Belfast Telegraph

Strabane's Rachael McCauley has got the X Factor, Mr Barlow!

BY MAUREEN COLEMAN

A 26-year-old singer from Strabane has won a place in the next stage of the X Factor after a shaky start with her initial audition.

Redhead Rachael McCauley failed to win the support of Gary Barlow when she performed Lean On Me in front of all four judges in the show's opening episode on Saturday night.

After telling the attractive mother-of-one "there are so many bad habits in there", head judge Barlow refused to put her through to the next round – auditioning in front of thousands at Wembley arena.

But returned judge Sharon Osbourne, wife of legendary rocker Ozzy, saved the day when she voted 'yes' along with Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger.

However Osbourne told her she was "not expecting great things" from her second audition.

It was almost an early exit though for Rachael, who hails from the Bready area of the town.

Speaking to Sunday Life, Rachael said nerves got the better of her.

"During the first part of the audition I was talking and telling them about my life and how it hadn't been easy. Everything was going well," she said.

"Then when I opened my mouth to sing, I could hear the nerves in my voice. I was almost suffocating with them."

Rachael said it was the thought of her young son which which kept her going. "My son Oran, who is six, was there," she said.

"He has ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder]. It was quite difficult to keep him entertained. But looking at him before I went to sing and thinking about him kept me going."

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