X FACTOR TOM’S SECOND CHANCE
X FACTOR judge Louis Tomlinson has given a singer once touted as a possible member of his band One Direction a second chance at the big time.
Tom Richards, 24, from Pontypridd, first auditioned for the ITV singing show in 2010, the same year that Tomlinson and his platinum-selling bandmates were put together as a group.
Ahead of his latest try-out on last night’s episode, cruise ship singer Richards – who previously reached the judges’ houses stage of the competition aged 16 – suggested there’d been a “slight possibility” he too could have made the hit boy band’s line-up.
Trying hard to impress the judging panel, the Valleys lad launched into a rendition of James Bay’s Let It Go.
However, head judge Simon Cowell interrupted Richards’ latest moment in the spotlight, saying everything about his audition felt “over-thought” and unnatural.
He was then given a second opportunity to sing and belted out a cover of f Skin by the Mercury Award-winning Rag ’N’ Bone Man.
Nevertheless, Cowell remained unmoved, saying g he would not know how to mentor Richards, while former Take That star Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field praised the singer’s desire and hunger to get ahead in the competition.
That meant it was down to Tomlinson to cast the deciding vote.
“I’m finding this really difficult because obviously we auditioned together and there’s a personal element there,” he said, adding, “I thought it was a good audition, but it didn’t feel 100% authentic.
“I can only say what I feel, I’m sorry.
“But here’s the thing. If you get this chance, one thing you’ve got to take note of is how to really be original. Look Tom, I want to give a yes.”
Tomlinson eventually decided to throw the singer a lifeline, saying he needed to find his own voice and show more originality next time.
Tearful but determined, Tom, who in 2016 landed a part in the Asian tour of Les Miserables, later told X Factor host Dermot O’Leary he felt the experience had been like reliving his 2010 heartache again.
Tomlinson was more convinced by Georgia Burgess, 20, who works in temporary recruitment.
He described her performance of The Jackson 5’s Who’s Loving You as the best he had seen during the audition stage so far.
Also through to the next round was youth worker Armstrong Miller. The 23-year-old church singer said he had a difficult childhood after moving out of his family home aged 13.
He floored the judges with an acoustic reworking of Breaking Free from the hit US TV series High School Musical. Cowell said: “I’ve heard so many songs over and over again and I love it when someone takes a song and t turns it around. It took on a completely different meaning to me.”
Carpenter Ricky John, 37, also provided an emotional moment when his v version of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come took him to the next r round.
John, who was h homeless for eight years, appeared to struggle with a throat p problem, faltering as he sang, but was able to hold it together. Tomlison said: “I think you just changed your l life today.”
Tom Richards on X Factor