Nervy Scouser’s X Factor joy

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Emotional X Factor audition left Christopher Maloney in a state of shock © ITV/X Factor

X Factor judges returned to Liverpool on ITV last night to see what talent the city had on offer, after back-to-back runners-up finishes for Scouse singers Rebecca Ferguson and Marcus Collins in the past two years.

At first it seemed that Liverpool would fail to deliver this time round, after a succession of largely disappointing auditions, until the incredibly nervous Christopher Maloney took to the Echo Arena stage.

His lack of self-confidence meant he could barely hold the microphone, leaving the judges worried about what to expect, but as soon as Christopher opened his mouth to sing Bette Midler’s ‘The Rose’ he had everyone spellbound.

Accompanied to the audition by his supportive 76-year-old nan Pat, he belted out the song that had been played at his grandad’s funeral, leaving many audience members in tears.

Despite his obvious talent, the 34-year-old customer services advisor revealed he was full of self-doubt and had waited five years before getting the courage to audition due to people telling him he wasn’t good enough to appear on the show.

How wrong they all were, as judges Tulisa, Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh and guest panelist Geri Halliwell gave him a standing ovation, and four ‘yes’ votes to put him through to boot camp.

Take That singer Barlow asked Maloney: “How the hell have you kept that voice hidden until now?”

He replied: “I’ve never put myself out like this before, I just bit the bullet today and I’ve gone for it. People have said ‘don’t come on here because you are going to embarrass yourself and make a show of yourself’.”

Louis Walsh assured him: “You stole the show today.”

Spice Girl X Factor judge Geri Halliwell with Christopher Maloney © ITV/X Factor

Geri Halliwell spent a large part of the rest of the auditions trying to hog the limelight, and the former Spice Girl proudly told Liverpool’s X Factor fans that her father was from the city during a dramatic and loud entrance in front of an unimpressed crowd.

Her declaration of: “I’m one of you” didn’t seem to draw much enthusiasm from anyone, and her constant bickering with Gary Barlow, plus various annoying attempts at a Scouse accent, made her look more embarrassing than a lot of the acts.

Another singer to melt the judges’ hearts in Liverpool was massive Tulisa fan, Jason Viet Tien who, despite not being able to pronounce her name properly, serenaded her with a great rendition of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Have Nothing’, and he joined Maloney in the next phase of the competition.


About Helen Dodd, Managing Editor