'I was just too vulnerable and too young at 14' - Melanie McCabe warns X Factor hopefuls not to audition too young
She had her heart broken after trying and failing to claim X Factor glory on four occasions. And now Dublin singer Melanie McCabe has warned hopefuls of the dangers of applying for the reality series before they are ready.
The long-running singing competition is coming to Croke Park on July 1, with returning judges Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger joining Simon Cowell on the panel.
It marks the first time the show has ventured to Irish shores since Niall Horan was discovered in Dublin in 2010.
However, Melanie (22), who first appeared on the UK series at 14, said the experience had a negative impact on her and she regrets auditioning at such a young age.
“I did X Factor when I was 14. At that age, I think I was just too vulnerable and too young and it really negatively affected me,” she told the Herald. “That’s why I didn’t enter again for two years, it affected my confidence.”
The Dublin native said would-be contestants need to be sure of themselves before they step onto the audition stage. “I think at that age you’re so fragile, you need to learn who you are as a person before you go and do X Factor because otherwise they will tell you who you are,” she said.
“If you don’t have some kind of sense of self, they will mould you into what they want.”
Despite the knock-backs, the brunette is still happy she competed on the show, although she doesn’t think it is best way to carve out a long-lasting career.
“I’m a big believer that every single thing you do in life is a stepping stone to something better,” she said.
“No matter where you come on X Factor, it’s a huge learning curve. I did it four times so you can imagine how much I have learned.
“The fourth time I did it was the time I made the biggest mark on my career.
“If you want a lasting career, X Factor maybe isn’t the best way to go about it.
“But if you want to get your name out there, it is a good opportunity. It pushed my career forward.”
The series has since raised the minimum age requirement to 16, although the 22-year-old Melanie wishes it were higher.
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“I think it’s a lot more beneficial for the artist, that the age was brought back up,” she said.
“In my view, it’s still a little too young but at least they might have a bit more of an idea of who they are as a person, an artist and they will also have thicker skin.
“At fourteen, you are just starting to find your feet and a show as pressurised as The X Factor could really break down your confidence.”