X Factor Series 1: Would I Go For A Drink With This Contestant


10 Years Ago Today was the very first EVER X Factor live show. A lot has changed since 2004, when Cheryl was still Tweedy, the Spice Girls hadn't even yet reunited, and Sinitta hadn't even yet appeared in amazing 2005 TV series 'Hit Me Baby One More Time'. But the contestants are still around, so let's have a look to see how time has treated them and what they're all up to these days.


What does Wikipedia have to say?
"Roberta Howett is a former credit controller from Dublin who was constantly praised by the judges for relying on her talent instead of her looks. Despite her impressive performance of The Carpenters' "Superstar", she was eliminated in the first week of the competition when Cowell used his casting vote against her, claiming "she should be working in a hotel.""

What does Roberta have to say?
Roberta was kind enough to reply to my tweet begging for attention with a few informative and lovely Twitter direct messages. Roberta describes X Factor as "a great place and really amazing experience." However, you have to "be prepared to work hard and make it happen for yourself afterwards, the way that you want it to happen...you can meet great people in the industry and friends with the same passion." Since X Factor she has gone on to sing her own songs, played with other bands, had her own band and now writes and records herself. Finally, Roberta advised me that if I have a dream I should follow it.
(If you're already feeling vicariously starstruck that I have a DM from an official X Factor finalist WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE WHAT'S COMING.)

Best Performance:

Sadly Roberta's only performance. I think the comments are a little unfair as I've seen more boring people than this come third in later series, but there you go. 

Overall Would I Go For A Drink With This Contestant Rating: Yes. I would, but I would be a bit stressed out over what to wear. I think I would order a French Martini.


What does Wikipedia have to say?
"Verity Keayes is a music teacher from Grimsby, Lincolnshire. She had previously been part of a double act with her ex-husband Simon Keayes, touring America. She had been noticed by several music executives including Suzanne de Passe, and was offered record deals in the past but was forced to turn them down by her jealous ex-husband, and regretted letting the opportunity pass her by. During her audition in which she sang "When I Fall In Love", Cowell compared her to Olivia Newton-John, but she was eliminated after Osbourne's casting vote saved 2 to Go."

What does Verity have to say?
Nothing, as her Twitter account has zero tweets. Oh well, worth a shot. Some initial fun facts/comments on Verity:
  • She is a distant relative of Ella Henderson!
  • Check out that makeover picture above. That is pure "what people thought looked good in 2004", wasn't it? I sometimes wish I'd been born a decade earlier so could have been in my twenties during the early 2000s pop heyday, but I'm glad I didn't if that would be what I'd have to wear on nights out.

Best Performance:

This was the only video I could find. Verity sings okay but I agree with Louis that I'm not sure if she has the X Factor. This video is particularly notable for the bizarre turn of events in which LOUIS turns someone down for not having the X Factor (?!?!) and Simon comments that he feels he has been "touched, and that's rare."

Overall Would I Go For A Drink With This Contestant: Yes. Unfortunately I have not spoken to Verity so don't know how lovely she is, but she seems nice in the video. Always a bit of a warning sign when people bring up their ex-husband fifteen seconds in though, isn't it. I hope I wouldn't have to wear a bustier. I think I would order a large glass of dry white wine.


What does Wikipedia have to say? 
"2 to Go are a duo consisting of best friends Peter Jones and Emma Paine. Since their elimination in week 3, they have been performing in working men's clubs."

What do 2 to Go have to say?
Unfortunately, I was unable to find either Peter or Emma on Twitter so they are not available for comment (if anyone knows them, feel free to let them know they can give me a shout and I'll put in their comments later.)

Best Performance:

Okay okay, this isn't so much "cheesy" as "OH GOD LOOK AT THAT NEW BIO-ORGANISM YOU'RE GROWING FOR GODS SAKE THROW OUT THAT CATHEDRAL CITY" but I like it. Peter has a lovely voice and reminds me very much of Lovely Joe McElderry (one of my favourite contestants ever, and to quote one of Joe's own stellar performances, No Regrets). 

Overall Would I Go For a Drink With This Contestant: Yes, although I'd probably arrange to have someone call me half an hour in so I could pretend to have an emergency if I was getting bored. I would order a double vodka and lemonade.


