Tom Jones has revealed that he would have auditioned for the X Factor if the talent show had been going at the start of his career.
The legendary Welsh singer said he believed shows like the X Factor provided the ideal platform for young people to showcase their singing skills and admitted he was a fan of the talent show format.
Speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph, Jones, who now lives in LA, said: “I watch the X Factor when I’m in the UK and American Idol when I’m back in the States.
“I think the X Factor is a great stage for young people to get on the box — as long as they are prepared for it. Shows likes the X Factor really throw them in at the deep end.
“The old way was to do a few gigs first, get yourself a recording contract and then do television. Shows like the X Factor, American Idol and Britain’s Got Talent are watched by millions of people and the winners can hit the big time very quickly.
“I’d definitely have gone for the X Factor if it had been going when I was starting out. I did lots of auditions in the early 1960s and my first television appearance was on a talent show called Donald Pearce Presents. Was I ready for it? I was dying for it. I’d been singing since I was a kid, it’s all I wanted to do.”
Jones, who will perform in Dublin this week as part of the Arthur Guinness 250th anniversary celebrations, said he was amazed at the confidence shown by many X Factor contestants.
“Sometimes people will audition for a talent show who have never sung outside their front room and I just can’t understand how they’re not more nervous than they actually are,” he said.
Jones also said he did not think talent shows exploited people.
“Those who take part in the X Factor auditions are not forced into it,” he said.
“It’s not like being a child star or one of those young beauty queens, they’re all adults, they know what they are doing.”
The 69-year-old will be one of the headline acts at the Hopstore 13 at St James Gate Brewery in Dublin on Thursday, September 24 — along with Kasabian, Estelle and Sugababes.
He said: “I think it’s going to be a great event, with a good line-up. I like a pint of Guinness and I expect I’ll have one or two, although we have to head off the next day to do some shows. I’ve never performed in a brewery before — but I’ve been in a few.”
Jones said he was looking forward to seeing some of the other acts performing and said he was a big fan of modern music.
“I like listening to new bands, like Kings Of Leon. And I went to see The Killers at Hyde Park,” he said. “There are a lot of good female solo singers around too at the moment. Actually I think the girl singers are better than the boys, though I suppose boys tend to join bands rather than be solo acts.”
One male solo star he does speak highly of is his friend Robbie Williams, who has recently moved back to the UK after living in the US for several years.
Jones said he intended to meet up with Williams over the next few weeks, but denied reports that he was moving back to the UK himself.
“No, I’m not leaving LA. I have a Green Card and don’t want to have to change my status, but that’s not to say I won’t get a flat in London if I want,” he added.