Can Mary make a million?
She might not have made the final of The X Factor, but MaBy has a bright future ahead, writes John Costello
Mary Byrne's rollercoaster ride on Simon Cowell's star-making machine may have come to an abrupt end on Sunday night, but it seems she could still have the X factor when it comes to cashing in on her fame.
As the hometown hero returns to Dublin's Ballyfermot, rumours are rife that she could be set to make a mint as lucrative deals come flooding in.
But can our very own Mary Byrne really win the fame-game lottery despite not making it to the final of The X Factor? Max Clifford certainly thinks so.
"First and foremost Mary has been a huge success on X Factor so it gives her a tremendous chance because people have really taken to her," says the UK's leading PR and celebrity guru.
"She has a great, nice, powerful voice and a personality to go with it, so she has all of the chances. She went right the way through to the semi-final and that means she's had 15 million people looking at and listening to her every week, so this is a huge launching pad."
With the race on to ride the coat-tails of the Dubliner's startling success, Marks & Spencer was reportedly first off the blocks to try and capture the star's signature.
The full-figured and curvy songstress is seen as an ideal antidote to stick-thin models to help promote M&S's clothing range for plus-size customers.
But it appears they could already be too late, because Mary's perfect promotional partner could already have been waiting in the wings.
"The obvious thing for me is the whole 'Tesco Checkout Girl' back story," says Clifford. "So, get your album together and put it out in Tesco and do big promotional appearances in Tesco. The promotion is simple -- you started out as a checkout girl and now you are going back as a star."
However, it can take time for fledgling stars to see the cash flow in. Take Jedward, who are at present working the fame game hard to try and cash in. But when Graham Norton asked them earlier this year if they had a cash card, John replied: "I don't know, it doesn't work."
Unlike Jedward, Susan Boyle's cash cards are fully loaded thanks to raking in more than £12m. This has made her the role model for all talent show wannabes.
"Well, the plan for Mary Byrne should simply be to sell vast quantities of albums and make vast quantities of money," says Clifford. "A lot of Susan Boyle's albums were sold through Tesco. But it is not only album sales that are key.
"You've got the personal appearances. You've got the potential endorsements. You have the X Factor Tour coming up, which she will obviously play a big part in. Then you have Mary's own shows.
"She could certainly have a very successful career. I won't say as successful as Susan Boyle, because that is something that happens once in a blue moon, but she is certainly assured of having a brilliant 2011 and could comfortably earn a million pounds."
However, Elton John has warned talent show stars that they are simply on a conveyor belt where they get "humped and dumped".
"They're a bit like products, to be honest with you," says the flamboyant hit maker. "They're products and the record comes out at Christmas, and it's always number one. And then what happens next year?
"Why aren't they touring? Who's managing these people? Why aren't you building their career properly? That's what worries me. You know, I don't hate The X Factor. I hate what happens to people's careers, because it's not thought about properly."
With the last six seasons of The X Factor littered with failed pop star wannabes who have vanished with out a trace, it is vital Mary Byrne avoids the pitfalls of reality show fame to ensure long-term success.
"She needs to have someone looking after her and managing her that knows the business," says Clifford, "particularly that middle-market business."
Management is one of the key differences between the likes of Leona Lewis, who has made millions, and the long line of X Factor failures.
"A lot of it is down to having someone guiding their career that knows the right moves, the right market, the right way to build a career and put the foundations in place," says Clifford.
"Like anything else, a lot of it is down to the quality of the people looking after her.
"But Mary has shown that she has the personality and the voice to have an amazing year and then some.
"If she has got good management in place, 2011 is virtually guaranteed and she has got the potential to build from there."