prior to Grech's audition.

Ira Losco explained that the judges were viewing 40 auditions per day, and the interviews were filmed in parallel whilst this was taking place.

The singer is a household name in Malta's music industry, and she is also a well-known advocate of the LGBTIQ cause.  Since the programme was aired on the evening of 21 October, Ira was silent on social media, only posting on her official social media page on the evening of 27 October.

In that post she noted several phrases that she likes to keep in mind when living her life; "Never forget where you are coming from", "No dream is too big", "Keep your feet in the ground", and "Live and Let Live".

Under the latter phrase, she wrote; "For years I have lived by this mantra. Everyone has the right to be whoever they want to be. Everyone has the right to love who they are, and once they can love themselves, because they have been encouraged to do so by their friends, family and society, then they can love whoever they choose to."

The interview itself drew a lot of controversy, as did the state broadcaster TVM for airing it, from all quarters, including the government, the Opposition and several NGOs.



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