Shayne Ward unfazed by challenge as he prepares for Coronation Street debut
Coronation Street newcomer Shayne Ward has said he is prepared for any backlash, as he prepares to make his soap debut.
The X Factor singer will make his first appearance on the ITV show as Aidan Connor - the cousin of Michelle Connor (played by Kym Marsh) - on August 21.
The 30-year-old follows the casting of Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding, who was recently slated for her performance as Joni Preston on the soap.
Ward, who has starred in the West End production of musical Rock Of Ages and Jeff Wayne's musical version of The War Of The Worlds, said: "I've had years to deal with that. I think it's always good to have a little bit of nerves to add into your performance.
"But being pigeon-holed and then doing something different, it would have been perceived the same when I went from winning The X Factor to playing an American rock star in Rock Of Ages. Then going to play the Artilleryman in The War Of The Worlds."
He continued: "Again, you're with established actors but I can deal with it. It's one of those things - I use it as my strength to kind of go, 'Well do you know what, I'll prove you wrong'. It helps."
Ward, who won The X Factor in 2005, has signed a year's contract with the soap, which he described as a "dream come true."
"It's a match made in heaven. I love the fact that I'm Mancunian in a Mancunian show. It just couldn't be any better," he said.
"I never thought I'd ever even be in Coronation Street. Actually being here in quite a big part coming in is just mind-boggling."
He recalled: "When I got told that I'd got the part, I went into my mum's room, knocked on the door, she was watching TV. I've got my boxers on so I said, 'Sorry mum, I've got to come into your room!'
"I just sat on top of the bed and said, 'I've got some great news to tell you - I'm getting the part in Coronation Street'. The smile on her face was just incredible, so I think for any son or daughter to be saying that to their mum who's a big soap fan, especially a Coronation Street fan, it was a nice moment."
Aidan makes his Weatherfield entrance as Michelle and Nick Tilsley (Ben Price) reveal their increasing concern for Carla Connor's (Alison King) gambling problem, and how it affects the Underworld factory.
"He's very ambitious. He obviously has dealings with the factory because, like I said, he wants to help out in any way that he can," Ward said of his alter-ego.
The singer-turned-actor hinted there could be rumblings of Aidan's darker side in episodes to come.
"Let's just put it that way, you don't want to cross a Connor. Being the new guy on the block, everyone's probably going to be thinking - especially business people - 'Who does he think he is? He thinks he's this big man'. I'm looking forward to having run-ins with some familiar faces," he teased.
"I think it's a good challenge for me. I love a bit of both, I wouldn't want to just be a good boy."
Ward joked he only landed the role after a confusion with Sean Ward, who plays bad boy Callum Logan.
"N ow they've got Sean Ward and Shayne Ward! It was absolutely crazy how it just came about, but thank God it did."
He said he is still pinching himself over his new job.
"It still doesn't feel real now. I don't think it's going to sink in for a long, long time to be honest," he admitted.
"Even when I finish this chat, I'll go upstairs for another coffee and I've got the whole of the cast there. It's like, 'This is f****** mental!' I need to learn everyone's actual names. I always hear them joking with banter with each other, calling them by the character names like 'All right Kirk?' It's fun'."