My interview with the delightful Julia Zemiro continues this week, and, given that she’s been hosting RocKwiz since 2005, and has seen countless contestants – of all types – during that time, I felt compelled to ask her about the dreaded N-word…
SH: Has anyone’s nerves ever got the better of them? Or have there been any disasters that you can remember?
JZ: There have definitely been nerves. There was a couple who wouldn’t take their sunglasses off and we were going “could you take your sunglasses off? You look ridiculous”. There are some people who go cool all of a sudden, but in general, no. In general, they’re scared so my job is to keep cajoling them and playing with them and flirting with them and relaxing them so they can get up and do it.
We had one girl who really got her answers utterly and completely wrong time after time… but she did it with such enthusiasm, energy and certainty that it just became the most adorable thing in the world!
I always think that nothing can’t be played with, nothing can’t be turned into a good situation. You can always find a way, because I get to improvise as the host to say “let’s just back off there” or whatever. It’s looser, because there’s less at stake; you could never do that in game show where there’s a lot of money up for grabs.
So I think we are allowed to be more flexible and Brian (Nankervis, Julia’s co-host) will give more points for people who are bold enough to sing something, even if they don’t have a great voice… or if they say something really funny. Because sometimes they do, and you just go “that is very funny; you just nailed it. 10 points to you!”
He will often even it up, just so that last round can be quite exciting. We’ve only ever had 2 tiebreakers I think, and you always have to break a tie. You should never leave something on a tie.
SH: What would you do if you were a contestant on the show?
JZ: I’d love it! Firstly, Stephen, I’d bloody love it! Secondly, I would work as a team. I would confer a lot – and you are allowed to do that. Everyone has their own buzzer. We’re very, very fancy at our show; you don’t share a buzzer, you get your own buzzer. I think I might be a little competitive. I think I would probably be a little over the top. We all have our areas of expertise; I think I would be quiet during the Noughties. I don’t know much about the music there, but I am very across the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
SH: “…and Today!”
JZ: (LAUGHING) and today.
SH: “The Freshest Mix!!” Very good. Moving on from RocKwiz, I want to talk for a moment about Australia’s Brainiest TV Star... Which you are, officially, ever since 2006 when you went on the show of the same name… and won! When they invited you to do it, what was your first reaction, and why did you say yes?
To see Julia’s answer (which may not be what you think), and to discover her strategy of how she got the edge over her competitors, and went on to WIN… drop by next week!