Two Irish singers progressed through to the boot-camp stage of the X Factor last night after convincing Simon Cowell and his fellow judges that they have what it takes to win the show.
First up was 21-year-old barman Anton Banaghan. He explained that he regularly gets up on stage in his local pub to entertain the guests.
Anton told the judges that he is originally from Tipperary and that his family were at home supporting him.
He revealed that no-one could come with him to the audition which caused the the crowd began to sympathise with him, but he assured them that: “I like it, it’s cool, I enjoy it.”
Anton told Simon Cowell that he was going to sing George Ezra’s Budapest. Cowell said that he loves that song to which Anton cheekily replied: “No pressure then!”
He then put on a great performance which had the audience on their feet dancing and cheering.
Judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini told Anton he had ‘star quality’. Cowell did question the vocal performance, but conceded that he liked Anton. Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora also made positive comments to Anton before he received the much-coveted ‘four yesses’.
The likeable Irishman left the stage with a beaming smile and told presenters Olly Murs and Caroline Flack: “This is the best day of my life.”
Another Irish singer made it through to boot-camp, but only after a difficult audition in which he had to leave the stage and come back on to convince the judges he could be a contender.
Joseph McCaul was stopped mid-song in his audition with Simon Cowell saying that he was a “great singer but a horrible performer”.
The Co Athlone singer was visibly nervous, and apologised for jumping about admitting he was “like a jack in the box”.
Cowell told him he wanted to hear a song from McCaul that he hadn’t brought as part of his repertoire. The contestant said he was being put on the spot and his mind had gone blank.
Thankfully Cowell told him to leave the stage to have a think and come back later on.
Joseph did think of a new song for his second audition, Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody.
He returned to the stage and showed how much the competition meant to him with an outstanding vocal performance. Most of the audience were suitably impressed and although Cowell questioned his on-stage presence, he did agree to send him through to boot-camp.
Joseph has a history of performing. He was Ireland’s entrant to the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest as part of a duo with his sister Donna.
He now has another chance to get to the top of the music business and looks determined to grab it with both hands.
Keep an eye out for both Joseph and Anton in the coming weeks.