Belfast Telegraph

Sophie lost out on X Factor, now she tackles The Voice

By Maureen Coleman

A Tyrone teenager, who was knocked out of last year's X Factor at the boot camp stage, has told how the experience made her more determined to succeed in new BBC talent show The Voice.

Sophie Griffin (17), who comes from Ardboe, is one of the last group of hopefuls to take part in blind auditions to secure a place in the next round of the competition.

Tonight, viewers will see Sophie perform Estelle's American Boy to the backs of the mentors, Tom Jones, will.i.am, Jessie J and Danny O'Donoghue. And they'll find out if any of the panellists pushed their buttons and turned their chairs round to include her in their team.

Sophie, who has been singing since childhood and has entered numerous talent shows, said it was a nerve-racking experience, exacerbated by the fact that there were only nine places left in the four mentors' teams.

“We were taken aside by the show's producers and told that we mightn't even get a chance to blind audition if all the remaining places were snapped up beforehand,” she said.

“That only added to the pressure. But luckily I did get to perform. It was so difficult not seeing the reaction of the mentors, but the audience really got into it, which helped.”

Had Sophie missed out on her moment in the spotlight, it would have been history repeating itself. Last year, the music-loving teen, a 2009 finalist in the Citybeat Young Star Search, auditioned for the X Factor. She made it as far as boot-camp, but then her X Factor journey came to an abrupt end.

“It was tough but I would not be the person I am now if I hadn't been knocked back. It made me 100% determined to follow my dream,” she said.

At the X Factor boot-camp Sophie bumped into another Tyrone teenager, Janet Devlin, who went on to win a place in the live shows. Sophie said she was prepared for the inevitable comparisons, but pointed out their styles were worlds apart.

“Because we both grew up in the country, love music and are around the same age, I think I probably will be compared to her and that's not really a bad thing,” she said.

“But while Janet's style is quite indie and grungy, I'm more into artists like Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran and Jessie J.”

Sophie said she had gone into the competition hoping that if anyone turned round for her, it would be will.i.am, but pointed out she was a fan of all the four judges.

“I love will.i.am's creativity and intelligence and am a big fan of Jessie J and The Script. But when it came to the end bit, when the mentors give you feedback, the one I was most starstruck by was Tom Jones. He is a legend.”

The Voice will be broadcast on BBC1 at 7pm tomorrow night

story so far

Two young Northern Ireland singers have already enjoyed success on The Voice. Jessica Hammond (17) from east Belfast and Ben Kelly (22) from Londonderry both emerged as strong contenders. The Voice is the latest weapon in the BBC’s battle against ITV for Saturday night viewers. The talent show chooses contestants on the strength of their singing talent in ‘blind auditions’.

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