Despite the short-lived tenure of X Factor-themed musical 'I Can't Sing!' at the London Palladium, former X Factor contestants themselves have not shyed away from treading the boards in Theatreland.
Harry Hill and Steven Brown's musical comedy, which was jointly produced by Stage Entertainment and Simon Cowell's company Syco Entertainment (and even featured Olivier Award winner Nigel Harman as the music mogul himself), officially opened on 26 March 2014 only to close abruptly on 10 May 2014. But Mr. Cowell has undoubtedly given many youngsters over the years a popular platform to show off their talents and without an X Factor career behind them, they would probably not be in contention for leading roles in the West End.
This month marks the West End debuts of two former X Factor contestants. Firstly, X Factor 2010 winner Matt Cardle joined the Queen of British Soul (and Olivier nominee) Beverley Knight in the Tony Award-winning musical Memphis at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 6 July. He took over the role of Huey Calhoun from Killian Donnelly and will remain with the production until it closes on 31 October 2015.
We all know that Matt is a talented singer and it will be very interesting to see him putting on that Tennessee accent and flexing his acting chops on a nightly basis!
Later on in the month, Amelia Lily will also follow suit. She finished in third place during the 2011 series of The X Factor, recently played the role of the Narrator on a UK tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and is now gearing up for her West End debut as 'Whatshername' in Green Day's American Idiot at the Arts Theatre from 17 July through to 27 September 2015.
Her pop-rock image is a perfect fit for Green Day's Grammy Award-winning musical and the Arts Theatre will surely provide a unique, intimate and uncompromisingly punk rock-esque environment for the show.
Over the years, there have also been strong West End outings from the likes of 2008 winner Alexandra Burke (in The Bodyguard) and 2005 winner Shayne Ward (in Rock of Ages) and also from former 'Pop Idol' contestants such as Will Young (in Cabaret) and Gareth Gates (in Les Misérables and Joseph), and I'm sure this will be a trend that continues way into the future. As long as young audiences thirst for The X Factor and Reality TV, its knock-on effect will also be felt in the West End... Theatre purists will just have to face the music!