Monday 19 August 2019

'We weren't really familiar with George Michael's music' - Sean and Conor Price swotting up on X Factor theme ahead of live show

Sean and Conor Price. PIC: ITV
Sean and Conor Price. PIC: ITV
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

At just 17 and 15 years old Irish X Factor hopefuls Sean and Conor Price are at a bit of a disadvantage with this weekend's theme.

It's George Michael week so the remaining acts will be performing their various takes on his music, but the brothers from Blessington were not familiar with the legendary late artist's work.

Sean and Conor have had their style makeover ahead of the live shows
Sean and Conor have had their style makeover ahead of the live shows

"When we heard George Michael was the theme we got straight into listening to George Michael songs," Sean tells  "We weren't really familiar with George Michael's music."

However, he reminds us that in their first audition they "took an old song and reinvented it to make it our own so hopefully we can do the same this week".

Their first audition, which blew away judges Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, Louis Walsh, and Sharon Osbourne, as well as the viewers at home, saw them tackle Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix's classic, All Along the Watchtower.

Since then they've smashed their way through each round, getting further than any Irish act in years, albeit with a bit of a speed wobble at bootcamp when nerves got the better of them.

This weekend will be their third live show performance and the George Michael theme will arguably suit them better than last week's, Viva Latino.  They sang Sia's Cheap Thrills, with some Spanish for good measure.

"When we first heard it we were a bit surprised but then we went straight into it," says Sean. "We had a full week to prepare so we were just working really hard. 

"We weren't that nervous by the time the performance came around.  We were just hoping to get the Spanish right!  It was completely new for us.  We both study German in school so we had no word of Spanish before this week!"

Their mentor Simon Cowell is "back in business" after his fall at home which saw him miss the first live show and he Sean reveals he "loves hearing ideas" from the boys about how to approach each week.

"Thankfully what surprised us this year was that Simon has actually let us more or less have free reign," he says.  "He's letting us do what we do and he's not trying to change us at all.  So it's really nice to have that from someone who is such a big person in the music industry.  He's letting us take control."

Read more 'You're going to go far' - Irish brothers Sean and Conor Price impress with X Factor performance 

Each week they have Monday off after the show and then it's "practice, practice, practice".  While the other contestants live in the X Factor mansion, Sean and Conor are staying with their parents John and Karen separately as Conor is just 15.

Sean and Conor Price sing Sia's Cheap Thrills on The X Factor
Sean and Conor Price sing Sia's Cheap Thrills on The X Factor

"It's a blessing in disguise," laughs Sean.  "We have our peace and we get enough sleep every night which is actually really handy!  Initially we thought we were going to miss out on the craic but we're in the house all day and then we just go back for our sleep so we're not really missing out at all."

Nothing appears to faze the brothers and Sean admits they're "loving every second" and "not taking it for granted".  Their enthusiasm for the show is infectious.  Performing on the same stage as Rita Ora and Harry Styles this week is "mad" and something he says they never thought would happen.

"We're massive fans of Harry Styles.  He's come through X Factor and been in One Direction and one on to have his solo career so we really look up to Harry.  We're big fans. He's brilliant," he gushes.

Harry's fellow One Directioner Louis Tomlinson tweeted about Sean and Conor this week, saying, "I like these little Irish lads but enough with the rapping". 

Sean sees the positive in it, "He said he likes these little Irish lads so I suppose we've got to take the positive - he says he likes us so we've got to take that!"

Read more: 'Enough with the rapping' - Louis Tomlinson has some advice for Sean and Conor Price 

Niall Horan responded to the tweet with, "Stop talking about me like that , I'll rap if I want . You know I can spit bars ." which greatly amused the lads.

They're also chuffed with the support of rising Irish acting star Barry Keoghan, he of Love/Hate cat killer fame and the current star of The Killing of a Sacred Deer alongside Colin Farrell.

He tweeted to his 23,000 followers to vote for Sean and Conor this weekend.

They have also been receiving pictures of signs and posters supporting them at home in Blessington.  "It feels like the whole country are backing us - it's unbelievable."

However, with four acts leaving the competition this weekend, the pressure is mounting.

"It's tough every week and you never know what the outcome is going to be," he says.  "There's so much talent in the competition and [four acts going has] added a bit of pressure but all we can do is our best performance.  It could be our last performance.  It is really whittling down the competition."

The X Factor airs on ITV/TV3 at 8.10pm on Saturday and 7.30pm on Sunday.

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