Live’n’loud: Dami and friends live on the Gold Coast .............
MOVE over Justin Bieber – there’s a new kid in town. Jai Waetford has the same floppy hair and cute smile that propelled Bieber into the spotlight – and some may say he’s a better singer too.
The 14-year-old from Campbelltown in NSW is already gathering admirers after coming third on Seven Network’s reality show The X-Factor. ‘‘They send fan mail to my school’’ he says. ‘‘It’s good that the fans are keeping in touch.’’ Waetford is speaking over the phone from the X Factor
Live tour bus, which arrives on the Gold Coast on the weekend. Quite the rock star life already.
‘‘Well I’m really excited but everyone else is asleep,’’ he says, referring to his fellow X-Factor contestants including winner Dami Im and runner-up Taylor Henderson, who are on the bus with him.
It’s quite the image: a bus full of popstar idols rolls into town and only one is awake and brimming full of energy. But perhaps that shows just how young Waetford is. In fact he’s so young he has to be tutored to keep up with school.
‘‘I have a really good tutor but I miss being in school and mucking around with my friends,’’ he says.
Waetford will also be out of school next year as he pursues his career in music.
‘‘I’m going to be doing distance learning. It would be too hard if I’m performing and have to fly to Melbourne or somewhere,’’ he says.
Waetford might miss his school chums but he’s picked up a new famous friend since his turn on the reality show.
‘‘Justin Bieber instagrammed a picture of my first audition. And he’s been tweeting me private messages saying we should catch up when he comes out to Australia,’’ he says.
Waetford may be a teenager, but like his idol Bieber, he has clear ideas about where he wants his career to go.
‘‘I want to start writing a single and I would love to collaborate with a DJ,’’ he says.
‘‘I want to make a dancey/poppy song especially coming in to summer because it’s a really alive time of year’’.
And with that it’s time to let Waetford rejoin his tour bus friends. Maybe, just maybe, he can rouse them for a singalong.
The X Factor Live Tour plays the Brisbane Entertainment Centre tomorrow night and the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday night.
The X-Factor Live Tour stars Dami Im, Taylor Henderson, Jai Waetford, Third D3gree and Jiordan Tolli.