Why X Factor star Janet Devlin will sing through pain of losing grandad
The father of X Factor star Janet Devlin has defended his decision not to pull the teenager out of tonight’s live show despite the death of her beloved grandfather.
Sixteen-year-old Janet will perform to a national TV audience of millions just hours after the funeral of 83-year-old Michael Devlin.
The shy schoolgirl rejected the chance to return to Co Tyrone for today’s funeral — and will temporarily put her grief to one side for what is set to be an emotion-filled show.
Poignantly, the theme this week is love and heartbreak.
Mr Devlin, a father-of-nine, passed away on Wednesday night after taking ill earlier in the week. Janet was at the X Factor mansion when her mother Patricia phoned to break the sad news.
After a discussion with her parents and X Factor bosses — who told her she could go home and miss the live show — it was decided that Janet would not attend today's funeral, but would dedicate her performance to her grandad instead.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, Janet’s dad Aquinas Devlin said the family had all been shocked by the death.
But he said Janet was bearing up well and was determined to give her best performance in her grandfather’s memory.
“This is something that we just couldn't have prepared for,” he said.
“Janet was understandably upset but Patricia and myself talked about it with her and decided it was best not to remove her from the comfort zone of the X Factor.
“Janet is going to dedicate her song to her grandad. It will be hard for her, but she is strong and is bearing up.
“She has had a lot of support from the rest of the contestants who have been looking after her, and the producers of the show have been supportive too,” Mr Devlin added.
“We felt it wouldn't help to take her out of that now. and she really wants to do this for her grandad.”
Mr Devlin said the family wanted to ensure the focus of today's funeral was his father.
“We don't want it turned into a media circus, we want to say our goodbyes in private,” he added.
“Following the funeral Janet's brothers and her best friend will fly over to London to the X Factor studio, so at least she'll have plenty of support for her performance.”
Gortin parish priest Fr John Forbes, who knew Mr Devlin, said he would have wanted his granddaughter to perform tonight.
“Michael was very proud of Janet — the whole family are proud of her,” he said.
“He was very close to Janet and took a great interest in her ventures on The X Factor.
“Unfortunately Janet can’t make it home and that’s a big disappointment to her, but the family have been very understanding. Michael would also have been very understanding and would have realised it was a great opportunity for Janet.
“He would have wanted her to go for it.”
Other contestants in The X Factor house have been lending their support over the last 48 hours.
Welsh singer Sami Brookes, who is in the over-25s category, said she had been looking after Janet this week and was confident she would be fine to perform.
“She’s OK, she stayed in my room the other night, but I think she'll be fine on Saturday night,” she said.
Last night an X Factor insider said Janet was focused on giving a performance to make her grandfather proud.
“Obviously she is very upset about her grandfather, but she is getting on with things and focusing on the show because that is exactly what he would have wanted,” she said.
The Gortin schoolgirl, who performed a stunning rendition of Coldplay's Fix You last weekend, ensuring her a place in the second live show, remains the bookies' favourite to win.