Bullying ordeal of X Factor finalists

Bullying ordeal of X Factor finalists

'X Factor' contestants told of previous battles against bullying, attempts to tone up and relationships with the judges today.

Now that the final 12 acts have been selected, the singers spoke about their excitement at performing before an audience on the ITV1 show, which has number-one hits as its theme this week.

But Girlband singer Marisa Billitteri, 19, from Bristol, broke down in tears as she described how she was bullied as a youngster over her singing aspirations.

She said: "It really did knock me back... I thought 'I'm going to go for it'.

"I became stronger as a person when I met the girls."

Fellow Girlband member Tita Lau, 19, said the rules in the house that the show's contestants share mean that they have a 9pm curfew.

She said: "We're the goody-two-shoes of everybody in the house. We're in bed early."

Alexandra Burke, 20, said she had also been bullied when she was younger, after taking part in a local singing competition and also appearing on Jane MacDonald's 'Star For a Night'.

She was beaten in the 'Star For A Night' competition by Joss Stone.

She said: "It improved as the years went on," and in a message to bullied youngsters, she said: "Don't give up...you have something strong inside you."

Alexandra, whose mother was a Soul II Soul singer, also said that nowadays, "you need an edge and if you ain't got it, you don't get a deal".

Speaking about the music industry generally, she said she felt "pressured" and "It's all about looks".

She said: "I'm just watching what I eat. I don't believe in dieting any more or scales. You can't starve yourself."

Alexandra also revealed that generous mentor Cheryl Cole had treated her group to new phones and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Diana Vickers, 17, said that Cole had advised her to ignore negative comments and "just do what you have been doing now but improve more".

Bad Lashes band member Emily MacNamee, 19, told how she auditioned for the show a couple of years ago but did not make it through.

She said that, in the meantime, she had taken out a loan to set up a coffee shop in Newcastle, which her mother has been running, loyally promoting the band on a menu board outside.

The singer joked: "I'm still paying the loan back now, so hopefully we'll win."

The girls were partially inspired to name the band due to their love of Bad Gal mascara by Benefit cosmetics.

Bandmate Samantha Bennett, 21, described their image as a cross between Arctic Monkeys and Girls Aloud.

The girls said that their song on Saturday will be in a glam rock-style.

The groups are being mentored this year by Louis Walsh, who was praised by contestants JLS.

The band said that their new-found fame has gained them some attention, but singer Marvin Humes, 23, said: "When girls ask you to sign their chest area it's a bit wrong."

He felt there was a "huge gap in the market" for a new boy band.

JLS described their song this weekend as a classic ballad – "one for the ladies".

Mother-of-five Rachel Hylton, 26, whose drugs problems led to prison in the past, said: "I want people to see my talent and not my past any more."

She said she would sing a modern, upbeat hit this weekend.

Daniel Evans, 38, whose wife died shortly after the birth of their baby girl, said he was "enjoying every second" of the show.

He told how he is on a keep-fit regime and has lost three-quarters of a stone, but joked: "I'm still carrying my baby weight."

He said: "I've been doing aerobics with Bad Lashes and Girlband."

Daniel said he had been singing in his sleep while sharing a room with the JLS boys.

Ruth Lorenzo, 25, said she had spoken to mentor Dannii Minogue for an hour on the phone after it was publicly revealed she had made it through, adding: "She was really nice."

Former bluecoat Scott Bruton, 19, told how his mentor Simon Cowell has been busy in Los Angeles, but said that he regularly kept in touch through his personal assistant.

He said that the last time he saw Cowell was in Barbados, adding that he is "such a gentleman, such a really nice guy".

Fellow contestant Austin Drage, 21, added: "He does not feel like he needs to wipe our bum every five minutes," saying that Cowell's team look after them.

Scott said he felt like he had more to prove with his bluecoat background and said he wanted to show it was an excellent stepping stone.

"I want to prove to the country that you can come from a holiday camp background and still do well," he said.

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