She said of her proteges: “They didn’t just come off packing bags at Asda. They have been studying, since they were 15 or 16. It takes 10 years.
“They come through the process very slowly. They are introduced into all aspects of it – the works, the diet, the body – the whole 10 years of it.”
The comments echo harsher ones she made last year about young “popera” singers such as Hayley Westenra, 22, a fellow New Zealander, whom she described as “not in my world”.
Attacking similar singers, she said: “They are all fake singers; they sing with a microphone. These people, two or three years and they’re gone. People call them up-and-coming, but they never last. They are the new fakes for the new generation.”