Time for Chico to hit the ice
For those of you wondering, he gets asked ‘ that question’ by about 70 per cent of the people he meets.
The question, of course, is ‘ What Time is It?’ The answer, for those of you unaware of the persona that is Chico Slimane, is “It’s Chico Time!”
Onhisfourthvisit to the city – his second in an ice- skating themedevent - the Welsh- born singer of Moroccan descent paid a brief visit to the Peterborough Telegraph offices.
Brief, but packed full of soundbites, as Chico’s whole persona is built on a foundationofwillpowerandhappiness overcoming any perceived lack of talent.
His glass is always half full. He is Mr PMA – Positive Mental Attitude. When everything fails, personality prevails.
They are all delivered with a smile, and a glint in the eye, of someone who is still riding the crest of a wave which broke nearly eight years ago.
Chicowaspropelledtofame throughXFactorin2005, where his light- hearted and flamboyant personality took him through to round eight.
Whatever he lacked in singing expertise was compensated for with oiled abs andlatinostyle dancing, in performances of ‘ LivinLaVidaLoca’and‘ Doya think I’m Sexy’.
Listening to the 41- year- old you would believe it was preordained that the public would soon know his name.
He said: “I have never experienced anything like X Factor, before or since. It’s an extraordinaryshowandIhavesomeextraordinary memories.
“Everything I’ve done since is thanks to that, because it was the catalyst for ‘ Chico Time’, which has served me very well.
“If I walk past people and gaze into their eyes, the chances are that 60or 70 per cent will ask me what time it is.
“Andyournextquestionwill be: ‘ don’t youever get sick of it?’ and I reply that you can never get sick of putting a smile on someone’s face.
“I love people. They call me Mr PMA because I am always seeing solutions as opposed to problems, and stepping stones asopposedtostumblingblocks.
“There’s nothing in this life you can’t achieve; dream it, believe it, work for it, achieve it.”
After X Factor, and subsequent album and single releases, Chico appeared in many of the staples of evening TVentertainment.
The list includes Extras, The Weakest Link, Room 101, Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, and many more.
Sothe enquiring mindwonders what would have filled these gaps if XFactor hadnever existed in his life.
“When I went in for it I was asked what would happen if I didn’t get through to the next round, and I said: ‘ failure is not an option. I’ve made up my mind in my head and that’s it.
“I wasnotentertainingother than what I came to get, which is a spot in the top 12.
“People misconstrued it as arrogance, but actually all it is is a pattern of thought. I come fromafightingbackgroundand whenyoufaceanopponentyou go in there visualising that you are victorious. I apply that rule to everything anddealwithfailure as it happens.”
Chico and X Factor 2005 runner- up Andy Abraham are due to star in an upcoming performance of Boogie Nights, alongside theOsmonds, Gareth Gates and Louisa Lytton.
ChicoandSimonCowellhad an uneasy relationship on the show, and Chico admits he has not seen him in some time.
He remains dedicated to his charity, the Rainbow Child Foundation, which has helped 15,000 underprivileged children in Africa, while other projects for later this year include launching a fitness DVD and creating another album.
He said: “I never turn my nose up at anything. When you put yourself in the avenue of opportunity great things can happen.
“I have turned up to jobs where I have wondered whether I should be doing them, and thenaweek, monthorevenyear later I get aphonecallforanother opportunity from someone who might have been working behindthesceneswhenwefirst met, but is now a producer. I never underestimate anyone.”
His current project, and the reason for his visit to the city, is Celebrities on Ice.
Rehearsals for the show have lasted twoweeks, andthis weektheteamwill be ‘ stepping it up’ in time for the big show at the Peterborough Arena, from tomorrow ( Friday, January 25) to Sunday.
Hesaid: “I can’t tell you how brilliant the showisgoingtobe.
“We are skating with the Russian all stars and professionals, and Ray Quinn and Lisa Scott- Lee, who is looking fabulous.
“Ice skating is one of the mosttechnicalsportsoutthere, andoneofthemostdangerous. Onewrongtwistcouldbreakan ankle or split a heel open.
“The intricacy of executing everything correctly takes patience, patience – and more patience.”
Follow Chico on Twitter: @ chicotime1
Celebrities onIce will bePeterborough Arena’s first major event of the New Year.
As well as celebrities from the world of sport, TV and entertainment, a number of professional ice skaters will be joining the glittering cast in the show that’s supported by Heart FM.
There will be evening and matinee performances. For details call 0844 581 4910 or visit www. celebsonice. co. uk
C hico ( above) and with some of his co- stars ( below).