Richard Oliff: My X Factor journey was brief but fun

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Four years ago I was standing in the kitchen doing the dishes.

Some of the younger members of my family were watching the X Factor on TV as the winner belted out his winning song.

I happened to mutter something like “that’s a rubbish show, that is”, to which the resounding response was “you couldn’t do it”.

Well, there was a challenge.

So, without telling a soul, I decided to enter for the following year’s auditions, not expecting much to come from my application.

Imagine my surprise when, a few month later, I received a letter telling me I’d been invited to audition for the seventh series of X Factor, to take place at Birmingham’s NEC on April 23, 2010.

Once all had been revealed the embarrassment “factor” within my family went off the scale.

Nevertheless, the challenge was still on as I drove north, with my tuxedo, black bow tie and well-polished shoes.

In truth my expectations were exceedingly low, so much so that I’d already made plans for the following day’s garden barbecue.

I was to perform my version of Fly Me to the Moon to an unknown judge on the stage of the NEC.

I was given the number 60652 and headed for the stage, surrounded by what seemed like thousands of very young hopefuls, most of whom failed immediately.

I, on the other hand, finished my song with a flourish, was congratulated by the judge who told me I was through to the next round and that I was return the next day for a further audition.

I was gobsmacked. My X Factor journey ended, however, 24 hours later, but at least I’d had a go.

Just between us, it was great fun.

That year Matt Cardle won the X Factor, Rebecca Ferguson came second, and in third place, wait for it, One Direction.

Last week I interviewed Market Harborough’s Sam Bailey as she prepared for the semi-final of the 10th series.