It has been an incredibly exciting weekend for the McRitchie household. A television crew has spent several days shadowing the family and filming material to put a profile together on Brandt.
The show ran for a long time in Britain and was a hit in New Zealand last year. A Billy Joel impersonator took out the first prize of a trip to Las Vegas, and another trip to the gambling/entertainment mecca is on offer for the 2009 winner. Brandt is one of just 45 competitors, but will have to win his heat to make the final show. Four years ago Australia’s Channel 9 had a similar series called Starstruck.
Brandt and his wife, Cristina, are thrilled at the turn of events, and are hoping to enjoy the experience as much as possible. They manage Fletcher Christian Apartments and Brandt also runs Cross Cut Constructions, a building company on the Island. They moved here with their young children, Teddy and Sienna, in late 2006, but they had holidayed on Norfolk several times. Cristina also has a family link to the Island as her Aunt Mary is married to an Islander, Bernie Christian-Bailey. Cristina visited Norfolk many times when she was a youngster.
They are a creative couple and have been involved in lots of music and theatre productions in Noosa and Sydney. Since arriving they have joined drama and arts groups and both took part in Norfolk’s It Takes Two competitions. These raised funds for local community groups while keeping us all entertained. Brandt also performs regularly in the music duo, Ebony and Ivory, with Eddie Miratana. He and Cristina manage to balance work, family, sporting and musical obligations very well.
However, it was Brandt’s performance at Charles and Kim Christian-Bailey’s wedding last year which led, eventually, to his involvement with Stars in Their Eyes. His version of Elvis’ Can’t Help Falling In Love With You so impressed Karen Mason, Kim’s mother and a New Zealander, that she urged him to audition for the second series. Later in the year Brandt signed up online, sent in a DVD (made professionally a few years ago) that showcased his singing, and waited for their decision.
In early January he learnt that he’d been chosen, and that Tony and Pietra were coming over to film him at work and play. They managed to get some wonderful footage of Brandt singing with his daughter, horsing around with the Creaky Ol’ Convicts and relaxing at Emily Bay. They were ‘blown away’ by Norfolk’s many attractions, and the McRitchies are pleased that the Island could be showcased as well.
So, all Brandt has to do now is practice, but he can’t tell us who he will be impersonating on the big night – the TV producers have sworn all the contestants to secrecy. Cristina, Teddy, Sienna and the Masons will be in the audience cheering him on, and Norfolkers will have their fingers crossed, too.
Good luck, Brandt and we hope you’ll send us a postcard from Vegas!
Brandt with the TV crew