Belfast Telegraph

X Factor check-out star Mary reveals secret of her success

Irish X Factor sensation Mary Byrne has credited her daughter with helping her turn her fortunes around on the show.

The 51-year-old won through to the next round of the talent show last night after a startling comeback seen by millions.

The checkout worker from Ballyfermot in Dublin had struggled the previous week but banished all doubters on Saturday night with a stunning performance of ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight?' on the Elton John-themed episode.

Dressed in a stunning ball gown, Ms Byrne made the song her own in one of her strongest performances yet on the reality show.

And the mother-of-one credited her daughter Deborah, who travelled to London to attend the live show, with her comeback.

“Having my daughter Debbie in the audience has given me my confidence back,” Ms Byrne said.

“I am a lot more confident this week compared to last week because my daughter is here.”

The X Factor panel was in full agreement.

“I know you are back, Mary, as I can feel it in the room,” judge Cheryl Cole said. “It is nice to see the twinkle back in your eyes”.

Dannii Minogue added: “You definitely have your mojo back tonight. And the end note was spectacular”.

Mentor Louis Walsh said: “You're not shaky this week. All that was shaky was your nerves. You're living that dream.”

Even ‘Mr Nasty' Simon Cowell admitted he was impressed by Ms Byrne's take on the song.

“Under normal circumstance I would not have liked that version, but because you have heart, it worked,” he said.

But the most important person in the audience for Ms Byrne was her daughter. Wearing a T-shirt bearing her mother's image, the shy Dubliner found herself at the centre of media attention and was brought out on stage on the later ‘Xtrafactor' follow-on programme.

“I was just so proud watching my mum perform on-stage. She was just amazing. Back home, it's like the World Cup. Mary fervour has hit Ireland,” she said.

The 24-year-old, who overcame her fear of flying to make the trip, said: “It was amazing hearing the audience chant her name.”

Meanwhile, the Ann Widdecombe show rolled on last night as she was yet again saved by the public vote on Strictly Come Dancing.

US singer Michelle Williams became the sixth celebrity to leave the competition, after her Paso Doble proved as unpopular with viewers as it was with the judges.

They said her dance with partner Brendan Cole “lost balance” and was “very stiff”.

The combination of judges' scores and phone votes meant Williams and actress Felicity Kendal were in the bottom two, but it was the former Destiny's Child star who was eliminated.

Judge Bruno Tonioli said: “It was the right energy but you lost it so many times.”

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