J D FORTUNE, the once-homeless singer who won a reality TV show to join Australian rock band Inxs, admits he was a huge critic of the on-screen competition when it started.

But he quickly realised the venture was not the commercial sell-out he feared, but a serious music project, and is thrilled to be Michael Hutchence's replacement in the band.

He says, "There are millions of fans worldwide who were critics when the show started, and I was one of them, but as the show progressed, it became more about the record."

And the Canadian even found settling into a new life in the southern hemisphere relatively easy.

He adds, "Canadians and Australians share a lot of similarities culturally. We're both a small population in a large land mass. We share a love of barbecues, beer, sports."