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X Factor Live 2015

February 2015

A MATTER of days before it was announced that Sam Bailey had been dropped by Simon Cowell’s label Syco Music, the X Factor 2013 winner was asked what advice she had for Ben Haenow.
“You need to stay grounded, be prepared to work hard and most importantly be respectful,” said the mum-of-three.
She should have added: “Enjoy it while you can.”
Bailey’s debut single, Skyscraper, was the Christmas No. 1 in 2013. Her debut album, The Power Of Love, also topped the UK chart.
She even got to support Beyoncé at one of her UK shows. But no sooner had her own tour, which came to the Royal Concert Hall earlier this month, had ended, she was dropped. Or rather her contract was not renewed. Which is a good indication of how Cowell views the longevity of X Factor champions.
“I kind of knew it was coming,” Bailey told Gaby Roslin, standing in for the host of ITV’s Lorraine.
“I’m not silly, I’ve been around the block a bit,” added the former prison officer from Leicester.
Fourteen months after winning the show, she was cast adrift.
Bailey plans to continue but without major label/management behind her she is unlikely to repeat her past success.

Haenow is mirroring Bailey’s journey from the winner’s podium, topping the Christmas chart with Something I Need (the fastest-selling debut single of 2014), then signing Syco Music on his 30th birthday.

He’s in the process of working on his debut album for the label.

“To say I’m excited to become part of the Syco family is an understatement,” said the former van driver from Croydon.

“Getting to work with Simon during the show was incredible. He is a great guy and amazing mentor – and really helped me as an artist.”

Like Bailey, he is the main attraction on the 25-date X Factor tour, which comes to the Capital FM Arena on Sunday.

Joining him will be runner-up Fleur East, for a long time the favourite to win the series, plus Lauren Platt, Andrea Faustini, Stevi Ritchie, Jay James, Only The Young and Stereo Kicks.

The tour opened in Belfast with Fleur East first on stage singing Can’t Hold Us, followed by Lauren Platt with Happy and How Will I Know.

Only The Young took on the Jungle Book classic I Wanna Be Like You, while Stereo Kicks ran through a medley of Beatles hits, among them Let It Be and Hey Jude.

The second half included the obligatory group performance before headliner Haenow’s show-stealing set of six songs, including AC/DC’s Highway To Hell, an indication of his rock leanings.

Stevi Ritchie, whose clowning on the TV series rather bafflingly landed him in the final, will be seen suspended in mid air dressed as Freddie Mercury for his karaoke version of Bohemian Rhapsody.

His first number is Livin’ La Vida Loca, backed by a troupe of backing dancers dressed in bright pink.

Other outfits include a Bond-style tux for Jay James’ cover of Skyfall, described by one reviewer as “the best times to nip to the toilet”.

There’ll be interpretations of songs by The Beatles, Elvis, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Snow Patrol and two Disney tunes, Let It Go from Frozen and I Wanna Be Like You from Jungle Book.

Maintaining her credibility and the most likely to succeed from the 2014 series is Fleur East.

Her six songs (as many as winner Haenow), include Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass, Jessie J’s Bang Bang, Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk, Alicia Keys’ If I Ain’t Got You and Macklemore’s Can’t Hold Us.

And she is the only other X Factor finalist from last year’s series to sign a record deal... with Cowell’s Syco Music.

There’s a video before the group finale – Take That’s Never Forget – showing some of the more interesting characters from the series and you’ll have to look out for Gamston’s Lauren Lovejoy, whose depiction of the four judges as animals (Simon Cowell – lion, Cheryl Fernandez-Versinia – Persian cat, Mel B – panther and Louis Walsh – seal) was one of the highlights of the early shows.

Although they’d be wise not to include that clip as the broadcast edited out the part where the 25-year-old explained that it was her autism that made her see people in such a way.

As for Haenow, he’d be wise to enjoy every moment, considering X Factor winners who have gone before. For every Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke and Little Mix, there’s a Steve Brookstein, Leon Jackson or Sam Bailey.

The world of Twitter has certainly helped keep him grounded.

He recently asked his social media followers “Fancy a little #AskHaenow?”

Among the questions about his life and music, there were a few swipes to the kidneys, including “Who are you again?” (@Our_manPLA) and “When you go to McDonald’s do you ask the staff what their names are to build up a rapport with your future colleagues?” (@ItWasJustBanter).


The X Factor Live Tour comes to the Capital FM Arena on Sunday at 7.30pm. Tickets, from £21.84, are available from 0843 373 3000 or capitalfmarena.com.

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