Ben Haenow has made it through to the X Factor’s live shows after being one of the only acts to impress judge Simon Cowell at the Judges’ Houses on Saturday.
The 29-year-old van driver persuaded Cowell and, guest judge, American singer Sinitta to put him through to the finals with a powerful rendition of the Beatles’ A little help from my friends.
Last one to perform after the other six over-25s acts, who left the judges a little disappointed, Haenow got Cowell giving him the thumbs-up and Sinitta laughing and applauding.
Haenow smiled and thanked them, while notoriously difficult Cowell nodded at him and told him: “Well done”.
Sinitta later commented: “Oh my God, and he’s cute, really cute. Does he bring that every time?”
Cowell replied: “Everytime, everytime. He can sing soul, he can sing rock…”
However, Cowell also added: “Here’s the problem. He has picked up a lot of bad habits along the way and he kind of fools around a bit too much.”
A shaken Haenow said after the performance: “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. My heart is going ten to the dozen here.”
Before he knew that Cowell had chosen him as one of his three finalists, Haenow commented: “I don’t feel overly confident about this, it was really nerve-wrecking. To see there’s six of us and everyone is so talented.”
About the other performances at the Judges’ Houses, Cowell said: “What is interesting is that some people that I thought were going to do well just crashed and burnt. And then a couple of people absolutely surprised me.”
X Factor live shows will air on ITV1 on Saturday and Sunday October 11-12 from 7.30pm, where we will find out if Haenow has got what it takes to go all the way.
You can watch Haenow’s performance at the Judges’ Houses here.