Natalia Kills
X Factor New Zealand judges Natalia Kills and her husband Willy Moon have been fired from the talent show after bullying a contestant.Getty

Disgraced X Factor New Zealand judge Natalia Kills claims she was "encouraged" by show bosses to be more outspoken before launching a scathing attack on a contestant.

The British singer and her husband Willie Moon ridiculed Joe Irvine during the live episode, accusing the contestant of "copying" Moon's style and labelling him "disgusting."

In a tweet posted earlier today, Kills, 28, has spoken out for the first time since the incident and offered an apology to Irvine, urging him to be "unconventional".

Her husband Moon, 25, offered a similar explanation and admitted that their insults went "too far."

The married couple left the audience shocked with their rant, during which Kills said: "As an artist who respects creative integrity and intellectual property, I am disgusted with how much you have copied my husband. 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," Kills said.

Moon then joined in, telling Irvine: "I feel like you're going to stitch someone's skin to your face and then kill everyone in the audience."

The incident went viral and prompted TV network TV3 to announce that Kills and Moon were no longer judges on the talent contest. "[They are] no longer suitable to judge The X Factor NZ and have been removed from the show," the statement read.

It has been confirmed that Kills will be replaced by former Neighbours actress and singer Natalie Bassingthwaighte, who said in a statement: "We are going to have so much fun and I'm so excited to see their talents evolve. I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I hope will see them [the boys] through to the very end of the competition."

The future is looking a little uncertain for Kills as The Mirror reports she was dropped from her record label, Cherrytree Records, before she appeared on X Factor NZ. A rep for the label told the publication: "Natalia and Cherrytree parted ways months ago."