X Factor dream comes true for Claire and Jessica

A TALENT show fanatic hit the right notes when she followed in the X Factor footsteps of Wagner and Cher Lloyd by singing on the hit TV show’s stage.

Claire Crookes (41) was ecstatic when she won an ITV competition for two VIP passes to the live show at the weekend.

And not content with sitting in the audience,  Claire volunteered to get on stage in front of 400 people during a commercial break on Saturday’s programme, to perform Neil Sedaka’s Oh Carol.

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Claire, of Watson Glen, Kimberworth, took her daughter Jessica (20), with her and said that she would remember the experience forever.

“I had a bit of wine and just thought I might as well go for it,” she said.

“I’m not a professional singer or anything, but I love that song and knew all the words so thought, why not?

“It was just amazing, everybody gave me a cheer and even bands like The Wanted were coming up to me afterwards saying I was fantastic.

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“Not many people can say they have sung on the X Factor stage–now I can and I will remember it for the rest of my life.”

Claire won the trip after answering a competition run by ITV’s This Morning show.

Her prize included £200 spending money, a two-night stay at a four-star London hotel and VIP tickets to Friday’s soundcheck and Saturday’s live show.

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Claire and Jessica’s first experience inside the X Factor studio was at the soundcheck, when contestants practised their performances ahead of the live show.

“The studio was amazing, and is much smaller than you see on the television,” Claire said.

“We were both a bit star-struck at first but got to know everyone quite well.

“We saw the judges, but only got to talk to Dannii Minogue.

“She was just gorgeous and so down to earth. She was talking about her little boy.

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“We got to talk to all the contestants, too. One Direction were really nice. They were so friendly it was like they were our neighbours.

“Cher and Katie were a real laugh as well.”

Claire described her prize as being a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“There was a chauffeur to drive us around and we also had our hair and make-up done, it was amazing,” she said.

“Jessica said she felt like Cinderella going to the ball.

“It was like we were part of the show, in fact we were so chatty with everyone, many people thought we worked on set.

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“I want all Rotherham people to know that normal people do win competitions like this.

“We are both huge fans of the show but we can’t choose a favourite now because we feel like we know them all.”

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