Saturday 16 December 2017

Ireland's own Janet tipped for greatness in 'X Factor'

Teenager wows millions of viewers -- and the judges -- but has shown star promise from any early age, writes Niamh Horan

VOICE OF AN ANGEL: Janet Devlin when she won the 'Stars In Your Eyes' talent competition
VOICE OF AN ANGEL: Janet Devlin when she won the 'Stars In Your Eyes' talent competition

VOICE OF AN ANGEL: Janet Devlin when she won the 'Stars In Your Eyes' talent competition

SHE wowed millions of viewers with her stunning X Factor debut this weekend and has been tipped to win the competition for Ireland for the first time.

But today we reveal the moment Irish singing sensation Janet Devlin got her first taste of stardom.

Wide-eyed and innocent, the shy teenager dazzled the crowd in her hometown of Omagh last March when she scooped the top prize at a Stars In Your Eyes talent competition.

Dressed in a full-length turquoise and diamante dress, she unleashed the voice that has bowled over the X Factor judges on the public for the first time.

Now her proud father, local schoolteacher Aquinas Devlin, has revealed how the 16-year-old schoolgirl is actually a humble busker who sings on the streets of Omagh.

And he explains how she has been thrilling audiences long before she stole the show with her version of Ellie Goulding's Your Song.

As Aquinas explained this weekend: "I was pretty confident that she wouldn't let herself down. She's been singing since she was six or seven," he said.

"Her mother and youngest brother Aaron went over with her for the auditions. But I couldn't go as I had work commitments, but we were ecstatic when we heard.

"She a hard worker and I hear she's up at 6am practicing and rehearsing at the moment."

Her father described her as an A-grade student but said music was her true passion.

"She's quite academic. She took her English Literature exam six months early and got an A.

"But outside school it's just singing all the way. She has even turned the living room into a sort of recording studio.

"It's there she does all her singing and recording and uploading to YouTube."

The father-of-four firmly believes that Janet's diehard commitment to her passion will help her stand out against the thousands of other X Factor hopefuls.

As he explained: "I think people will be impressed in her commitment in everything she does.

"She's taken part in loads of competitions -- she's a winner and she's a trier -- and I hope people will see that in her.

"It would be great for people to get behind her."

The Co Tyrone singer conquered her nerves to put in the performance of a lifetime last night, which earned her a standing ovation and high praise from the hit show's newly crowned Mr Nasty, Gary Barlow.

And show sources say the Take That star has already tipped the talented GCSE student as an early favourite to clinch the X Factor crown.

Former Destiny's Child star Kelly Rowland gushed: "I'm completely in a trance. You could hear a pin drop in here. You are a huge star babe. What a wonderful audition."

Last night millions of viewers tuned in to see the country teenager from Gortin be bestowed the title of "best singer" by X Factor judge Tulisa.

Anxious mammy Patricia waited nervously in the wings, as her only daughter blew Gary, Louis and Tulisa away with her breathtaking audition that reduced Rowland to tears.

She went on to receive a standing ovation from the 4,000-strong audience, and sailing through to the next round.

Asked where her captivating gift comes from, her father replied: "I'm not sure, but my grandfather -- Janet's great grandfather -- James Devlin was a singer.

"He was more of a folk singer and was pretty well known around these parts."

Sources have also told of how the rising star, who attends the Castlederg Much Ado Drama School, was busking the week before her grade five exam in musical theatre in June so had to work that little bit harder.

But the talented teen then went on to pass the exam with a score of 90 per cent -- a high distinction.

Sources say the X Factor favourite is studying drama for her GCSEs and she has an "unassuming and quiet confidence" that makes her well-liked.

A show source explained: "She's not arrogant. She just gets on with it and makes the best of her talent.

"We won't have any problems with her as she gets bigger. She'll be very popular among the viewers because as well as having a show-stopping talent, she will keep her feet firmly on the ground."

Sunday Independent

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