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 Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Hobson’s Choice - by guide re­porter John­Baker 01733 588726 john. baker@ pe­ter­bor­oughto­day. co. uk

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).

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