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Christmas number one star Sam Bailey was rejected by Simon Cowell before The X Factor

The 'Skyscraper' winner was turned down aged 19 for not being famous

A friend of X Factor 2013 winner Sam Bailey has told how music mogul Simon Cowell rejected the ska act they formed together 17 years ago because the pair were not celebrities.

Bailey, a 36-year-old former prison guard, teamed up with Julie Nunney to create Girls Next Door when they were 19, but a lack of television presence deterred the X Factor boss from signing them.

They reportedly recorded a track called "Too Late", which Clyde Ward from Right Said Fred produced, but it was never released.

“We met aged 15, Sam was an amazing singer and we used to go to the local karaoke bars in South London,” Nunney told The Daily Mirror.

“Cowell listened to the record we made and liked it, but he turned it down saying he couldn’t do anything with it because we weren’t on the TV.”

Despite this early setback, Bailey went on to be crowned X Factor winner a week ago after beating 17-year-old Nicholas McDonald in the final.

Yesterday, she was named as this year’s Christmas number one with her cover of Demi Lovato’s ‘Skyscraper’.

Bailey told OfficialCharts.com that 2014 will be a “huge year” as she will be hot-footing it into the studio as soon as possible.

“I want to do some songs that people haven’t heard in a while, and bring back some stuff that people probably haven’t even heard of, so that it feels like a new song.

“I’m going to try and do some stuff of my own and get some songs out there that are originals.”

“We’re getting out heads together in the next few weeks just to see what we can come up with,” she added. “I’m really excited and I’m just ready to knuckle down and get this album out.”