Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland's Janet Devlin 'is the one to beat' in X Factor

Songbird 'overwhelmed' at getting through to next stage of contest

By Maureen Coleman

The X Factor dream of Northern Irish teenager Janet Devlin is very much alive after she got through to the next stage of the X Factor.

The 16-year-old schoolgirl remains the frontrunner in this year's competition, with Louis Walsh declaring her the “one to beat”.

Janet, who sat her GCSEs earlier this year, is now in Miami to join mentor Kelly Rowland.

The former Destiny's Child star will team up with Oscar-winning singer Jennifer Hudson to choose her four acts for the live shows.

After her first round performance of The Script's hit single Falling To Pieces, the Drumragh Integrated College pupil said: “When you get here you realise that you actually want it so much more than you thought, and that is so scary.

“Everybody has the same dream and they want the same thing that you want ... it's nerve-racking.”

Judge Tulisa Contostavlos said Janet’s solo left her “a very happy bunny”, while head judge Gary Barlow said that every time she sang, she gave him “tingles”. Rowland also said she loved her.

The contestants were then whittled down again, with Janet getting a call-back to the second stage of bootcamp. This time she won over the judges and an audience of 5,000 at Wembley Arena with her version of Aerosmith's I Don't Want To Miss A Thing.

The judging panel selected 32 acts to go through to the judges' houses, but Walsh said his money was on Janet, adding: “She's the one to beat in this competition at the moment.”

Barlow added: “Every time she sings, it's like I've never heard that song before and I like it better, I like it better than the original.”

Janet was overwhelmed when she discovered she was going through, saying it was the best day of her life. She looked shocked when Rowland broke the news to the girls that she was taking them to Miami.

Janet is the only Northern Irish contender to make it to the judges' houses. Four other local hopefuls — Stacia Salmon, Roger Boyd, Niall Sexton and Jolene Burns — made it to bootcamp but had their dream of stardom cut short at this stage, although Sexton narrowly missed out on a place in the judges' houses.

With Rowland mentoring the girls, it was also revealed last night that Gary Barlow will look after the boys, Louis Walsh the over 25s and Tulisa Contostavlos, the groups.

Next week the four judges, with their guest mentors, will select their four finalists for the live shows.


ITV said a peak audience of 11.8m — 11.4m excluding ITV1+1 — watched Saturday night's The X Factor. The 90-minute show from 8pm was watched by an average of 10.3m — 10m excluding ITV1+1, a spokesman said.

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