While Leona Lewis is probably the most famous ‘X Factor’ contestant ever to take part in the show, Shayne Ward is arguably the second most famous. Ward rose to the top of the competition during the second season of the ‘X Factor’ in The United Kingdom.
He hasn’t experienced the same level of international success as Leona, but Shayne has remained relatively popular in British territories and European countries since winning the show in 2005; he has topped the singles or albums charts in nine different countries.
Shayne was no stranger to reality competition series when he first auditioned for ‘The X Factor. He previously made the final 30 on the show ‘Pop Stars: The Rivals,’ which is similar to the show Nicole Scherzinger got her start on in the United States. Shayne was also part of a group that toured parts of The United Kingdom performing at weddings and other events. So some might say he paid his dues before finding fame.
As soon as he auditioned for ‘The X Factor,’ he was taken into the boys’ category and went on to become the oddsmakers’ favorite to win the competition. Not only did Shayne win, he never landed in the viewers’ bottom two. In my opinion, this wasn’t such a hard feat, since the competition wasn’t very tough that season. I’ve only heard of two other singers who were on that year. Not to take away from Shayne’s success -- I just don’t think there was any competition pushing him.
For the first six weeks of ‘The X Factor,’ Shayne and his mentor, Louis Walsh, decided to stick with ballads and adult contemporary songs. This is fine in getting the votes from swooning teenage girls, but for those of us who aren’t teenage girls, we needed a little more pizazz. Enter week seven and Shayne’s performance of “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness.
As someone who has seen the song performed during karaoke, it’s not an easy song to sing, and not something your average bowling alley karaoke singer should be taking on. However, Shayne turned on his higher register and nailed the song. For me, this is when he turned the corner toward being the clear winner of ‘The X Factor.’
The next week, Shayne took on another up-tempo rock song in the Scissor Sisters’ “Take Your Mama,” and kept up his alternation between up-tempo and slow songs until the final, where he sealed the deal with “Over the Rainbow.”
Shayne’s version of the song is definitely one of the best I’ve heard. It shows off his range and allowed him to give it all he had. It’s no Kylie Minogue version of “Over the Rainbow,” but it will work.
When the final results of ’The X Factor’ came in, Shayne barely beat the runner-up, with a little over 50 percent of the vote, but it didn’t matter. He’s had four top ten British singles and a platinum album since.
Even though he recently changed record labels, I don’t think we have heard the last of Shayne Ward. As one of the people fans of ’The X Factor’ will continue to recognize, he’s won over a loyal fan base that isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. He has the smooth voice and swagger that will carry him for years to come, as evidenced by his smash hit “No U Hang Up:”
What do you think? Would you hang up the phone on Shayne Ward? Will the U.S. version of ’The X Factor’ find it’s own version of him? Don’t forget to tune in every Wednesday and Thursday at 8ET/7CT only on Fox to find out.