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The One to Watch: Rebecca Ferguson

Simon Cowell says our neighbour, Liverpool, has found a new pop star, but what else...?

Published on November 2nd 2010.

The One to Watch: Rebecca Ferguson

Who's she, then?
Who's she? Have you been living in a cave for the last two months?

Yes, actually. Luckily, the Yanks weren't put in charge of rescuing me. But I can tell you, when you're being held “at Al-Quaeda's Pleasure”, X-Factor is right off the list of spare time activities.
Oh, sorry. Hope you got back in one piece – as it were. Anyway, Rebecca is the Liverpool lass who's stunning singing voice has had the X-Factor judges in rhapsodies, particularly Simon Cowell (“this was the night you turned into a star.”) and Cheryl Cole (“I love Scousers.”)

Not another mouthy Scouser on a reality TV show?!
Far from it. Indeed, she's so bereft of self-confidence that she refused to sing for her boyfriend until TWO YEARS after they met. And even then he had to face the wall to spare her embarrassment.

Funny, that. The missus says she can't bear to look at me when she's performing. But I digress . . .
Yes, well, she has the singing voice of Billie Holliday and the speaking voice of Billy Butler with his plums held in a vice. Her dreams of being a diva contrast with her struggle to bring up two young children, Lillie May, five, and Karl, four, by herself, in a deprived area of north Liverpool.

Hmm, a single mum whose best suggestion for supporting her kids is to become a major recording artist? The Tories must love her.
Tch, tch, less of the stereotyping, if you don't mind. The Tories probably do love her; she's fitted the considerable responsibility of being a single mum with studies to become a legal secretary (“a great student who worked really hard”, said one teacher) – and she goes to church every Sunday.

Bloody hell, she's practically prime minister material. I bet her old school's made up for her.
“The whole of Gateacre School is right behind Rebecca,” a local newspaper excitedly reports. Whether that was the case when Rebecca actually attended the school in less certain; the 24-year-old recalls how her childhood was plagued by bullying and racism – inspiring her choice of the Sam Cooke civil rights anthem, A Change is Gonna Come, at the X-Factor auditions. “I used to walk home from school crying because of all the bullying,” she says. “Through everything, singing was my only escape.”

Might explain the low self esteem. Is that why she gave up on singing and concentrated on getting a proper job?
No, she never stopped hoping her big break might come, during all the time she was studying at Hugh Baird College.

Huge Bird?
I think you're getting mixed up with Mary Byrne. Her personal tutor at Hugh Baird proved very supportive when Rebecca told her of her ambition to become a singing star. If only my teacher had been so understanding when I told him I wanted to be an astronaut.

Why, what did he do?
He gave me a rocket.

Boom, boom. So what's her chances?
Five to one against, according to the latest X-Factor odds from William Hill, which makes her third favourite behind Matt Cardle and One Direction. If the winner was picked on pure talent, it would be all over bar the pouting. Unfortunately, she's got two big things stacked against her.

You do mean Mary Byrne this time, don't you?
No, I mean she's the wrong sex and sings the wrong sort of songs to attract the crucial block vote represented by the nation's 11-year-old schoolgirls. Still, the instant she starts singing, every other act pales into the commonplace and, like all the truly great female interpretors of song, she's had her fair share of misery. So a record deal is a given, whatever happens.

Besides she wouldn't be the first ex-pupil of Gateacre School to be edged out of the X Factor top spot, but still do all right for themselves – look at Ray Quinn.

Of course. So what starry gigs has Ray got coming up that Rebecca can look forward to?
Erm, um, well, Jack. And The Beanstalk in Northampton. But, hey, she could do a lot worse than that; it might not be the O2 Arena but at least she'll never be able to say she hasn't got a bean.

As discussed by Gerry Corner

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Leigh ScottNovember 2nd 2010.

This must have been written by Gordo

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