WATCH: Coxhoe’s Sam Lavery takes on James Arthur in week one of The X Factor

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She’s the local girl with the big voice, a voice which has taken her all the way to the live finals of the biggest singing competition in the country. And tonight, Sam Lavery, from County Durham, sailed through to the next round with her rendition of a former winner’s single.

The 17-year-old performed Impossible, which was originally released by US singer Shontelle, but was a number one hit for James Arthur, who won the show in 2012.

Her performance was praised by all of the jobs, with her mentor Simon telling the audience that she had huge potential as an artist.

Brattavio were booted off the show, after landing in the sing-off against Finnish diva Saara Alto. They’re version of The Only Way Is Up by Yazz wasn’t enough to beat Alto’s belting take on Sia’s Alive. Next week will see the 10 remaining acts tackle the songs of Motown.

Watch Sam’s performance below:

The X Factor returns next Saturday at 8pm on ITV1.

Photo: ITV X Factor

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WATCH: Our list of the UK’s best 10 Eurovision entries

The UK may have a love-hate relationship with the rest of Europe when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest (mainly we think they love to hate us) but we’ve certainly had our ups as well as downs. Sure, we haven’t won in a while. But, when we did win, we stormed it, usually with songs that have gone down in UK music history. Here, in no particular order, we look at our favourite winners (and those who didn’t quite get to the top) over the years.

Javine – Touch My Fire

She may have narrowly missed out on a place in Girls Aloud on Posters: The Rivals, but Javine Hylton makes our list with her Turkish-tinged entry to the 2005 contest. She brought dancers, she brought drummers, she brought the house down but sadly didn’t bring the title home; Touch My Fire came 22nd and only received a measly 22 points.

Jade Ewen – It’s My Time

What’s that? You need a hit written? Call Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Diane Warren. And that’s exactly what we did in 2009, resulting in Jade Ewen’s epic ballad, which became the UK’s most successful Eurovision entry since 2002 by coming fifth. Thanks to Lloyd-Webber (who also played piano for Ewen on the night) the song has more than a hint of musical theatre about it and Europe lapped it up. Bravo! (P.S If you fancy a chuckle, skip to 1.04 for an awkward collision between Ewen and an over-zealous violinist. Gold.)

Precious – Say It Again

Armed with one of the best key changes in 90s pop (say it, say it, say it, say it…Say it A-GAIN!) these five sassy girls placed 12th in 1999. Featuring a pre-Atomic Kitten Jenny Frost, Precious, and their song Say It Again, sadly didn’t win but will always have a special place in our pop nostalgia. Cue perfectly precise, 90s dance routine.

Molly – Children Of The Universe

Taking her rightful place on the list of UK Eurovision divas, Molly Smitten-Downes dropped the surname to attempt to take the top spot in Austria in 2014. One of the firm favourites before the final, she lost fair and square to one of the most famous entrants in the contest’s history, Conchita Wurst. In any other year, Molly would have stood a good chance of glory but Conchita came along at a special time in history and pipped her to the post.

Brotherhood of Mann – Save Your Kisses For Me

Dressed like the love child of Agnetha from Abba and John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, Brotherhood of Man’s performance was deliciously 70s. Makes perfect sense though, as it was way back in 1976 when the four-piece won the contest for us with Save Your Kisses from Me. The song hit Number One in the UK two weeks before the contest and remains the entry with the second most votes ever and the biggest-selling Eurovision winner ever.

Jessica Garlick – Come Back

In 2001, Jessica Garlick made it to the final 10 in Pop Idol. A year later, the Welsh beauty was representing her country in a very different contest. Come Back is the type of big ballad you would expect from a Pop Idol winner, never mind a runner-up and it certainly struck a chord with Europe; Garlick came joint-third.

Katrina and the Waves – Love Shine A Light

Cementing her place in Eurovision history, and a gig at Pride events across the world ever since, 1997 saw Katrina and her eponymous Waves storm to victory with Love Shine A Light, a, quite frankly, inspiring power ballad. It became the band’s biggest success since Walking On Sunshine 12 years earlier. The singer said about the song, “For Eurovision you need a song with a universal message, lighters in the air, Coca-Cola, heartwarming positive ‘all-unite’ message and I think that’s what ‘Love Shine a Light’ says and I’m just lucky that I’m the one that gets to sing it.” *Tears*

Gina G – Ooh Aah…Just A Little Bit

The UK has always had a special relationship with the land of Oz, which is why in ’96 we called upon Aussie songstress Gina G to sing for us. Not only did she sing, though, she danced her arse off like it was the last rave on earth. The performance tapped into the 90s dance culture and I defy anyone to sit still when they hear the opening to the track, which gave Gina G a UK number one. Oh and try to stop yourself from singing a long. I DARE YOU.

