Audience member provides magnificent reactions during Leaders Debate

Leaders debates are important events. They are about finding out how the country's future leader might cope under pressure, what they think of the important issues of our time. And they're about zeroing in on that crowd member with the great reactions.

And, boy, did a member of Newshub's audience deliver.

Seated in the front row, bathed in a pool of light, sat a young man about to discover just how expressive his face is.

As the leaders discussed taxes, poverty, drug law and fiscal holes, one million New Zealanders saw exactly what Samyson Aguilera (unfortunately not his real last name) thought of every argument.

People tweeted screengrabs and replays of his reactions. 

As the debate went into the ad break, Mr Aguilera said he got about 40 notifications from friends asking, "Why are you doing that with your face?"

"I didn't know my face was so expressive until last night," Mr Aguilera told Newshub.

At one point, Bill English and Jacinda Ardern were answering questions on child poverty.

Adjacent to Mr English's shoulder, Mr Aguilera was seen crossing himself, in the Catholic tradition. 

By Tuesday morning, the moment was all over Twitter.

Mr Aguilera said the sign of the cross was in response to Mr English's saying the Labour Party is "of touch" on the front-line of poverty. The cross was "an instant reaction" to a claim that felt "hypocritical and really below the belt," he said.

He became an overnight sensation, with people calling for 'plaid shirt guy' to be elected Prime Minister.

Mr Aguilera said he's open to running for office.

"Gotta give the people what they want, after all," he told Newshub.

Mr Aguilera said he thought the debate was a close call, but that Mr English "floundered on abortion… and then what cause would he march for question and he essentially said himself."

"There was less of a clear winner and more of a clear loser in that moment," he said.

Newshub.

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