X Factor 2012: Unreality meets Chris Maloney who sheds a tear for his unwell nan and explains Louis Walsh’s “diva” remark
During a press call yesterday at The X Factor’s studios in London, I met finalist Chris Maloney, who has of course been much maligned by the media – not to mention the judges – over the whole cruise ship debacle…
As fan of the show will know, when Chris first auditioned, he stood on the stage quaking with nerves, eliciting the sympathy of the judges and the audience before wowing everyone with his powerhouse voice.
However, since then, it was reported in the press that Chris had formerly been a singer on a cruise ship, playing to audiences of anything from a hundred or so to a thousand, so the issue of the validity of his nervousness was questioned.
The argument was that if he’d sung professionally in front of lots of people before, then he “misled” the judges and the show’s fans by intimating that he hadn’t done so before the audition, and that the process of X Factor had reduced him to the status of quivering wreck…
So of course, one of the first questions asked of Chris was why, if he was able to sing without a trace of nerves in front of X number of people, he couldn’t do likewise on X Factor…
However, before Chris even responded, those of us with half a brain cell knew the answer, and it’s of course glaringly obvious that singing to a bunch of people at any venue is nowhere near as daunting as singing to a live audience of several thousand, four of the music industry’s top talents and a TV viewing audience of millions.
It would be akin to a Friday night karaoke sesh at the pub being moved to the O2 with a capacity live crowd, all of whom had an opinion of you that they weren’t shy about voicing.
However, the interview began with Chris telling us that his beloved nan isn’t well at the moment, and has therefore not been in London to support Chris and is instead at home recovering.
And of his nan, tears sprang to his eyes as he said, “She’s had to go to the doctor’s and have some tests.
“I think the stress of The X Factor’s taken its toll, so she just needs to rest, but hopefully, if I get through, she’ll be back next week.”
But that’s not all the bad news Chris has had this week as he revealed, “My friend had a miscarriage on Monday so that was a bit of a nightmare, but I’m just trying to keep focused on everything.”
And of the cruise ship debacle, Chris explained, “The thing is, I’m 34 and singing on the ship was about six weeks, then I’ve done other stuff for maybe seven weeks, all when I was in my twenties.
“It’s just negative, and it’s hurtful, for my family as well. It’s part and parcel of [the X Factor] but I’ve still got feelings, and it is hurtful.
“I’m still nervous now, and I just feel like my confidence is being knocked all the time.
“I still can’t believe I’m actually here. I feel so overwhelmed that I’m here; it’s like my dream come true.”
Chris added that his mentor, Gary Barlow, had advised him to stop reading what the press has to say in an attempt to block it all out, but as one of the reporters said, in doing so, he’s missing out on the positive things fans say too.
In answer to that, Chris said, “It’s lovely that people are supporting me because I am trying my best.
“And there’s the pressure of being the Wildcard too because people have picked up the phone and voted for me.
“There’s a recession on but they phoned to vote for me, so I don’t want to let them down.”
So of course, Chris is hoping to impress this week, and he revealed that he’s got some dance moves lined up for Saturday!
He said, “I want to prove that there’s another side [to my performances] and I can have fun and enjoy it rather than just singing big ballads or whatever.
“I’ve just had a rehearsal with Gary and the dancers and stuff, and it went really well. But I did get some of the words wrong, but hopefully I won’t get them wrong on Saturday.”
I then asked Chris which of the judges’ comments he dreads most, suggesting that I would think he’d dread what Louis Walsh has to say, given he’s criticized Chris on each performance so far.
Chris said, “I’ve been trying to better myself every week, and with Louis, the comments I’ve had since the start, like at auditions and Boot Camp – have been fantastic…
“But since the live shows started, he’s been quite negative.
“The thing is, in all of my life, I’ve never put myself forward and I feel like I’m quite vulnerable; quite a vulnerable person…
“But I just hope that people will see I’m genuine. And I’m so grateful to be here and to the public for keeping me here.”
And finally, of the claim made by Louis Walsh that Chris is a “diva” backstage, Chris said that Louis apologized to him for saying it, adding that in the moment that he was asked “Who’s the biggest diva backstage?” he couldn’t think of anyone who actually was!
Chris said, “Louis was put on the spot by the phone question, but he said to me later, ‘Chris I’m sorry but you were the first person I could think of. Your name just popped into my head.’
“But there’s no hard feelings. He got flustered and he was put on the spot and unfortunately, he said my name.”
However, at the end of the interview, Chris summed up by saying, “I’m going to treat each performance like it’s my last and make the most of those two minutes on the stage and just hope I can show all the people who voted for me that I am working hard and I’m genuinely grateful to be here.”
I think part of the problem for Chris is that people have a mental image of what someone with a powerhouse voice should look like or be like, and just right now, Chris isn’t matching that image, but given time, I have no doubt that he will.
What do you think of Chris?
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