What do Wikipedia have to say?
"Voices with Soul are a trio consisting of Hilda Campbell, her mother Grace and her aunt Corene. [...] After their elimination, they supported G4 on tour. Corene was one of the single women on Take Me Out in 2011. All three members are often seen in the audience of Big Brother's Bit On The Side."

What do Voices With Soul have to say?
Corene was kind enough to reply to my tweet: "Look up on fb voiceswithsoul, we are still singing as group, and we got a show come up Grace & Corene ch4 end October 14." [sic].

Best Performance:

Voices With Soul take on this ultimate "I think I look so good right now but god are my calves gonna hurt tomorrow" club classic in more LaBelle than Moulin Rouge fashion. Lil Kim could never. (I think this performance might be my window to shoehorn a reference in to it being such a shame when cover versions do better than the original.)

Overall Would I Go For A Drink With This Contestant: Without a doubt yes. Anyone who shows up on Big Brother's Bit On The Side on a semi-regular basis is a friend of mine. We can talk about the time me and my friend Daniel caught the train to Elstree to witness a Celebrity Big Brother eviction, but ultimately arrived too late and had to go for fish and chips instead clutching the laminated Lionel Blair sign I'd made especially. If I went for a drink with Voices With Soul, I would order an Amaretto and cranberry. 


What do Wikipedia have to say?
"Cassie Compton was the youngest contestant on series one of the X Factor. On the night she was eliminated, the seventeen-year-old's rendition of "All By Myself" failed to impress either the judges, particularly Cowell, who believed she was more of a West End singer. Compton has indeed performed in West End musicals since, including Les Miserables, Dirty Dancing, and Wicked."

What does Cassie have to say?
Cassie sadly did not reply to my tweet asking for a comment. :(

Best Performance:

Right, well you might have noticed by now these aren't so much "best performances" as "performances most readily available on YouTube" but Cassie does sing this quite well. Many, like Simon, would criticise Cassie for singing "All By Myself" aged seventeen which seems a little objectively ridiculous, but I disagree. No one knew loneliness like me when I was a seventeen year old Razorlight fan. 

Overall Would I Go For A Drink With This Contestant: I'd like to say yes, but I'm hesitant as I don't feel I know much about Cassie. Also, I know she isn't seventeen anymore, but I'm finding that difficult to process, and I don't want to be kicked out of any pubs thank you very much. So if I did go, I'd order a J2O.


What do Wikipedia have to say?
"Rowetta impressed the judges with her rendition of "Lady Marmalade", but Cowell described her as "Amazing, but bloody barking mad". Her soulful, powerful voice proved to be a hit with audiences, although she was criticised for competing as an established singer against amateurs. The producers defended her, stating that the show was open to anybody."

What does Rowetta have to say?
Rowetta didn't reply to my tweet, but this is understandable given her busy schedule. Funny to think that in those days the X Factor used to get criticism for having non-amateurs when nowadays contestants left right and centre are asked to audition isn't it? 

Best Performance:

Rowetta has a great voice, you can't deny she has the X Factor and God does she know how to pull a facial expression. (I wonder if Louis did ever buy her record like he promised?)

Overall Would I Go For A Drink With This Contestant: Completely yes, but I'd worry that she'd outshine me by being more funny and would be really nervous. I would probably end up having three drinks before she arrived. I would order a margarita.


What do Wikipedia have to say?
"Trevor John "Tabby" O'Callaghan is an Irish rock singer who had previously sung with future Westlife members Kian Egan and Mark Feehily. He was also with Petronella before joining DZ5, who auditioned for X Factor unaware that the show's willingness to accept bands only applied to vocal groups. The judges advised Callaghan to audition as a solo singer, and he was selected by Sharon Osbourne to be one of her acts at the live finals, finishing in third place overall. Callaghan later revealed he had been advised by the show's producers to drop the 'O' in his surname to make it sound more commercial and less Irish."

What does Tabby have to say?
Now, if you're one of my four regular readers of 10 Years Ago Vs Today you'll have already got a little bit of a flavour of the kind of fourteen-year-old I was back in 2004. I LOVED the X Factor. I was EXTREMELY lame. And most of all, more than ANYTHING, ANYTHING, I loved boys with a fringe who played the guitar. So you can only imagine, IMAGINE, how I felt about Tabby Callaghan.

