Lorde has shown her support for Joe Irvine, the X Factor New Zealand contestant at the centre of a controversy that saw two of the show's judges fired. The pop star – originally from Auckland – sent a sweet handwritten note and a box of cupcakes to Joe, after he was verbally attacked by Natalia Kills and her husband and fellow judge Willy Moon following his rendition of Cry Me A River.
Humbled Joe shared a picture on Twitter of the cupcakes, which spelt out ‘Keep Being Joe', and Lorde's thoughtful message. "Hi Joe," it began. "Just wanted to say your individuality, positive energy and spirit are infectious! I think you're doing an awesome job on the show so far.
Lorde reached out to Joe Irvine following the X Factor controversy
"I'm a performer too & I wanted to say that no matter how many people make fun of me for how I dress, move & act, I'm being me – and that's what's important. Good luck & lots of love, Lorde."
The 18-year-old isn’t the only celebrity to reach out to Joe following Sunday night’s episode. Ed Sheeran tweeted the X Factor contestant, writing, "@jooe63_joe don't worry about what anyone else says man. Enjoy yourself with it, that's what singing is all about, not what other people think."
On Monday, MediaWorks chief executive Mark Wheldon confirmed in a statement that judges Natalia and Willy had both been sacked from the show for making "comments that were completely unacceptable".
Humbled Joe shared a photo of the cupcakes and handwritten note
"While the judges on X Factor are expected to provide critiques of the performances, we will not tolerate such destructive tirades from any of the judges," he said.
"Contestants put their all into this competition and they should expect to receive feedback and criticism that is professional and constructive.
"We no longer have confidence that Kills and Moon are the right people to perform the role of X Factor judges and they will leave the show, effective immediately."
Bradford-born Natalia launched a tirade at Joe following his performance – the first of the live shows – choosing to focus on his look, which she claimed he had copied from her husband.
Natalia Kills and husband Willy Moon have both been fired from the show
"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to state the obvious, we have a doppelganger in our midst," she began, "As an artist who respects creative integrity and intellectual property, I am disgusted at how much you've copied my husband."
As the audience booed, she continued, "From the hair to the suit, do you not have any value or respect for originality?
"You're a laughing stock. It's cheesy, it's disgusting, I personally found it absolutely artistically atrocious. I am embarrassed to be sitting here in your presence having to even dignify you with an answer of my opinion."
Since then, a number of Twitter users have gone on to point out similarities between Natalia, and other famous faces, from Lady Gaga, Cleopatra, MIA and Elizabeth Taylor.
Her comments were also backed up by her husband, who stated that Joe's image – a suit and slicked-back hair – felt "just a little bit cheap and absurd". "It's like Norman Bates dressing up in his mother's clothes," he added.