Lulu – Boom Bang A Bang

One of the most successful female singers of the sixties, Lulu is one of a handful of Eurovision competitors to continue a successful career post-contest. Her winning entry to the 1969 competition, Boom Bang A Bang, is like the little pop song that could; a gutsy, powerhouse of a track from the pocket-sized singer. To younger audiences, it is probably better known as the title song of the BBC sitcom, Him & Her.

Bucks Fizz – Making Your Mind Up

Blonde highlights. Detachable skirts for the ladies. White trousers for the men. There’s few performances more stereotypically 80s than this one from Bucks Fizz. Arguably the greatest, and campest, entry from the UK in Eurovision history, Making Your Mind Up has a special place in the hearts of Eurovision fans. A win for us in 1981, a win for fashion 4EVA.

The Eurovision Song Contest will be on BBC1 on May 14

Eurovision 2016: We pick our favourites for the contest in Stockholm

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With days to go until the big night in Stockholm, we thought it appropriate, nay necessary, to compile our favourite entries of the competition. The Eurovision Song Contest is world famous for bringing the camp, something which is distinctly lacking this year. This year’s common theme seems to be big, dance tracks, which always go down well in the arena. Of course there’s the obligatory 80s power ballads (FYR Macedonia and Poland) and the twinky boy band (Denmark) and on the whole, everyone has brought their A game this year. Here’s our top picks…

Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One (Russia)

Who? Sergey Lazarev is a former member of Russian pop duo Smash!! and is famous in his home country for hits like Obsession. Russia is looking like the one to beat this year. Yes, the lyrics may be daft (“thunder and lightning, it’s getting exciting”) but when did the words ever matter in Eurovision? The song itself is a huge pop track, with a pounding baseline that leads you right up to a thunderous chorus. His dress rehearsals have looked MAJOR, complete with dance routine and expensive staging. And Sergey is easy on the eyes too, which won’t hurt his chances.

Agnete – Icebreaker (Norway)

Who? She has had number ones in her native Norway as the lead singer of Tha BlackSheeps, a punk band. She also won the Norwegian version of Strictly Come Dancing, Skal vi danse? Icebreaker is full of pounding drums and dramatic strings, both of which compliment Agnete’s great voice. The song also has an interesting structure – the chorus is somewhat restrained, compared to the build, which is a classic dance banger. Our favourite!

Joe and Jake – You’re Not Alone (UK)

Who? Joe Woolford and Jake Shakeshaft were both solo contestants on the fourth series of The Voice UK. They became a duo after the show ended and went on to be chosen to represent the UK via the BBC’s Eurovision: You decide. You’re Not Alone is a great little pop song – think One Direction in the early days, with a rocky twist. It’s a song that builds so the lads will need a big performance on the night to get everyone on their feet by the end.

Douwe Bob – Slow Down (Netherlands)

Who? Douwe Bob is folk singer-songwriter. He is also the son of Simon Posthuma, who with The Fools famously created costumes for the likes of The Beatles and The Hollies. Bob’s effort for the Netherlands, Slow Down, isn’t your typical Eurovision fare; it’s a cool, laid-back guitar song that wouldn’t sound out of place on an indie band’s album. A refreshing change from all the electronic stuff this year.

Donny Montell – I’ve Been Waiting For This Night (Lithuania)

Who? Donny Montell previously represented his country in the contest back in 2012, but was beaten by Sweden’s Loreen and her absolute banger, Euphoria. His real name is Donatas Montvydas (ooh!) His entry for this year reminds us of a Joe McElderry or Westlife track, and looking at the track record for pop in Eurovision, that is by no means a negative.

Dami Im – Sound Of Silence (Australia)

Who? Dami Im is a Korean-Australian singer who won the Aussie version of The X Factor in 2013. She is one of the country’s biggest artists and became the first X Factor contestant to follow up a number one single with a number one album on the ARIA Charts. Sound Of Silence, the second-ever Australian entry to Eurovision, is quite stunning. Sounding like Sia’s little sister, the drama of it mixed with Dami’s enormous pipes stand it in good steed (although Oz’s rookie status may go against them.)

The Eurovision Song Contest takes place on May 14.

