herald

Saturday 21 July 2018

It's not enough to just be Irish this year, says X Factor singer

DUBLIN X Factor contestant Laura O'Neill (inset) believes that judge Louis Walsh is playing down the 'Irish card' this year.

The singer said that it is no longer enough to have the 'Irish factor' in the competition as the stakes are set much higher.

Laura (22) passed through to the bootcamp but doesn't remember her moment on stage at the audition.

"I went blind for three minutes of my life, it was a total blackout," she said. "I don't remember a lot of it and then when I came off the stage I was like a rabbit in headlights."

Laura said that her rendition of AC/DC You Shook Me All Night Long was an attempt to show her rock-chick roots, but the judges were not impressed.

The Dubliner only got two yes votes but, in a dramatic turn of events, her best friend rushed on stage and pleaded for a second chance for Laura.

"I went back out and I sang Adele's One And Only," Laura said. "[Judge] Tulisa started laughing, she asked why I didn't sing that in the first place.

"I approached it the wrong way, I tried to be more animated than other contestants. I forgot I was singing to three singers."

Laura, who travelled over with a group of 18 family and friends to the auditions in the UK, said that the approach of the judges had changed now that Simon Cowell is no longer on the show.

And she said that Louis doesn't push the Irish acts forward, despite massive success for the likes of Jedward, Mary Byrne and Niall Horan from One Direction.

"The standard is much higher this year, it's totally different," Laura said. "I had a chat with Louis but he is trying to play down the Irish card. I forgot to focus on my voice and I concentrated on other things. It took 14 hours to be interviewed and by the time I got to sing I was numb."

Laura, who teaches at The National Performing Arts School Dublin, said that she would advise anyone to try the X Factor once.

clairemurphy@herald.ie

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