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Imelda to conquer US with top TV dates

DUBLIN rockabilly star Imelda May has lined up new dates with Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien.

The Liberties-born star has now set her sights on conquering America with a little help from her famous friends.

She has decided to temporarily relocate to the States this autumn in an effort to become a household name there.

"We're going back to America in October," she said. "Conan O'Brien asked us back and Jay Leno asked us back. We just heard today that we got into the top 20 for the Triple-A radio station which is a very big deal so to get on that is great so, touch wood, it's all going great."

The star, who performed for Barack Obama last May, has been busy promoting the release of her album Mayhem in the States.

And while the rest of the nation may be transfixed by the TV programme, the crooner has lashed out at shows like The X Factor.

The star, who writes all her own music, said that it's not the best platform for emerging talent and said she didn't watch the programme.

"I think The X Factor is a TV show, as opposed to a music show and I think it makes for very strange TV," she explained. "I would worry if any of my nieces or nephews went into it, they would be swallowed up and spat out. An awful lot of people who go in there and are very talented are dropped because they don't have a big sob story. It's very strange, there have been very few success stories from the show."

She said that it also puts undue pressure on Irish parents who want to help support their children's dreams.

"Kids are coming up to me now and because they've grown up with the show, they think that's the only way to do it.

"It's either that or go to stage schools even and you hear parents saying 'we've remortgaged the house.' But if someone really wants to get into music and that's where their heart is about, they will do it anyway."

She said that's why she found the Rose of Tralee festival so refreshing.

"I love that it's not about celebrity, or money or the fame game. It's about people having a great day, having a job and talking about their lives and just having a ball. I think it's so lovely," she said.

This week saw her performing her new single Road Runner at the festival dome. The song will be released as part of a special edition version of her album More Mayhem next month.