Perhaps we should have known there’d be trouble. Given the chaos and
controversy that’s engulfed the latest series of The X Factor, a photo shoot
with all of the girls was never going to be easy.
Sure enough, a bevy of pouts, diva tantrums, a flounce out (which threatens to
turn into full-blown mutiny) and a river of tired tears keep us, um,
Voted-off Kitty hates the shoes (“You don’t understand, I never wear flats”).
Irish redhead Janet hates the make-up. And the clothes. And being
interviewed. Little Mix’s exhausted Jesy has a quiet sob. Through
eye-rolling, heavy-tutting and muttering, Misha B makes it clear she’s not
Kitty’s biggest fan and we get the impression the feeling is entirely
mutual. Kitty doesn’t appear to have much time for Amelia Lily either. Ouch.
Meet the X Factor ladies, who appear to have stolen the show this season.
Whether it’s bullying scandals, body image issues, car park trysts or race
rows, 2011’s been a real girl thang.
But, boy, is the atmosphere dripping with stroppiness.
Thankfully, after a whole heap of patience from our stylist and some
sweet-talking from beleaguered publicists, we’re finally able to get the
Complex Kitty is persuaded to wear the trainers provided and transforms into
the ultimate poseur the instant she’s in front of the camera. Tough cookie
and with a superstar ego to boot, experimental Misha B proves a dream to
shoot. Even Janet eventually cracks a smile. And Little Mix are the
sweetest, friendliest girls you’d wish to meet. We wanna be in their gang.
As we chat to each act, we soon discover what makes them tick. Who has a
degree in psycho-babble? Who joined the anti-
X Factor campaign and bought the Rage Against the Machine single? And who does
an uncanny impression of a goat?
X Factor might be many things, but dull it certainly ain’t.
Misha B, 19
Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?
I don’t have any regrets. I’m just grateful for the experience, and I’ve
learned to expect the unexpected. Our success is in our own hands and I’m
confident in the knowledge that I’ll never give up.
Do you think Tulisa and Louis’ bullying accusations affected you?
Look, life is full of ups and downs and you’ve got to experience the lows to
appreciate the highs.
Have you been misconstrued?
What a lot of people don’t understand is that the confident person I am on
stage isn’t necessarily the person I am off it. Michael Jackson, Beyoncé –
they all assume a character when they perform in order to deliver. Off stage
I keep myself to myself. I’m very childlike, bubbly and sometimes outspoken.
And is that what has provoked the allegations?
Well, I’ve learned how things I do can be misinterpreted. If I don’t smile at
someone or say hello when I walk into a room, it doesn’t mean I’m angry with
them. But I can see how it might come across badly. I’ve looked at how I
express myself and I’m changing.
Which judges are you close to?
Apart from Kelly, my mentor, Gary, because he’s always looking out for us and
he actually cares about all the other acts.
He’s given me a lot of encouragement. I’ve never had a relationship with
Who would you say is your best friend from the series?
I don’t believe in best friends.
OK… Who have you become closest to?
That would probably be Marcus. And I love Janet too.
How did you react to Frankie leaving the show?
I love Frankie and I think he stayed true to himself. No one has the right to
judge him because he doesn’t live his life for anyone else. He just needs to
remember that those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.
You’re quite the little cod-philosopher, Mish…
Thank you. Here’s another one: haters are motivators. Too many people in the
world are stuck in their ways. They’re scared to be different. I’m going to
continue to be who I am.
I want to make my own video documentary – Misha B: The Story Behind The Voice.
Wow. You’ve got this all mapped out, haven’t you?
And I also want to open up the Misha B Dream, Believe, Achieve Academy to give
disadvantaged and misunderstood children a platform.
Little Mix: Jesy Nelson, 20, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, 19, Jade Thirlwall, 18 and
Perrie Edwards, 18
Jesy, how are you feeling about being bullied for your looks?
