“The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.” Well, in mid-noughties Britain there was no X-Factor - just Pop Idol, plus Fame Academy its bargain bin competitor over on the Beeb.
I recently discovered some portraits I did in about 2006 of rejects from these shows. They didn’t see the light of day at the time. I vaguely remember that I was planning to link them together in a ‘tree of failure’ which never happened. Now they make me smile – a roll call of anonymous faces, whose names might only stir a feint glimmer of recognition in a few of us.
What became of them? Gary Phelan is still releasing music and playing live if his Facebook is anything to go by. Marli Buck recorded an album for a major label which was never released – she’s still putting out music on her website. Nick Hall hasn’t updated his website since 2008 whilst Chris Hide lasted out til 2009. Alistair Griffin continues to gig, write and record – he released a mildly successful major label album in 2004 – and did manage to trouble the lower end of the charts again in 2010. Peter Brame was a tabloid fixture for a brief period when he dated Fearne Cotton, yet his website has been defunct since 2008. Naomi Roper also quit music the same year. James Fox tasted failure once again in 2004, when he came 16th in Eurovision, with ‘Hold onto Our Love’. He’s now found a career in musical theatre, most recently seen in a touring production of Chess. Last but not least, Aaron Bayley’s website invites you to book his band for your wedding.
If only they’d won their respective talent shows. They must be sitting at home kicking themselves that they’ll never be as famous as David Sneddon, Michelle McManus or Alex Parks...