LISTEN: All of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest entries

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It’s that time of year again, when Europe’s, erm, finest singers come together to battle it out and crown the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. On a night that in the past has seen everything from a certain Swedish pop group singing about a certain famous battle to a drag queen making music history to Polish maids milking cows on stage, the pop competition is nothing if not memorable. At it’s best it is remarkable and at it’s worst, well, it is even more remarkable.

This year’s contest will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, after the country came out victorious last year thanks to Mans Zelmerlow and his song, Heroes. Zelmerlow will host the show, along with Swedish comedian Petra Mede. Our entry, Joe and Jake, will be fancying their chances with the rather good You’re Not Alone. The song was picked by viewers to represent the UK as part of the BBC television programme, Eurovision: You Decide.

And those fearful of them getting the dreaded nul points can rest a little easier this year as voting has changed. Voting will be split, with each country’s jury vote cast first, and votes from viewers in all countries combined and announced at the end. The juries and the public voters will award a set of points from one to eight then 10 and 12 for each of the top 10 places.

The Eurovision Song Contest takes place on Saturday May 14. It will be shown on BBC1, time TBC.

Listen below to our playlist of this year’s hopefuls:

WATCH: 14-year-old singer brings the BGT judges to tears

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*SPOILER ALER* You’re probably going to cry at this one.

Britain’s Got Talent is no stranger to talented young singers. And last night, one 14-year-old girl came along and joined those ranks.

Jasmine Elcock sang a slowed-down version of Cher’s Believe and within the first few bars, it was clear which way this audition was headed.

The acoustic version of the song, previously performed by Ella Henderson on The X Factor, brought hosts Ant and Dec, and judges Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden to tears, with Alesha telling the singer, “There are so many reasons that auditioned moved me so much. I hope all your dreams come true.”

Simon Cowell said, “I think this country is going to totally fall in love with you.”

And the audition was topped off when Ant and Dec stormed the stage and used their Golden Buzzer to send a visibly-elated Jasmine straight to the BGT finals. All together now: AWWWWW.

Watch the audition below:

Britain’s Got Talent is on ITV1 Saturdays at 8

Get in! Scarlett Moffatt’s debut book is officially a Sunday Times bestseller

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She made our way into our living rooms, and hearts, on Channel 4’s Gogglebox, and now Scarlett Moffatt has bagged a place on the Sunday Times bestseller list with her debut, Scarlett Says.

The book is currently number five on the list, which is comprised of the bestselling books in Britain. It gives her take on everything from politics to dating to red carpet moments. Scarlett, who is from Bishop Auckland, also shares hilarious stories from her childhood. Comedian Alan Carr described it as “absolutely brilliant and really funny. Half autobiography, half mad woman on a roundabout shouting at the traffic.”

She tweeted her delight at the news this morning:

One person who will no doubt be cutting himself a little slither of humble pie will be The Sun columnist Kelvin MacKenzie. He criticised Scarlett’s weight in a recent column and said she should not be a role model for young girls.

A successful television and radio career, millions of fans and, most importantly, an enormous heart. Oh and now a bestselling book. She’s certainly a role model to us!

Take that Kelvin Mckenzie! You pr**k.

Scarlett Says is out now and available in all good book shops and online retailers. It is also available as an audio book.

NOW PLAYING: Kevin Simm – All You Good Friends

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This year’s winner of The Voice UK Kevin Simm has revealed his first single – and it’s actually great.

The original song, All You Good Friends, is very much a ‘winner’s song’ without straying too much into sappy territory. It’s a piano-led ballad that allows Simm to show off his flawless vocals – it is refreshing to see a male singer unashamedly belting and doing runs with his voice.

The 35-year-old singer, who  found fame in the early 2000s with pop group Liberty X, beat out Jolan to win the competition. He also performed Stay, Mr Brightside with his mentor Ricky Wilson, as well as his single, at the final. He was watched by his former band mates, who were clearly emotional to see their friend crowned champ.

After his win, he told Newsround: “It’s just given me more belief in myself and given me a massive love back for music and singing. I can’t believe this is all happening to me.”

It is too early to say whether Simm will be able to become the first success story of the BBC show. Past winners Leanne Mitchell, Andrea Begley and Jermain Jackman have all failed to have longevity. Last year’s victor Stevie McCrorie’s first single debuted at number six in the UK charts, but he has also since faded away somewhat.

However, with the song currently sitting pretty at number two behind Drake, this song could put Simm in good steed to make a solid pop comeback.

