Friday 30 September 2016

Shane Filan reveals Louis Walsh 'slapped' him in the face when he did a 'very bad' audition for Simon Cowell

Published 29/05/2015 | 11:48

Shane Filan on Pat Kenny In the Round
Shane Filan on Pat Kenny In the Round
Shane Filan on Pat Kenny In the Round
Shane Filan on Pat Kenny In the Round

Former Westlife star Shane Filan has revealed that Louis Walsh slapped him in the face and shook him when he did a bad audition for Simon Cowell.

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In the early days of his career Louis organised an audition for Shane with Cowell, but Shane admits he turned up worse for wear.

Shane makes the revelation to Pat Kenny on the next episode of Pat Kenny In the Round.

He says, “I’m going to blame Gillian on this one. I did a very bad audition. I was out the night before, I wasn't in great shape. I arrived up and Louis saw it straight away.

Westlife member Shane Filan, Louis Walsh and Westlife member Nicky Byrne appear in the Meteor Ireland Music Awards press room after winning the Best Irish Pop Act award on March 17, 2009 in Dublin, Ireland <b>Photo:</b> Getty Images
Westlife member Shane Filan, Louis Walsh and Westlife member Nicky Byrne appear in the Meteor Ireland Music Awards press room after winning the Best Irish Pop Act award on March 17, 2009 in Dublin, Ireland Photo: Getty Images

"We walked in and we met this man called Simon Cowell for the first time. It didn’t go well and Louis wasn’t very happy with me afterwards. He kind of lost it. He slapped me in the face. It was crazy. He was shouting “what are you doing” and he was shaking me and saying “I was counting on you in there”.

"I thought my life was over. I thought that’s it, I’ve ruined my life. It was horrible but [Louis] said 'don’t worry, don’t worry, I’ve got a plan'.

"So, he dyed my hair blonde and grew it long for about three or four months and he said we’ll get him back. He won’t even recognise you. Louis always says 'trust me, trust me' so that worked, thank God.”

Shane was interviewed for the penultimate episode of Pat Kenny in the Round which broadcasts at 9pm on Monday night.  He also addresses his bankruptcy and reveals that wife Gillian was his "rock".

Shane and Gillian Filan in Dublin
Shane and Gillian Filan in Dublin

Following his phenomenal success in Westlife where he sold more than 50m records over a period of 14 years, Shane and his brother Finbar found themselves in financial turmoil after their property company, Shafin Developments, went into receivership in 2012 – leaving Shane €23 million in debt.

When asked if he had lost everything, Shane says, “Yeah, everything bar… Everything actually, yeah. It was really bad. We had just played Croke Park, it is incredible looking back at it. We played to 170,000 people in one weekend and the following week, I had a few hundred quid. I literally had a few hundred quid in my bank account.”

Speaking about the support he received from his family, and in particular his wife Gillian, throughout that difficult period, he says, “She’s just unreal. She’s class. I could’ve been very unlucky to meet somebody else that would’ve reacted completely differently and she was, it’s cliché to say your rock, but she was, she was like a boulder.

"There was nothing that was going to stop us. I remember telling her at the time, when we knew it was really bad, I remember standing in the house in Sligo and I said, look we could lose this house. It’s not looking good.

"She said I don’t care, we could live in a cardboard box and that’s the type of woman she was, that was her comment. That’s when you realise Pat, life is going to throw some ups and downs at you, but if you have a happy family and three perfect children, you know I don’t need anything else. You just need to get by and I don’t need much more.”

Discussing the possibility of a Westlife comeback, Louis Walsh, contributing to the interview, says “Of course. They don’t know it yet, but yeah, of course.”

Shane adds, “I think Louis was the most devastated fan when it all happened. You know Pat, it’s a question we get asked a lot and it’s something that could happen, but it is four or five people that have to make that decision, so it depends where we all are individually in our own lives at that stage. But yeah, it could happen of course.”

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