Not every applicant of X-Factor has just rolled out of bed, practiced in their room and then turned up, ready to conquer the global stage. Unknown to the general public, many unsigned stars find their niche through other undetected organisations (and I don’t mean Karaoke at The Nag’s Head).
These competition-based organisations, growing rapidly behind X-Factor’s limelight, are unreasonably labelled “small-time”, yet with over 10,000 applicants every cycle, both TeenStar and Open Mic UK keep pumping out artists destined for the red carpet.
Luke Friend, current X-Factor finalist and tipped by Miss Dynamix as the underdog to win, previously experienced stardom only weeks before entering for X-Factor as the winner of TeenStar. Luke explains that participating in TeenStar “helps you gain confidence, connect with an audience, and build up your emotive process in a song” – all features of which have proven to be extremely beneficial to his subsequent venture with X-Factor.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, Birdy (2008’s winner of Open Mic UK) explains that “it wasn’t until Open Mic UK that I thought I was good enough”, later describing this competition as a real “confidence boost”. Now enjoying number one positions throughout the globe, Birdy has come a long way since 2008 and is a testament to Open Mic UK’s talent-spotting ability.
Since TeenStar and Open Mic UK are constantly churning out hopeful talent, attracting thousands of applicants and harnessing an experienced judging panel, it is clear they have a different approach to X-Factor that continues to attract growing numbers of participants. Throughout the X-Factor process, inevitable restraint of artistic freedom, the unsurprising influx of well-known covers and a select few songs for the hopefuls to choose from, seems to hold the performers back. TeenStar and Open Mic UK on the other hand, offer a fresh, free and unrestricting approach to the stage. Allowing all applicants to impress the judges by whatever means they choose, each and every time.
In a market that appears saturated by the same-old songs, generic melodies and a shallow focus on superficial presentation, TeenStar and Open Mic UK might be what aspiring and original performers are looking for.
With over 5 years of growing success, Open Mic UK introduces its fresh partner TeenStar to the scene, already receiving 9000 competitors in the first year. While Open Mic UK hosts the final in London O2 in January, its younger sibling TeenStar will begin taking in applicants for 2014. Meaning a healthy competition is never too far away.