An emotional rollercoaster

Have your say

Blogger Trish Burgess writes for the Free Press

I thought I’d weaned myself off it last year. I remained strong for months, all the way through to Christmas, hardly ever feeling the desire to have another fix. But this year, I’ve already caved in.

Yes, I’ve started to watch The X Factor again. Whilst channel ­hopping last weekend, I happened to glimpse someone in tears and I couldn’t click off. I had to find out the back story and why getting through to the live finals would mean the world to them.

That was it. Before I knew it I had watched Simon tear his immaculately ­coiffed hair out as he witnessed most of the Over 25s spectacularly underperform. The next night I was back to watch Cheryl’s lip tremble as she joined in with the tearful girls.

As I write this, the first live show hasn’t been shown and I’m wondering if I can resist and step back from the whole sorry business.

I’m a sucker for talent shows and for that I blame my mother. In 1971 she competed in Opportunity Knocks, which at the time was a hugely popular TV programme.

I remember she told me in confidence that she was going to be on the show and I, being only seven, wrote about it the next day in ‘My News’ at school and unwittingly let the cat out of the bag.

A singer all her adult life, my mum was hoping to perform one of her more powerful numbers: a musical theatre belter or an aria from ‘Carmen’. However, the producers were more keen to promote her as a housewife from Newcastle so she had to sing a Northumbrian folk song, ‘Blow the Wind Southerly’, in front of an old rowing boat they had scooped out from the nearby Thames.

She sang it beautifully and scored 86 on the clap­o­meter but the public postcard votes weren’t enough for her to oust the young Scottish schoolboy, Neil Reid, who had been returning week after week with ballads such as ‘Mother of Mine’ and ‘Sunshine of Your Smile.’

Not put off by my mum’s experience, in my wisdom I decided to have a crack at Stars in Their Eyes in 2000.

I longed to say, “Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be Crystal Gayle” and walk through the dry ice to the opening bars of ‘Don’t it Make my Brown Eyes Blue’. I recorded myself singing in the bathroom for extra echo and sent the cassette tape off to the producers.

Remarkably I was called to attend an audition in Nottingham and I remember sitting nervously in a waiting room with Patsy Cline and Jon Bon Jovi.

Despite doing a passable rendition of the famous Country and Western song, I wasn’t successful and had to watch from the sofa as my Jon Bon Jovi friend went through to win his heat when the shows were finally televised.

I was gutted, as I’d had a real hankering to wear a waist-­length wig and a smattering of sparkling rhinestones. The dream was over...

You can follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at