Belfast Telegraph

X Factor brings back ex musicians

The X Factor is set to feature two former music stars who are looking for a last ditch attempt at fame.

ITV's singing contest will include singer-songwriter Jay James, who some viewers might recognise as Jay James Picton from his first shot at the big time.

According to The Sun, Jay was signed to Universal Records in 2012 and touted as the "new Adele", but when his album Play It By Heart failed to make a splash he was dropped.

Jay reduces the judges to tears in the first episode of the new series, which also stars trombone player Ashley Slater, the singer from Freak Power's 1995 hit Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out.

Ashley recorded the 90s song with Fatboy Slim, which featured in a Levi's advert and reached number three in the charts. He auditions for The X Factor alongside his much younger girlfriend in a group called Kitten & The Hip.

But the first episode of The X Factor's return is heavily weighted towards one of the judges over any would-be pop stars - Cheryl Fernandez-Versini is said to appear in several tribute montages and sees plenty of contestants performing her songs, dressing like her and bringing her gifts.

At one point, when a male singer tells Cheryl how much he likes her, a fed-up Mel B shouts: "What am I, f***ing chopped liver?" She later joked: "I hate sitting next to this one."

When another contestant brought in a rose for Cheryl, Mel snapped: "Where's mine?"

Cheryl said of the auditions: "There was a lot of love for me. The contestants are very kind to me."

Asked why there was less screen time for Mel, head judge Simon Cowell said: "Maybe we'll do that in episodes three and four."

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