Since beginning 14 years ago, the X Factor Tour has entertained over three million people, making it one of the UK’s most successful annual arena tours. After the bright lights of the live show fade, the traditional post-series tour will begin, kicking off on February 15th at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena before wrapping up a few weeks later at Belfast’s SSE Arena on March 6th.
Last night, we were invited along to the press launch of the X Factor Tour 2019 with InNewcastle (www.innewcastle.co.uk). Set in the stunning venue of The Botanist, Newcastle with it’s beautifully lit dome towering above us and breathe taking view of Grey’s Street we now understand why The Botanist is one of Newcastle’s most popular bars. Upon arrival, we we’re guided towards the reserve area for the press. Being one of the first there, we headed to the bar and opted for an Early Grey – we’re rock and roll you know!
It wasn’t until a few moments before the performance was due to begin that the two finalists were revealed, they were Scarlett Lee and Shan Ako. We were welcomed by an exclusive performance by the two finalists and it’s safe to say we were blown away.
First up was Shan Ako, a 25-year-old graduate of the prestigious Brit School. Shan’s X Factor journey started with a cover of The Greatest Showman’s Never Enough in her first audition. The singer walked away from the stage with four big yeses and assurances from Simon Cowell she could be a “great role model to young people.” Singing her original song, ‘Get Back,’ you could see that Shan is a star in the making. You could see the passion in her eyes and in all honestly I thought her song was a song from the charts so all I can say is what this space because there are big things to come from this one.
Next up was make-up artist, Scarlett Lee who was proven to be a popular contestant on last year’s X Factor. Like her fellow competitor Anthony Russell, Scarlett, 21 from Surrey, auditioned for the series in 2017 and made it through to the first round and on through to the Six Chair Challenge when she was sent home by former judge Sharon Osbourne. On returning to the competition this year, Scarlett has managed to impress the judges with her strong vocals, despite a shaky start in her first live audition. After Simon told her to sing another song, she chose Never Enough from The Greatest Showman, which she sang for us this evening, and got four resounding yeses. It safe to say Scarlett’s persistence paid off, her passion for singing is shown throughout her performance; which very nearly brought us to tears
After their individual songs, the pair performed a duet of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga's hit song Shallow from the film A Star is Born, there was silence around us and I was covered in goose bumps. The chemistry between these two is undeniable and it was exciting watching them both perform together – do we sense a collaboration in the future because we certainly hope so!
When the ladies finished their performances, we headed to the interview room where Lindsey managed to sit both girls down to chat about the upcoming X Factor Tour. The girls, who have stayed friends since the competition, braved the cold weather in Newcastle and both saying they were excited to be in the city - with 21-year-old Scarlett giving some hilarious Geordie accent impressions and talking about her love of Geordie Shore and Charlotte Crosby who she’s so desperate to meet. Talking about the up-coming tour, Brit-school graduate, Shan said: "I'm very excited to be reunited with everyone and perform in these amazing venues and meet amazing people who support us."
On what people can expect to hear at the newly named Utilita Arena show, Scarlett revealed: "We want to keep true to who we are and do some original material. But I think you can still be original and do other songs and just tweaking it to put your own personal stamp on it." It hasn’t been all plain sailing for Scarlett, having struggling a lot in the past with her confidence she had to look at herself in the mirror and give herself a telling off. Singing has always been a dream of Scarlett’s and being turned away from the X Factor previously just gave her more of a push to come back again.
Since being on the X Factor, both girls’ lives have changed significantly; mentioning how they can’t even go to the shops now without being recognised. With all of this new found fame, you would have thought it would go to some people’s heads however this is not the case for Shan and Scarlett who’s feet are both firmly on the ground. They are two of the kindest and nicest people we’ve met with Shan saying she wants to be someone who people can look up to and can relate to. We couldn’t help notice Shan’s earrings which said, “Keep is 100% natural,” and this is Shan and Scarlett all over. Both girls were so easy and natural to speak too, we even agreed on a night out next time they visit Newcastle.
The X Factor Tour 2019 arrives at the Utilita Arena on Saturday 2nd March and tickets are still available! Now’s your chance to see some of your favourite X Factor finalists perform live and the artists confirmed are:
To purchase your tickets, head to: www.utilitaarena.co.uk/events/the-x-factor-live-tour-2019