It was really hard because you go on The X Factor thinking it’s all about
singing and then you get all this on the internet. I was embarrassed and
really, really upset. I got bullied at school. I had to move secondary
school five times because of bullying. I thought at 20 it wouldn’t happen
again but it did, at this really massive point in my life and it brought
back all those horrible, helpless feelings.
I’m glad I spoke up, because we had such a huge response from other kids who
are going through the same thing. It’s like people think you’re not pretty
enough to be in a girl band, so how dare you be in one. You don’t have to be
perfect to be a pop star. I still get hurt, I still cry, but nothing is
going to put me off my dreams.
Why have Little Mix gone further than any other girl band has done on X
Factor in the past?
[Jade] None of us really know. We’ve all tried to be ourselves and maybe
that’s worked because none of us are perfect like The Saturdays. We have
ugly days, get spots, get upset and we actually all have confidence issues.
We’re just normal girls who love being together and really want to make it –
Who brings what to the band?
[Perrie] Jesy has this amazing style and energy, Jade has a beautiful voice
and she’s such a sweetie, Leigh-Ann brings a sort of feisty, urban edge and
I throw in my hippy, indie vibe. It’s all about the mix.
Who has the worst bad habit?
[Leigh-Anne] Perrie is a massive burper… That’s pretty bad.
Did Frankie ever try it on with any of you?
[Perrie] Not with any of us. That’s the God’s honest truth!
[Jesy] He knew it wasn’t worth bothering.
Who would you say is your best friend from the series?
[Jade] Kitty. When we all got in the house, all the girls were put in this one
room. It was mad. We had one bathroom and one mirror between all of us. As
people went, Misha and Janet moved out, but Kitty stayed. She’s hilarious.
She’d tell us off for being noisy but she’s funny and bonkers. She’s
super-sensitive, so she’d give you a hug and a little chat if you were
feeling down. We think of her as our big sister.
Who’s single and who’s dating?
[Jesy] Jade has a boyfriend but the rest of us are single. But none of us are
on the lookout because there’s no way you could fit any romance into our
What’s your secret talent?
[Perrie] I can do a great goat impression. [It’s true, she can.]
[Jesy] I’m pretty good at beatboxing.
[Leigh-Ann] I write songs all the time.
[Jade] Painting. I got an A for GCSE Art.
Do you think the general standard of contestants has slipped this year?
[Jesy] Definitely not. I think it’s never been more varied. You have
everything from old-school Marcus to really edgy Misha B. I think it’s the
best year for talent.
If you were at home, who would have got your vote this series?
[Leigh-Ann] Misha B, she’s amazing.
[Jade] Janet has a beautiful, haunting voice. She seems fragile but actually
she’s pretty funny and a lot stronger than she looks. Janet can stand up for
herself and she’s got a sense of humour. The girls are really hot
Janet Devlin 17
Tell us a secret about another contestant…
I don’t know any. [After a little cajoling] Marcus is obsessed with scented
candles. That’s all you can smell from his bedroom.
Any celebrity fans?
Lily Allen, Olly Murs and Rio Ferdinand have all tweeted about me.
Looking back so far, is there anything you would do differently?
Halloween was a really off week for me and I really struggled. I couldn’t bear
to watch it back.
Who would you say is your best friend from the series?
Sami. She was like a mum to me and I really missed her when she left. I get on
really well with Craig and Marcus – they’re hilarious. Most people find my
Northern Irish humour quite different, but they get it.
How is your boyfriend Brendan coping with your fame?
He’s very supportive. We’ve been seeing each other for 11 months. He’s moving
to England next year anyway to go to university so it’s worked out quite
Has it been difficult being involved in such a controversial series?
Yeah, it’s been hard. I was prepared for the physical strain, but not the
emotional stress. I don’t read the papers. People care too much about what’s
in the media. I’ve only ever been here for the music.
Who would you vote for at home?
Craig. He has amazing stage presence and puts so much into his performances.
I really want to get back to songwriting. I haven’t had time to write, which
has been tough. I want to get a band together and get out there. I’m not
interested in covering other people’s songs.