All Good Friends is out now

Listen to the song below:

WATCH: All-time top 15 American Idol performances: We pick our 15 favs from 15 seasons

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After 14 years, 15 seasons and the births of a whole litter of superstar singers, Simon Fuller’s TV baby is all grown up and about to fly the nest. But, we couldn’t let the curtain come down without compiling a list of our personal favourites from across all 15 seasons of the show. From winners to runners-up and everything in between, this list was SO fun to make and it’s not until you sit back and listen to the talent the show was produced since it’s conception in 2002, that you feel somewhat nostalgic for a time when reality singing competitions weren’t so staged and predictable. Thanks for the memories, Idol.

15. Constantine Maroulis – Bohemian Rhapsody

Performing Queen’s megahit is no small task but Constantine Maroulis took it on and then some. He proved his rocker credentials and after the show, his enormous voice took him all the way to the Great White Way, where he was nominated for a Tony award for his role in the original Broadway cast of Rock of Ages.

14. Fantasia Barrino – Summertime

Simon Cowell called season three champ Fantasia the best contestant to compete in any competition and her rendition of the Porgy and Bess standard Summertime goes some way to back up that point. This performance is pure 1920s jazz gorgeousness. As well as winning the show, and a Grammy, she also received rave reviews for her role as Celie in Broadway’s The Colour Purple.

13. Melinda Doolittle – Home

Home, from The Wiz, is a notoriously hard song to sing but Melinda Doolittle stepped into the ruby red slippers of one Ms Diana Ross to belt her way to the final of season three. Prior to her elimination, she had never been in the bottom two, proving just how popular she was with fans.

12. Pia Toscano – I’ll Stand By You

Possibly one of the most controversial eliminations in Idol history was in week nine when Pia Toscano tumbled out of the competition, to the shock of fans and judges alike. With stunning looks and a voice to match, it is still a shame she didn’t progress further. Fun fact: Pia auditioned for the show five times.

11. Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez – I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)

The only duet to make our list was technically not part of the competition but Joshua and Jessica’s take on the George Michael/Aretha hit was a vocal masterclass. Church boy Joshua and pint-sized Filipina Jessica (arguably the real winner of that season) stormed it and proved to be a powerhouse pair.

10. Haley Reinhart – Bennie and the Jets

Raspy-voiced and with a long mane of curls, Haley Reinhart always seemed like she was not supposed to be of this era. Oozing sex appeal, her take on Elton John’s 1973 song was wild, nuanced and wholeheartedly her. And dare we say, better than the original. Sorry Elt.

9. Adam Lambert – A Change is Gonna Come

Lambert followed in the footsteps of past contestant Syesha Mercado by performing the Sam Cooke soul song and, like her, knocked it out of the ball park. With a huge set of pipes and an androgynous style all of his own, Lambert came second in the competition but has gone on to have a successful career – oh and he’s now the lead singer of a little band called Queen.

8. Candice Glover – Love Song

Candice Glover said she wished she had written The Cure’s 1989 track. But Love Song, more recently covered by Adele, seemed like it had been written by her. The eventual winner of Season 12 bared her soul in this stunning performance, one which caused judge Mariah Carey to take to the stage to give her approval.

 

7. Katharine McPhee – Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Now, the iconic Judy Garland song from The Wizard of Oz has been done to death on reality singing shows. But, never before, and possibly since, has it been sung by a contestant with such vulnerability and beauty, whilst still being powerful. When she tips her head back to belt the last chorus – well, it’s the stuff Idol legend is made of.

 

6. Kris Allen – Make You Feel My Love

Another winner, Kris Allen’s rendition of Make You Feel My Love is without a doubt one of the best. And, there is a LOT of them out there. His boyish good looks and country charm were always a crowd-pleaser but it was intoxicating performances like this that made sure he grabbed that record contract, ahead of another hot favourite, Adam Lambert.

 

5. Adam Lambert – Mad World

The only Idol alum to make two appearances in our list, we couldn’t leave out Adam Lambert’s chilling take on Mad World by Tears For Fears. He proved he could sing anything; rock, Michael Jackson and this spine-tingling torch song. A star was born.

4. David Archuleta – Imagine

John Lennon’s most famous track is one that not many haven’t heard. What is lesser-known is the stunning Eva Cassidy version, which baby-faced David Archuleta brought to the masses in season seven. The 16-year-old narrowly lost out to David Cook, with 44 per cent of the vote.

