Hype, pressure and dreams for X Factor finalists

The last three X Factor hopefuls spoke of the intense pressure ahead of one of the most eagerly-anticipated finals of the competition today.

Stacey Solomon, Joe McElderry and Olly Murs will battle it out this weekend to win the ITV1 show after surviving two months of live performances every week.

Their new-found celebrity status has seen the trio splashed in the press and greeted by crowds of fans and photographers wherever they go.

Geordie McElderry, 18, who will perform with George Michael, said he was feeling "big time pressure".

He told GMTV: "Practically everyone's going to be watching it. The hype of it is just massive this year."

He added he was "overwhelmed" when he returned home with his mentor Cheryl Cole on Monday.

"I couldn't believe how much support I had," he said.

Asked about his hordes of female fans outside the X Factor house, McElderry said: "It takes a bit of getting used to. It's strange, but in a good way."

Solomon, a 20-year-old single mother from Dagenham, will take to the stage for a duet with Michael Buble in tomorrow's show.

She joked on GMTV that she was the "pig of Dagenham" after having a pizza "with everything on it" named after her.

But she said the show had been everything she had imagined and more.

"Everything you can think of ever having and imagining, I've done loads of stuff. I'm the luckiest girl ever.

Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

"Everything I've done has been so cool.

"I look back and I think 'Oh no'. I write it all down, because I think 'What if I forget?"'

She added: "It's nice to see people who probably wouldn't really have an opportunity to do anything like this, getting to do stuff like this. That's so cool, I'd watch it."

Murs, who will be singing with Robbie Williams, said the Angels star left a message on his phone earlier this week suggesting they perform a dance together on the weekend's show.

The 25-year-old Essex native, who once came among the bottom two in the public vote, said: "I don't take the public vote for granted.

"I didn't think for the life of me that each week I was going to get through. I just thought at some point I was going to be in the bottom two.

"I just bounced back and did the best I could. I just knuckled down and worked hard."

He added that he was looking forward to one of his mother's roast dinners when the show was all over.

But it remains to be seen if the trio's brush with fame will last as the singers attempt to emulate the chart-topping success of the likes of former X Factor winner Leona Lewis.

One act will be voted off at the end of tomorrow night's show, leaving the final two to sing for success on Sunday.

Simon Cowell, on the panel with fellow judges Cole, Dannii Minogue and Louis Walsh, meanwhile branded a campaign to prevent the show's winner from having the Christmas number one single "stupid" and "cynical".

A group set up on Facebook is calling for people to make rock band Rage Against The Machine's 1992 single Killing In The Name this year's number one.

Cowell said: "If there's a campaign, and I think the campaign's aimed directly at me, it's stupid. Me having a number one record at Christmas is not going to change my life particularly.

"It does, however, change these guys' lives and we put this opportunity there so that the winner of the X Factor gets the chance of having a big hit record.

"I think it's quite a cynical campaign geared at me, which is actually going to spoil the party for these three."

He praised the finalists, saying: "What I like about these three singers is they're the guy and girl who live next door. They haven't come from ghastly stage school backgrounds, they haven't had an awful lot of experience.

"These three people, who under normal circumstances would find it really hard to get a recording contract, suddenly have got a shot."

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments