Belfast Telegraph

X-Factor Andrea: scary Sharon is just a pussycat

By Maureen Coleman

She's renowned for her sharp tongue, outspoken views and acerbic put-downs.

But, according to local X-Factor hopeful Andrea Magee, Sharon Osbourne is a warm, generous and motherly woman who went out of her way to make her contestants welcome at her home.

Andrea (28), who comes from Glengormley, was one of six singers in the over 25s category selected by Osbourne for the Judge's House stage.

This weekend viewers will see the former music teacher fight for her place in the live shows. Andrea was chosen at Boot Camp to join the returning judge at her Los Angeles home, where she will cut her six contenders to three.

But despite Osbourne's fiery on-screen persona, Andrea said her mentor, whose tell-all autobiography is out this month, has a "big heart" and puts family first.

And she said she decided not to read the book before jetting off to LA, so she could base her opinion of Osbourne on experience.

"Sharon's house is absolutely beautiful and she was very hospitable with us all, but more than anything it was a real family home. It just felt so homely and welcoming," she said.

"I really like Sharon. She's very honest and open and is there to do a job, but she also comes across as very kind and family-orientated. And she has a really big heart.

"Some of the girls had Sharon's new book with them but I didn't read it. I never really bother following celebrities or reading gossip about them. I like to take people at face value and that's what I did with Sharon. I just found her to be warm and welcoming."

Andrea said that she was aware of other members of the Osbourne family, including rocker Ozzy, being at home, but didn't meet them.

"To be honest, we were really busy filming all the time," she said. "It was pretty hectic but a great experience. And all the contestants got on well."

Andrea will be seen this weekend competing against Sam Bailey, Shelley Smith, Zoe Devlin, Lorna Simpson and Joseph Whelan for a place in the final three. And it's not just Sharon Osbourne she has to win over, as Robbie Williams also dished out advice.

Andrea said: "Robbie was really nice and he said some lovely things about my performance.

"He's had a lot of ups and downs in his career, so was able to empathise with us as artists. It was great to meet him. He was friendly, open and easy to chat to."

Andrea said that her time as a teacher had come in handy: "I think when you work in a school you learn to get on with all sorts of different characters and I got on well with everyone.

"Obviously you tend to bond quicker with some individuals, and I got on very well with Zoe."

And the Kent-based singer/songwriter, who was back in Belfast last week to play her first show on home soil in almost a decade, also said she was thrilled with the support she had received.

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