herald

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Hot tubs add the XXX Factor to boot camp

THESE exclusive pictures show the behind-the-scenes hijinks at this year's X Factor boot camp.

The temperature has been turned up this series as contestants are treated to hot tubs and luxury accommodation in a castle near to the London auditions.

Producers are hoping that there will be chemistry between the contestants this year and have set the scene for romantic liaisons.

And no cost has been spared when it comes to the lavish surroundings.

Sources said that contestants who made it through the auditions were brought to a holding room before being taken to a secret location near Wembley Arena.

They had time to relax and let loose -- in front of the cameras.

"There was this big party with outdoor beds, ice sculptors, hot tubs and free drink," said a source.

"It was really crazy. Some girls and lads jumped into the hot tubs when they thought the cameras weren't looking, but they rushed straight over."

"It's like Big Brother this year -- there are cameras following the contestants everywhere," they added.

But the contestants flying the green flag did the country proud.

"The Irish contestants were surprisingly well behaved. Most of them went to bed straight away -- they were serious about the competition and they knew that they were there to sing," an insider said.

"They were not there to take their clothes off and get through because they make 'good TV'."

But sources said the following day there was a shock eviction of dozens of the singers, even before they got a chance to sing in front of the judges.

"On day two, 80 people said goodbye to everyone else," they said. "They were stunned.

"The rest of the contestants were put through their paces with their first singing challenge.

Ireland has a number of representatives in the contest this year, including Dubliners Meghan Burke, Melanie McCabe and Laura O'Neill, Tyrone native Janet Devlin and Belfast local Jolene Burns.

Judge Kelly Rowland pointed out that the talent from here is outstanding. "You Irish guys have a beast in the competition this year," she said.

And the Herald revealed that Dublin boyband Element are leading the stakes in the group competition.

The Irish hip-hop act includes Michael Wright's stepson Brook, Karl Bowe, Dean Anthony, Simon Anthony and Kevin Johnston.

cmurphy@herald.ie

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