3. Carrie Underwood – Alone

Season four winner chose Heart’s seminal 80s power ballad to prove she was more than just America’s country sweetheart and ended up serving up our editor Anth’s personal favourite-ever Idol performance. Managing to outsing the infamous powerhouse AI backing vocalists, Carrie was all big hair and steely determination – no wonder she was crowned champ.

2. Jordin Sparks – Broken Wing

Country music has never really taken off in the UK but in the states, it is one of the most popular and lucrative genres. Jordin Sparks’ rendition of American country titan Martina McBride’s Broken Wing showed a different side of the singer and put her firmly in the running to win season 6. McBride was a mentor that week on the show, meaning a then-17-year-old had to sing it in front of the song’s originator. Not only did she impress McBride, she impressed the judges, the audience and America and remains the youngest winner in the show’s history.

1. Kelly Clarkson – You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)

It all began back in 2001 with Kelly Clarkson and she remains one of, if not the, most successful winners of the show. This song became somewhat of a signature for her and she also went on to perform it on the rather strange World Idol, against winners from across the world (including our Will Young) Ignoring the dodgy Britney Spears-inspired get up, Kelly’s vocals on the Carole King hit are exactly how you nail a song and win a competition. Two words: WHISTLE TONES.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TBT INTERVIEW: Cheryl on The X Factor, working with Pharrell and how there’s too much sex in the charts

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Cheryl Cole attends the X Factor Wembley Arena auditions at Wembley on August 1, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

With a new album, new job (sort of) and a new hair colour, Cheryl seems like she is on the cusp of something special. She has come full circle, recently announcing she was returning to The X Factor. We chatted to the Geordie pop goddess about what she’s looking for on the show, recording with Pharrell and why there’s too much sex in the charts…

She enjoyed huge success as 1/5 of Girls Aloud and has thrown the girl band rulebook out of the window by enjoying a post-group solo career, releasing three hit albums. She’s been on the cover of Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. She’s a judge on the biggest show on TV. And she’s a modern-day style icon, although not in her own mind. She is most comfortable when kicking back in pyjamas and Ugg boots, watching trashy TV with her dogs and a Chinese takeaway. Are we ruining the illusion? Sorry. Let’s get back to the glamour.

With a huge smile on her face, the newly blonde singer seems happy. The interviews she gives are few and far between, but she has made an exception to talk to us about a very exciting comeback. She recently announced her return to the show that cemented her place in the nation’s hearts. Having quit The X Factor back in 2010, after winning the show twice with her acts Alexandra Burke and Joe McElderry, she decided to focus on other projects, mainly the day job: Pop superstar. Three number one hits, the Calvin Harris-produced Call My Name being the most recent, showed us she was more than just a talent show judge and could still hold her own in the music stakes. That song is played in every bar and every club, every Saturday night. It’s everything a pop song should be. Was it obvious she had an anthem on her hands? “You never really know how the public will react when you record a song but the level of success it has achieved is amazing. Amazing.”

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As well as the show, there’s a new album on the way. She will debut the first single, Crazy Stupid Love, with a performance on Britain’s Got Talent later this month. What can we expect? “I want the new record to be something I would want to listen to,” she says. “That means going back to my pop roots but having some songs with an R&B feel.” She’s also dabbled in the fashion industry with a successful line of shoes for StylistPick and even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2009 for Comic Relief (“I’d do something adventurous again, but another mountain is definitely off the cards!”). But it’s clear that music drives her.

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During her Girls Aloud days, the band was lauded as the first genuinely good act to come from a reality show. They were put together on Popstars: The Rivals, the predecessor to Pop Idol and The X Factor. They won the show and in turn, clinched the Christmas number one spot in 2002 with Sound Of The Underground, a song that any pop act would have killed for. The girls released hit after hit, including Love Machine, Biology and The Promise, which won them a Brit Award for Best British Single. After a hiatus in 2009, the group returned to the charts with Something New, as well as a greatest hits album and tour. Then, they announced it was over. 10 years on top of the pop industry, they were ready to abdicate their thrones.

On her own, Cheryl is on to her fourth album. Her first, 3 Words, spawned a number one in Fight For This Love and garnered positive reviews from ‘proper’ music critics from the likes of Q and The Guardian. The follow-ups, Messy Little Raindrops and A Million Lights continued her success and produced a further two number ones. Like her or not, she’s paid her dues.

