Long days on set meant that all four judges, including musical theatre queen Lucy Durack and Pussycat Doll lead singer Nicole Scherzinger, are a tight-knit group.
“They picked all the judges at the same time. The second I got a whiff that it was Manu, we rang each other instantly,” Shane recalls. “Like in any workplace, you never know how you’re going to get along with other people. Lucy Durack is the nicest human ever! She’s built by fairies. She was delivered to earth on a unicorn.”
“[Nicole] is the rock star. She flies in, flies out. She gets excited and she’s really involved in every act,” Manu adds. “We all complement each other – that’s why it works.”
And Shane is emphatic when he says they don’t just get along for the cameras.
“If you’re faking who you are on Australian television … Australia will smell a rat and you’ll get caught,” he says.
“If you’re not being who you truly are, Australia will suss you out. It doesn’t take them long.”
The boys’ mateship is clear on-screen as the show airs, despite being seated on opposite ends on the judging panel like naughty schoolboys.
While they do joke around, Shane’s comedic background and Manu’s circus training certainly help them to spot talent.
“We’ve definitely chosen some great people. The grand finale will be quite amazing,” Manu gushes.
Shane, a father-of-four, flies in from Melbourne to film the talent show in Sydney, while Manu’s two children hang out with them both backstage.
The two have become so close, they’re even cooking up a new television show together.
“We’ve been talking about doing a travel cooking show together. We want to tour around the country and discover the people and the food,” Manu says.
“I’ve got a full touring bus,” Shane agrees. “So we thought, why not just incorporate all of our worlds? I’ve got the kitchen, I just don’t know how to cook!”
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