By 3 News online staff
Australian Idol winner Stan Walker has been named as the first judge on the upcoming series of The X Factor New Zealand.
Walker, who won his Idol title in 2009, says he's looking forward to finding "undiscovered talent" and "the diamonds in the rough".
"X Factor means the whole package, it's about being a star - not just a 'great singer' but an artist," says Walker.
The announcement was made this morning at the launch of TV3's 2013 season, where X Factor USA finalist Chris Rene performed live.
Walker, signed to Sony Music, has sold more than 80,000 albums in New Zealand, and his debut album Introducing went platinum both here and in Australia.
He has five gold singles, one platinum and one double-platinum in New Zealand alone, and is the recipient of five New Zealand Music Awards - including the 2010 People’s Choice Award.
Walker says despite his youth – the singer has only just turned 22 – he brings experience to the table, having been a contestant in a reality singing competition before.
"I know how it feels to stand up in front of judges and how much courage it takes,” he says. “I want to encourage anyone who thinks they have what it takes, but is too scared to give it a try, to get up and give it a go."
Walker was born in Melbourne and is of Tuhoe and Ngati Ranginui descent. He grew up in Mount Manganui and Queensland and before hitting the big time worked at a menswear shop and sung at church.
"The X Factor is just the beginning," he says. "There's a lot of hard work after that. Talent will take you so far but character will take you all the way."
The remaining three members of the judging panel will be announced in the coming months.