One thing I’ve always admired about Cheryl is the feeling of sisterhood she has instilled in her. She’s a girl’s girl. She loves other women and supports them. Maybe it comes from having a sister herself, or being in a girl band. Or the fact that her mam is her best friend. But, when I ask her about which other female artists she admires right now, her response is somewhat shocking. “No one. I feel like it’s all become a bit too sexual for my liking. People can do whatever they like, but it’s not for me.”

She hasn’t had the easiest ride of the music industry rollercoaster. She’s had to withstand rumours of feuds with band mates, relationships that have been played out in the national media and a very public battle with malaria in 2010 that left her fighting for her life. However, her fans, affectionately named ‘soldiers’, have stuck by her through thick and thin and if anything, she seems to have come out of every bad experience stronger and more resilient. And having family around her during the tough times is vital to the singer. “It’s so important. To have people you trust and who are loyal is rare so having family around is comforting. It feels like home and keeps you firmly grounded.” Cheryl’s mother Joan is by her side whenever possible and her younger brother Garry, 26, now lives in London and works with her.

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Speaking of family, Cheryl’s band mate and best friend Kimberley Walsh is expecting a baby this year. She’ll be the second GA member to become a mother. “I literally can not wait for the baby! It looks so weird to see Kimberley with a bump because I’ve known her for 12 years.

“It’s going to be like having another niece or nephew.”

I bring up the reason hers is the name on everybody’s lips: The X Factor. Why now? “It felt right. I’ve been asked to go back for the past three years but it hasn’t felt right until now,” she says. Simon Cowell recently said he had to beg her to return but it’s clear she’s buzzing to be back on the panel. “The excitement to find new talent is stronger than any reservations I had.” She was the winning mentor twice on the show, winning her first series with Alexandra Burke and second with Joe McElderry. She got to the final with Rebecca Ferguson in 2010, the season that found One Direction and Cher Lloyd. Fans of the show will remember her excitement when Cher auditioned. “No one else saw her potential but me and she turned out to be one of the most successful contestants from the show. She didn’t win, but has gone on to sell millions of records not only here, but in America too.” She says that was her ‘wow, we could have something here’ moment but when I ask her if there’s any contestants she wishes she had in her category, she’s loyal. “I’m actually happy with who I had. I helped two winners and took two others to the final. I feel like I got the best out of my acts.”

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So, we know Cheryl is back. We know Mr Cowell is back. But there are still two empty chairs at the judging table. Over the past few weeks, names banded about to fill them have been as varied as Ellie Goulding, Mel B, Robbie Williams and Olly Murs. I ponder over who would be Cheryl’s dream panel. “Beyoncé and Pharrell,” she replies without missing a beat. “Artists like that would be genuinely driven to find talented people and would get the best out of the contestant once the show has ended.” Speaking of Pharrell, I wonder if he’s on the new album. Cheryl has famously worked with Will.I.Am, Snow Patrol and Gary Barlow in the past. And Pharrell is no stranger to collaboration, having produced for some of the biggest artists in the world. And he’s partial to a beautiful woman…”I would absolutely love to work with him. He’s a genius! He’s not on this record, but there’s definitely a few surprises,” she says coyly.

The X Factor auditions have already begun. Well, the pre-auditions have. Cheryl and co will begin their search this summer. She obviously wants to add a third winner to her list of acts. What is she hoping for?

“I’m always looking for original and fresh artists. I don’t want a cut out of someone who is already established because that’s not exciting for me or the public.”

And finally, any advice for her fellow judges, whoever they may turn out to be?

“I hope they’re all bringing their A-game because I left with mine and I’m bringing it back!”

Now, that’s fighting talk. This soldier is ready for battle.

NOW PLAYING: American Idol winners and MVPs on Spotify

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The world’s biggest talent search is coming to an end *sobs*. But, in honour of American Idol and its 15 seasons of stars, we have put together a playlist over on Spotify chock full of TUNES, so you can relive the glory days.

It includes every winner of the show, from its humble beginnings crowning Kelly Clarkson as the inaugural champ to the most recent Idol, Nick Fradiani. The winners aren’t the only contestants who make an appearance here, though. Some of the singers who didn’t get snatch the crown, like Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert, have gone on to become multi-million recording artists all over the globe, and have more than earned their place in the show’s history. Judges past and present, like Paula Abdul and Jennifer Lopez (above, with Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr and host Ryan Seacrest) also made it onto our list.

The finale of American Idol will take place this Thursday, April 7 in Hollywood and includes performances from Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.

Listen to our playlist below: