Wednesday 16 October 2019

X Factor: Celebrity 2019: Ben Foden, Ricki Lake and four Love Island stars among line-up

Ben Foden covering John Legend on Sky One's A League of Their Own
Ben Foden covering John Legend on Sky One's A League of Their Own

Rugby star Ben Foden is making a foray into the world of music in the upcoming series of X Factor: Celebrity.

Foden (34), who was married to singer Una Healy for seven years until their split earlier this year, will be singing alongside fellow rugby professionals Thom Evans and Levi Davis as Try Star.

It's not the first time Foden has flexed his vocal cords on TV - he impressed James Corden with his rendition of John Legend's 'All of Me' on A League of their Own in 2017.

And last year he also performed George Ezra's 'Shotgun' on BBC series 'All Together Now'.

Try Star will compete against 13 other acts including former Strictly Come Dancing professional Brendan Cole, talk show host Ricki Lake, and journalist Martin Bashir.

Several reality TV stars from Love Island and The Only Way is Essex will also show off their singing skills on the celebrity version of X Factor.

The show airs as the traditional X Factor format is rested for a season.

The celebrities, drawn from the worlds of music, film, sport, television and social media, will battle it out in Los Angeles to reach the live shows in London.

The winner will earn a record deal, but must win the approval of judges Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, and Louis Walsh in the process.

Joining Try Star  in the groups category will be Cole and Edwards (Brendan Cole singing with actor Jeremy Edwards), and The Islanders - Love Island stars Samira Mighty, Zara McDermott, Wes Nelson and Eyal Booker will form The Islanders.

CBBC presenters Max and Harvey will also compete against social media influencers Sofia, Alondra, Laura, Wendii and Natalie, who make up V5, in the groups.

The overs category includes journalist Martin Bashir - famous for his BBC interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, and then his controversial documentary with Michael Jackson - and talk show host Ricki Lake, The Chase star Jenny Ryan and Corrie star Victoria Ekanoye.

Former TOWIE star turned country singer Megan McKenna will compete in the unders category with model Hayley Hasselhoff, EastEnders actor Jonny Labey, Love Actually star Olivia Olson and Glee actor Kevin McHale.

Here is a run-down of who is taking part.


Jenny Ryan

jenny ryan the chase.png
Jenny Ryan on The Chase

One of the chasers from ITV quiz show The Chase, Ryan has also competed on The Weakest Link, University Challenge and Mastermind.

She initially was hired to write the questions for The Chase, then later became one of the chasers in 2015 after fellow chaser Anne Hegerty recommended her.


Victoria Ekanoye

Coronation Street Actress Victoria Ekanoye at the Virgin Media Television New Season Press briefing in the Aviva Stadium as the group unveiled its new programming for 2018. Pictures Brian McEvoy

The actress is best known for playing Angie Appleton in Coronation Street after arriving on the cobbles in August 2017.

She left Weatherfield in January 2019 when Angie returned to South Africa with her son George and Ekanoye will next be seen in the new CBBC adaptation of The Worst Witch books.


Martin Bashir

Martin Bashir interviewed Diana, Princess of Wales for Panorama in 1995

Martin Bashir began working as a journalist in 1986 but made headlines around the world in 1995 for his BBC interview with Diana, Princess of Wales for Panorama.

In 2003, he conducted a series of interviews with pop singer Michael Jackson for the controversial ITV documentary Living with Michael Jackson.

He later moved to the US where he co-anchored the current affairs show Nightline on ABC before moving to MSNBC, where he served as a political commentator until 2013.

He has since returned to the BBC as the broadcaster's religion editor.


Ricki Lake

Ricki Lake. Photo: Getty

While she is best known for her talk show Ricki Lake, which ran for 11 years from 1993, US star Lake first found fame in the lead role of Tracey Turnblad in the 1988 film Hairspray.

Since then she has appeared in a string of TV shows, including Charm School with Ricki Lake and most recently she competed on the US version of singing show The Masked Singer.



Jonny Labey

For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only Undated BBC handout photo of actor Jonny Labey, who is joining the cast of Eastenders as character Paul Coker.

The British actor is best known for his role as Paul Coker in EastEnders.

He joined the cast in 2015 when his character fell in love with Ben Mitchell but then he was killed off in a homophobic attack a year later.

Labey then went on to win ITV's Dance Dance Dance in 2017.


Megan McKenna

Megan McKenna (Ian West/PA)

The reality star rose to fame after appearing on Ex on The Beach in 2015, and then went on to feature in five series of The Only Way Is Essex.

She has also competed on Celebrity Big Brother and appeared on Celebs Go Dating.

After she left TOWIE she has forged a career as a country singer.


Olivia Olson

Now: Actress Olivia Olson attends the Adventure Time Cartoon Network Press Hour at New York Comic Con 2015 at the Jacob Javitz Center on October 9, 2015 in New York, United States. 25749_002 531.JPG (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images For Turner)

The actress is best known for playing the role of Joanna in Love Actually in 2003, where she was the love interest of Thomas Brodie-Sangster's character Sam and sang a version of Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You.

Olson left the spotlight while she finished school but has lent her voice to the characters of Vanessa Doofenshmirtz in Phineas and Ferb and Marceline the Vampire Queen in Adventure Time.

She reprised her role of Joanna for the Comic Relief special Red Nose Day Actually in 2017 and released an album in 2018.


Kevin McHale

Kevin McHale attends the TV Choice Awards 2015 at Hilton Park Lane on September 7, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The US star is best known for playing wheelchair-bound Artie Abrams in the hit series Glee, starring opposite Lea Michele and Corey Monteith.

His first foray into music was in pop boy band NTL, who opened for The Pussycat Dolls on tour.

From 2014 to 2016 he hosted the British panel show Virtually Famous on E4 and has released solo EPs.


Hayley Hasselhoff

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 08: Hayley Hasselhoff attends the GYM Capsule Collection at Marina Rinaldi Boutique on July 08, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Max Mara)

The daughter of Baywatch star David Hasselhoff and Pamela Bach, Hasselhoff has found success as a plus-sized model.

In 2010 she landed the leading role in TV series Huge and also featured in her family's reality TV series The Hasselhoffs.

She has modelled since the age of 14 and recently released a plus-sized clothing collection in the UK and features as ITV's This Morning's fashion expert around body positivity.



The Islanders

Samira Mighty (ITV)

Former Love Island stars Samira Mighty, Zara McDermott, Wes Nelson and Eyal Booker all found fame in 2018 on the fourth series of the ITV2 show.

Since leaving the villa, Nelson competed on Dancing On Ice, reaching the final earlier this year, Booker has appeared on Celebs Go Dating and Mighty has performed in the West End, while McDermott has worked on a number of projects that help engage young people into politics.


Max & Harvey

Max and Harvey Mills (R) arrive for the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards Slime Soiree, March 22, 2019 at the Wave House in Venice, California. (Photo by Nick Agro / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICK AGRO/AFP/Getty Images)

Twin brothers Max and Harvey Mills, 16, first came to prominence on the social app in March 2016.

They have released numerous original songs, toured and have been the subject of a CBBC documentary, My Life: Max & Harvey, which gave fans an inside look into their lives and career.

They now have their own show on CBBC, Max and Harvey: FOMO, and have published a book about their lives.


Try Star

Thom Evans

This trio is made up of rugby stars Thom Evans, Ben Foden and Levi Davis.

Evans is a former Scottish international rugby union player and model, although his rugby career was cut short due to a serious neck injury, Davis represented England internationally at under 18 and under 19s level, and now plays for Bath United, while Foden plays for Rugby United New York and has also played for England internationally.

Evans and Foden have also made headlines for their romantic lives, with Evans previously dating Kelly Brook, while Foden used to be married to singer Una Healy.


Cole and Edwards

Brendan Cole at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2017 at Broadcasting House in London (PA)

Former Strictly Come Dancing professional Brendan Cole and actor Jeremy Edwards have been friends for more than ten years.

Cole was a professional on the BBC flagship show was 15 years and has since appeared as a judge on New Zealand's Dancing with the Stars and as a guest judge on Britain's Next Top Model.

Edwards is best known for playing heartthrob Kurt Benson in Hollyoaks until 199 and then playing Danny Shaughnessy in Holby City.

More recently he has starred in the CBBC series Millie Inbetween.



The girl group is made up of social media influencers Sofia, Alondra, Laura, Wendii and Natalie, who all hail from South America.

They have a combined social media following of 11 million followers, with more than 250 million channel views on YouTube.

The X Factor: Celebrity, hosted by Dermot O'Leary, is coming soon to ITV.

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