What’s your hidden talent?
I can make my eyes tremble.
Yay! Go on then!
Amelia Lily, 17
You were quite disparaging about the show after you got kicked off first
time round. And yet you came back…
I was devastated. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with.
I was upset, not annoyed. Immediately afterwards I just needed to get off
the stage to digest what had happened and cry. I didn’t storm off the stage
– I was told to walk off so that’s what I did.
How did you and Kelly get over the fact she dropped you?
She was so welcoming. After she voted me off, I looked at the positive. It
wasn’t the end. I’m young. I wasn’t going to give up. Kelly had a hard
decision to make. I didn’t take it personally.
Looking back, would you do anything differently if you had the chance?
I wouldn’t have let them cut my long hair to my shoulders before the live
shows started. Luckily it’s growing back and I’ve got hairpieces in it now.
Other than that, it’s all been an experience and I don’t regret anything.
Do you really like your pink hair? We preferred it blonde… Will you be
going back to blonde after the show?
I absolutely love it. I’ve started a little trend off now. All my fans seem to
love it. Who knows, I might go back to blonde one day or I might stay pink
Have you had any weird fan mail?
Someone sent me an engagement ring a couple of weeks ago. I was really shocked
and a bit freaked out. It was a silver ring with a baby-pink gem in it – I’m
not sure if they got it purposefully to match my hair.
Which contestant have you not got to know as well?
At first Kitty and I had our differences, but I’m so proud of her and I hope
she does really well.
Are you single or dating?
I’m free and I’m single. I haven’t found the right person yet and I really
don’t need a boyfriend at the moment. If I did have one, he’d definitely
have to be a bit of a rock star.
Like Frankie Cocozza?
Frankie and I have been really good friends since boot camp. But nothing has
ever gone on between us.
Er, what about car park-gate? [On a night out, Frankie was pictured
going into a multi-storey car park first with Amelia, then with another
girl. Amelia was later pictured crying in the street in the early hours]
I was crying because that night I’d found out my dog was blind. It just so
happened that night Frankie was seen with another girl, so the papers tried
to make out the two things were connected. It was such a fun night and such
a shame it was written about like that. But I’ve put it to the back of my
mind and moved on.
Kitty Brucknell, 27
How are you feeling post-X Factor?
It’s cool. I’m not fighting for votes any more so it’s a weight off. I’ve
cried, it’s out of my system – now I’m looking forward to touring and
getting a record deal.
Are you and Lady Gaga BFFs now?
We had a very special time together, she gave me fantastic advice, very
personal. [Starts getting emotional. Blimey.] She’s amazing, there’ll never
be another like her.
How did you feel about Amelia waltzing back in six weeks late?
It’s fine. If I was in her position I’d have come out fighting too.
What did you make of the whole Frankie drugs controversy?
I feel bad that I left him to get on with it. I never really got to know
Frankie. We said three words to each other the whole time we were in the
Really? Didn’t you two have a snog in the hot tub?
No. That was The Risk’s Derry making things up.
How’s your boyfriend, Derek?
He’s good! We’ve been dating for six months. We haven’t slept together yet and
there’s no pressure to do so. Derek is very understanding that, at the
moment, my work comes first.
What would you do differently?
My first audition was appalling. When I saw it, I wanted to punch myself. I
wanted to impress as I didn’t think I’d get through on my voice alone.
Do you have a hidden talent?
I can vibrate my tongue. It has its uses.
How do you feel about Misha?
Your silence speaks volumes…
We’re both competitive with strong personalities, so it was best that we
focused on ourselves. She’s a huge talent. People are afraid of offending by
breaking the norm. I’m different. I’m going to fight for everything. I’ve
had to fight my whole life.
Who would you vote for?
I’ve always watched The X Factor but never voted. I bought Rage Against the
Machine to stop Joe McElderry getting the Christmas No 1. Ha ha!
- Watch The X Factor, Saturdays and Sundays, ITV1