AGT here for the long haul
Australia's Got Talent - Gold Coast Auditions Brian McFadden, Dannii Minogue and Kyle Sandilands. Picture: Paul Broben.

Less than two minutes after sitting down with Australia's Got Talent judges Brian McFadden, Dannii Minogue and Kyle Sandilands, we've played musical chairs and discussed stripper heels.

"It doesn't get any funnier," Minogue says, settling next to the heater after an impromptu seat shuffle at the Melbourne studios where the finals are filmed.

The effortless banter between the three is indicative of their happy relationship both on and off screen.

During our chat, they discuss the Seven show, which has been running for six seasons, just as passionately as McFadden and Sandilands' search for the nation's best KFC and Minogue's ever-changing hairstyles.

"Nothing's scripted, it's just us," she says.

"We sometimes get it right, we sometimes get it wrong, but at least there's a gel between us."

Sandilands, never one to beat around the bush, agrees. "There's a lot of people that work with each other that are jealous of each other or don't respect where the other person comes from," he says. "We've known each other for 15 years."

Minogue has been a judge since the show's first season in 2007 while former boy band member McFadden and ex-Australian Idol and X Factor judge Sandilands replaced Red Symons and Tom Burlinson in 2010.

"I've done these (talent shows) for years but this is the most fun because it's a bit of variety," Sandilands says.

Over the years Sandilands has built himself a reputation as a controversial media personality.

However, this season has indicated the shock jock has mellowed somewhat since he was deemed to have breached decency standards after making derogatory comments on radio about an Eastern States journalist.

"I definitely think he's nicer this year," Minogue says emphatically.

"He's changed. You smiled at opera, you've never smiled at opera before," she adds.

However, this analysis of his judging style doesn't sit well with Sandilands.

"This is the deal, right," he says. "People's memory of me on these show over the years is, 'Oh, he's always the one that says the awful thing', but that's bull. I'll still say if someone's terrible or if they've made a bad error on the show.

"I just want to be entertained."

Last year, AGT was the most watched non-sporting program of the year and 2.855 million viewers tuned in to watch teen singing sensation Jack Vidgen crowned the winner.

However, this year has seen a drop in ratings, with Nine's new reality hit The Voice stealing the limelight and going head to head with AGT in the first few weeks.

"We were the biggest show on TV last year and now they're the biggest show on TV, so now they're the new shiny ball and that's just what happens," says Sandilands, who is keen to sign on for another season, while Minogue and McFadden are yet to commit.

"I've watched The Voice, it's a great show.

"We just do what we do year in, year out. We're trying to give these contestants a chance.

McFadden adds: "There won't ever be no place for AGT. At the moment there's nothing else like it where you can have a mishmash of people doing anything.

"It will always be there. Even after we're gone it will still be around, for ever."

According to McFadden, the decline in viewers doesn't have anything to do with a lack of talent.

"I started to think that we didn't have as much talent this year. But it's not until you get to this stage that you trim off all the fat and you just have the best of the best in the eight semi-finals."

And as the competition reaches the pointy end, with the grand final show airing on Wednesday, followed by the grand final decider the week after, it could be anyone's game.

In a huge coup for the show, teen pop sensation Justin Bieber will make a star appearance on Wednesday's show, taking to the stage for a special performance.

Australia's Got Talent grand final showdown airs on Wednesday at 7.30pm on Seven/GWN7 with the grand final decider on July 25.

The West Australian

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