Wednesday 19 September 2018

'It would be selfish for me to want that' - X Factor star Brenda Edwards says talent show shouldn't be axed

Former X Factor star Brenda Edwards currently appearing in Hairspray the Musical in Dublin

Brenda Edwards in Hairspray
Brenda Edwards in Hairspray
The Hairspray cast
Brenda Edwards in Hairspray
Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

X Factor star Brenda Edwards has rejected suggestions by some of the show's former stars that the ailing talent show should be axed.

The show has struggled with declining viewership in recent years leading to suggestion ITV could decide to axe it when its contract expires next year.

But Brenda - who came fourth while being mentored by Sharon Osbourne in 2005 - says the show still provides a platform for those who want to work in the music industry.

"I don't really think it should (finish). X Factor gave me a platform and I think it would be selfish of me to want it to finish and take that opportunity away from someone else", she told Independent.ie.

However she said the show should focus on those who can sing, and not exploiting those who clearly can't.

"I don't like when they take people who can't sing and make them the object of ridicule. I think it should focus on people who can really sing", she added.

The Hairspray cast
The Hairspray cast

Brenda has enjoyed a successful West End career since her stint on X Factor - playing starring roles in such hit shows as Chicago and We Will Rock You.

She is currently appearing in Dublin at Hairspray the Musical in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre.

The show opened to a thunderous ovation on Monday night - but Brenda reveals the love is mutual.

"The Irish audiences are just the best, they're not afraid to really get into it and laugh and sing along - we even have people up in their seats dancing," she said.

Brenda Edwards in Hairspray
Brenda Edwards in Hairspray

"It's really nice when people get into the show and really enjoy it, I even got an ovation during my last song which was amazing."

Hairspray is set in 1960s Baltimore and tells the story of Tracy Turnblad who wants to follow her dreams and make it onto national TV.

While the show is very much a feel-good spectacular, it does focus on serious themes of racism and body-shaming.

"The themes are unfortunately still as relevant today," Brenda explains. 

"It's all about equality and the battle for equality. That's what I love about musical theatre, it's for everybody from all walks of life. If we can change one person's mind or make them change how they treat others that's an amazing achievement."

A movie version of the show was released in 2007 starring Zac Efron, Queen Latifah, John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer.

While many may have seen the movie, Brenda says the stage show is a completely different experience. 

"The stage show is so much more electric than the movie. We interact with the audience, they very much play a role during the show. You just don't get that on TV, you don't get to be a part of the show like you do in person."

Hairspray continues its run in Dublin tonight and for two shows on Saturday. Tickets are still available to purchase by clicking here.

Signed copies of Brenda's solo album are available by visiting her official website.

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