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The hard working team behind the X Factor

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    Posted: 12 Nov 2010 at 10:13

Meet the REAL experts behind The X Factor who, day in, day out, deal with tantrums, tears... and Cher's obsession with her eyebrows

It is the most talked about TV show, with every judge’s decision and contestant’s strop dissected. But what’s life really like in the X Factor bubble?

Sunday 5.30pm

Treyc Cohen is about to be turfed off, but work has already begun on next week’s show. Judges are given a list of songs to choose from, then they brief choreographer Brian Friedman about their ‘vision’ of the chosen song.

‘Simon Cowell will say “I want it to be a big dance number” ’ says Brian. ‘Louis Walsh often says: “Go all the way Brian, make it big.” ’

On stage, the contestants are all smiles and best of friends. but back at home, a secluded £3.5million Spanish-style mansion in Arkley, near Barnet, Wagner is driving the house mad. He gets up at 5am to ­practise his martial arts. He also sings extremely loudly.

Several rivals refuse to talk to Katie Waissel, fed up with her drama-queen antics. There is also a generational divide. Mary Byrne misses her home comforts while the younger ones, One Direction and Cher Lloyd, see it as one big party. No wonder Mary was off form last weekend. She complains of being kept up by the noise.


Move your body: The week begins with the choice of the contestant's song before choreographer Brian Friedman, seen here with Cher, talks the singers through their dance moves

Monday 9am

The contestants are working on their songs with vocal coach Savan Kotecha.

‘We’ll go through the songs, then they might go to choreography then back to singing,’ says Savan. ‘Mondays are for experimenting. The judges will call to say: “Let’s try this song. Will that work?”

‘We all give our opinion, but the final word is with the judges and the contestants.’

Tuesday 8.30am


Styling the future stars: X Factor stylist Grace Woodward roots around in the massive wardrobe for the show

Brian has only about 15 to 30 minutes with each contestant to teach them the routines. Then, at 1pm, the creative heads meet and Brian takes them through ideas for each performance.

Style director Grace Woodward briefs her team of five stylists on what looks they need to find — as well as selecting close to 400 items of clothing for every weekend.

‘You have to have so many options,’ she says. ‘You can turn up with oodles of designer clothes, but ­contestants mostly say “Ooh, I don’t like the colour”, or “It’s just not me”.

‘I was brought in because the ­producers wanted the show to be more high fashion. When they offered me the job, I told them people might not like what I do, but they said: “Great! We don’t like boring or banal”.’

Rebecca Ferguson is the designers’ favourite and has her pick of £5,000 dresses. She has also been offered a modelling contract.

‘I’ve burnt Matt’s hat. There’s a more interesting guy under it. When he took it off, he looked so vulnerable,’ says Grace.

M & S has offered to dress Mary. ‘She’d be a great ambassador for the company,’ says Grace. ‘Mary is a delight to dress. While Paije Richardson spends a lot of time in our “glam van” - a converted articulated lorry in the ­studio car park.’


Wednesday 8.30am


Bold: Designers' favourite Rebecca Ferguson is slowly coming out of her shell, according to her make up artists

Head make-up artist Liz Martins and her team are working on looks. Although it’s Liz’s first year on the show, she knows Cheryl Cole from working with Girls Aloud for five years. ‘All the boys are aware of wanting to look good. If they are feeling tired, they will be the first to ask for the eye drops. I think they like that ­special bit of attention,’ says Liz.

‘Every weekend, we get through at least six sticks of eyeliner and countless cans of body make-up. There is a fake tan tent on site, but I’m trying to wean them all off it. Belle Amie learned the hard way as they were slightly too orange.

‘Cher is very involved in what she wants to look like. People have been harsh about her eyebrows, but we’re trying to grow them back.

‘Rebecca’s shy, but she’s embraced things like the cherry-black lips.’

Thursday 9am

Judges and contestants get together at the X Factor studio in Wembley, North London, for rehearsals and sound checks. It’s the first time the judges see the music with the performances.

‘My job is to make sure everyone is singing properly and not damaging their voices,’ says Savan, who has written for Britney Spears as well as Leona Lewis.

‘I give them ideas on putting ­emotion into it. I also teach them how to hit the notes, stay in tune and breathe properly.

‘I’m not sure who will win, but I would compare Rebecca to Leona. She’s a really cool girl with a fun sense of humour. I also think Cher will be a big star. Her musical instincts are so on the money and she has a natural ability.

‘Matt also has something, along with an unbelievable range, while Aiden Grimshaw can make any song his own. Wagner has the most trouble learning the lyrics, as English isn’t his first language. But he always remembers it by showtime.’

Friday 9am

Back at the X Factor studios contestants and dancers learn their positions on stage. Cameras are ­choreographed to follow them. Brian Friedman is a former dancer for Michael Jackson and Beyonce. He has worked on The X Factor for three years. ‘I’m more concerned that they look comfortable on stage rather than giving them a bunch of dance steps they don’t need,’ says Brian. ‘Cher is one of the best dancers, she listens to everything you say — but she’s very sure of what she wants. Aiden is trying to make his act individual.

‘Matt is not a dancer — he gets all coy when we do the group rehearsals. Mary has bad knees, and Wagner is often on a different beat.’


That's quite a transformation: Before she was booted out, Treyc, pictured, would be made up by artists for the show

 Saturday 8am

‘The make-up team are the first people the contestants see on a ­Saturday — and the last before they go on stage,’ says Liz Martins. ‘I feel like their surrogate mum.

 ‘Katie needs the most reassurance. I have to look into her eyes and say, “you can do this”. Before she goes on stage I give her a little kiss on the hand.

‘When they arrive at the studios, they get a ten-minute face massage before we start — and One Direction are ­usually the first bums on seats.’

At 5.30pm there is a meeting in Simon’s suite (‘very plush and smells very nice,’ says Grace) where he makes his final decisions — a few tweaks or a complete change, leading to some very heated arguments.

Liz says: ‘On week two, Cheryl and I had decided to give Cher a natural look, but then the Lord and Master Up Above said he wanted her edge back; so we gave her silver-lined eyes and an orange mouth.’

Grace admits she has to stand her ground. ‘One week I had Rebecca in a hat and Simon said: “The hat’s a no no”.

‘There is always a decision for me whether to let it stand or fight back. He said the hat would not work because of camera angles so I conceded for technical reasons.

‘But when it came to an argument over Matt Cardle in a tight black John Smedley shirt, I won. Simon thought Matt should be in a white shirt, but I argued that the black allowed us to see his fabulous ­muscles.

‘Sometimes if I explain something to Simon he gets it.’

• The X Factor is on ITV 1 tomorrow at 8pm.


Here come the girls: X Factor contestants including Cher, left, Katie, centre and Rebecca are in a bubble until they get kicked off the show


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1328961/X-FACTOR-2010-A-week-life-REAL-experts-show.html#ixzz153t8BigR
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