With the Evening News showcasing the best talent our city has to offer with the
Edinburgh’s Got Talent competition, we take a look back at the most memorable Scottish reality TV show contestants…
Who could forget Simon Cowell’s jaw dropping in complete shock as Susan Boyle took to the stage at Glasgow’s SECC to audition for 2009’s Britain’s Got Talent? The smirk was soon wiped off his face as she delivered a flawless performance of I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables which resulted in a standing ovation from both the audience and all three judges. She has since gone on to release two top-selling albums – one of which remains the best-selling UK album of all time. Not bad for a 47 year-old from Blackburn who almost missed the audition thanks to getting on the wrong bus!
Back in 2001, Darius stunned the nation for all the wrong reasons when he performed a ‘unique’ rendition of Britney Spears’ Hit Me Baby One More Time on the first series on Pop Idol. Despite going through a stage of infamy, Darius has since gone on to become a West End star and, in 2010, won ITV1’s Popstar To Opera Star.
19 year-old Leon Jackson from Whitburn deferred a place at our very own Edinburgh Napier University when he was chosen by Danni Minogue to appear on the fourth series of X Factor. He went on the win the show after a show-stopping duet performance with Kylie Minogue and had a number-one hit with his debut single When You Believe. His mainstream success was short-lived and he was dropped from Sony in 2009. He is currently working on a new acoustic album which he hopes to release independently next year.
Brothers Brian and Craig MacDonald competed in the third series of X Factor where they were finalists but lost out to Leona Lewis who eventually won the series. Following the show, they were chosen to support Westlife on tour and achieved limited commercial success in the UK. They are currently recording in their fifth album in Nashville which will be released in Asia early next year.
David Sneddon from Paisley won the first series of Fame Academy in 2002. His first single Stop Living The Lie held the number one spot in the charts for two weeks and remained in the Top 40 for a total of nine weeks. Despite his success, Sneddon decided to quit ‘fame’ in 2003 to focus on writing songs for other artists. He justified his decision by saying he entered the competition as a songwriter and musician and did not enjoy the fame that came with it. He has since written songs for a number of artists including Matt Cardle and the band Hurts.
Photos from Artists own websites.
…the crushingly boring repetition of a song that once meant something to someone…
Being in a flat with a communal living room has advantages and disadvantages for your music taste. Advantages include a broadened spectrum for your musical appetite and the chance to force your own ‘brilliant’ music tastes down other people’s unsuspecting throats (well, my musical tastes are brilliant, for everyone else I will continue to use derogatory and frankly condescending quotation marks).
However, there are several disadvantages to this shared living space. Among the examples of melodic distress I suffer daily is the nightmare of feigning interest in an artist I happen to despise, which is about 99.9% of popular artists today; you will likely be forced to listen to music you consider beneath you, or too simple, which in the case of the UK Top 40, is probably true; and most devastating of all, you will be forced to encounter the harrowing but schmaltzy ordeal that is the X Factor on ITV.
I think I understand it now. Glowing eyed young does wander innocently across the road of fame. Some are instantly splayed across the bonnet of a passing car, landing in a crumpled heap of bones and disappointment. Some are more wily, they have a half decent voice, or a half decent body, and they make it across the road a little bit further before being ensnared in the headlights and forced beneath the wheels into demi-celebrity, daytime talk show oblivion. But nobody ever really makes it across the road, and they never quite meet the echelons of the real musician’s status.
The real problem with this is that we don’t like to think that the musical joie de vivre comes from consumer surveys and a team of PR agents so good they could talk you out of believing in gravity. It’s a nice thought that musicians still bring their own personality to their performance, but with the X Factor the performances are soulless. Every last one of them. No matter how often they play Coldplay over the top and all the judges weep ‘tears of joy’, I have never seen a performance where I saw anything other than the crushingly boring repetition of a song that once meant something to someone. And therein lies the problem, it’s not the singers personality we’re seeing, its a compound of all the audience feedback and marketing nonsense that the judges and creators have been told to smear all over their new-found blank canvasses.
I’m leaving aside the whole building-up of people to an inevitable let down thing, like cooing over how nice it is giving a plane ride to a load of orphaned kittens, then turning your head when the pilot proceeds to open the door and eject every kitten, one by one, out into the wild blue yonder of thirty thousand feet up.
So I’ve come up with an elegant solution to everyone’s problems. The X Factor needs to start taking some responsibility. For the output of consistently faceless automatons I won’t complain, its more for those left helpless and bloodied in the dusty wake of the Simon Cowell et al. dream-smashing-mobile. I think that if the X Factor was forced to follow round the contestants ejected after numerous stages, just to film them for a week in a special ‘return to heart breaking normalcy’ episode, then people might feel a little bit worse about letting these people believe this show will change their lives. We could watch as they weep into their sink full of dishes, gawp at their pathetic crying every time they hear the song that sent them tumbling out of the competition and back into obscurity, and maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t be forced to leave the living room at seven every Saturday night.