I wish more than anything I was able to travel back in time to chat to fourteen year old me and tell her first of all - TABBY CALLAGHAN REPLIED TO MY TWEET.  Then - HE FOLLOWED ME ON TWITTER. Then - HE SENT ME A DM. Then - HE GAVE ME HIS EMAIL ADDRESS(!!!!!!). HE EVEN PUT A WINKY FACE IN SOME OF THE MESSAGES OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, back to the point. So what did Tabby actually have to say? I must say the adrenaline was a bit too heightened for me to pay full attention but he did tell me he'd been busy playing some gigs and even DMed me again a few weeks later to apologise for not replying to my email (OMG HE REMEMBERED ME EVEN THOUGH I WASN'T TWEETING HIM OMG OMG). Anyway Tabby, please feel free to get in touch again and I'll write a bit more about what you're actually doing yes. 

In all seriousness, I'm now a twenty four year old woman, NOT a fourteen year old girl (repeats mantra to self ad nauseum) and all I have to say about Tabby is he's very polite and lovely.

Best Performance:

Jamie Afro could never.

Overall Would I Go For A Drink With This Contestant: Are you joking? (I would order a gin and tonic.)


What do Wikipedia have to say?
"G4 consisted of students Jonathan Ansell, Matthew Stiff, Mike Christie, and Ben Thapa who were all students of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, from which the name of their group, standing for Guildhall 4, derives. They performed as buskers during their free time to earn money for themselves, and stood out from the rest of the competition due to their operatic delivery of modern pop songs. They reached the final of the competition where they finished as runners-up to Brookstein, but went on to outsell Brookstein following the release of their debut album G4, and Cowell later admitted that G4 and Walsh were the real winners of the competition."

What do G4 have to say?
Presumably as they are all very busy people, none of G4 replied to my tweet, although Ben did favourite it which is quite nice isn't it.

Best Performance:

I genuinely think this was amazing and remained the best "bonkers genre switch of successful song" X Factor had ever done all the way up to Carolynne Poole's bizarre country version of Starships.

Overall Would I Go For a Drink With This Contestant?: I'm not sure, because there is four of them and I'm not sure what I would talk to them about. I might feel very left out and they'd all feel very sorry for me and try to draw me into their conversations and it would just be very awkward. If I did go though, I'd order a Sailor Jerry's and coke.


What do Wikipedia have to say?
Stephen Desmond "Steve" Brookstein is a singer who had previously competed in ITV's The Big Big Talent Show whilst performing in pubs and clubs across the country. In 2004 he auditioned for the first series of the X Factor, but failed to impress two of the judges - Osbourne and Walsh - who both thought he lacked the motivation and the confidence to succeed, but Cowell asked Brookstein to return the following day. At his second audition, Brookstein managed to impress everyone and soon reached the live shows as one of three contestants in Cowell's category. Despite a controversial outburst against him from Osbourne, who now despised him and branded him "crap" and a "fake", he beat operatic boyband G4 to win the series during the final.

What does Steve have to say?
I now have the accolade of being manually retweeted by Steve Brookstein not once but twice; firstly he replied "read my book" and later on "I'm still good". Unfortunately, he has deigned not to comment further.

Best Performance:

Okay, this isn't so much a performance as one of the most insane YouTube videos of all time, but I would advise you to watch this immediately if you hadn't seen it. Absolute car crash television.

Overall Would I Go For a Drink With This Contestant?: I can think instantly off the top of my head four people I know personally who have fallen out with Steve on Twitter, so I wonder what it would be like in real life? I think I would go though, as everyone deserves a chance and it could potentially provide an amazing anecdote. I'd be ordering a large glass of red.

So there we have it - I hope you all learnt something. A huge thank you to all the contestants who took the time to reply to me or favourite my tweet (looking at you, Ben from G4). And Happy 10 Year Live Show-Aversary to us all! (Ten years? Is this how I've really spent FORTY ONE PERCENT of my ENTIRE LIFE?)

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  1. I BLOODY LOVED THIS POST X I'll follow when I'm on my iPad not phone x