SHAUN Rogerson’s X Factor journey ended in tears last night as he just failed to make the live finals.
The trembling teenager from Abram, Wigan, admitted he had doubts about whether he could conquer his nerves if picked for the ITV1 Saturday night shows.
And in the end, his sweaty palms told their own story as mentor Simon Cowell decided he just could not take the risk.
But at 17, young Shaun has time on his side. He’s vowed to keep on singing – and could try again next year.
Viewers saw The X Factor contestants reduced to 12 as judges Simon, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh took the 24 semi-finalists to three separate locations.
Simon – in charge of the 16-24 category – was based in a Miami mansion, rented for the filming.
Millions had already seen shaking Shaun struggle with his nerves earlier in the series as he attempted to follow in the footsteps on last year’s winner – Manchester’s Shayne Ward.
“I want to prove to myself and Simon and everybody out there that I can do it, because I haven’t sung a song all the way through, and I haven’t proved my potential,” he said.
“So, hopefully, I’ll be able to prove to myself and everybody that I have got what it takes and that I deserve to be here.”
There was a big smile as Shaun sang Michael Jackson’s Ben, but he was shaking again at the end and rubbing those sweaty palms.
“I could have done a lot better but, you know, it’s hard,” he said afterwards. “To stand up in front of Simon, it just goes wrong. It’s like – give me a break.”
And in an emotional outburst, a clearly frustrated Shaun added: “My mum said, if I do my best of my ability and I don’t get through, nobody’s going to be disappointed with me. They love me whatever happens.
“But I always feel I’m letting people down. It’s hard. I just feel like I’ve let everybody down. I just want to show the best of my ability and I’m not showing it and it’s aggravating.
“I keep building myself up and thinking – right, I’m ready, I’m ready. And then to go out and just screw it all up, it’s so hard.”
Simon’s verdict? “He is the weakest singer by far out of the eight. And yet he’s the one you want to root for.”
In the end, it came down to a decision between Shaun and Ray Quinn, 18, from Liverpool.
Simon asked: “What does it mean to you?” Shaun replied: “You know, it means a lot.”
Simon: “Could you genuinely believe that you could walk in front of that audience and sing week after week after week?”
Shaun: “I feel that I can – but then I will still have doubts. I’m going to be honest with you.”
Simon: “Based on the decision on how I believe you could cope in the final stages of this competition, my decision is – I’m going to say no. I’m really sorry.”
I’ve met Simon several times and – contrary to his Mr Nasty TV image – he’s a very honest and decent human being.
You could see that again last night in the way he dealt with the winners…and losers. Shaun got a big hug from Simon and consoling words: “You were great. Great.”
The arrival home of the semi-finalists is always a highlight of every X Factor series – the joy of those chosen and the tears and sadness of those who have fallen at the final hurdle.
Shaun’s mum Joanne waited anxiously for her son’s return and news of his fate. “Can you believe it? To tell you the truth, he’s just a little small time little boy in a small time town. Someone like Simon Cowell believing in him and giving him this opportunity has done him the world of good.”
A disappointed Shaun didn’t waste time when he walked into the room, announcing: “I didn’t get through.”
Tears later flowed on the sofa, with Shaun, who also has ambitions to be a chef, flanked by dad Gary and Joanne. She told him: “I still love you. I’m so proud of you.”
Simon’s 16-24-year-olds are Nikitta Angus, 17, from Glasgow, Leona Lewis, 21, from London, Ashley McKenzie, 20, from Croydon and Ray Quinn, 18, from Liverpool.
Sharon’s over-25s are Robert Allen, 27, from Essex, Ben Mills, 26, from Kent, Dionne Mitchell, 26, from London and Kerry McGregor, 31, from West Lothian.
Louis’s groups are 4Sure, from Wolverhampton, Eton Road, from Liverpool, The MacDonald Brothers, from Ayr, and The Unconventionals, from Sussex, Hull, Kent, Oxford, Scotland – and also including Cheshire-born and raised Nicola Dawn, 33.
The live finals begin next Saturday at 5.50pm with a marathon two-hour ITV1 show, featuring a guest appearance by Lionel Richie.
The result of the public vote follows at 9.10pm – revealing the name of the first act to leave.
A total of 100,000 people entered The X Factor this year for the chance to win a £1m recording contract.
Having made it as far as the final 24, Shaun should put those nerves behind him – and be very proud of himself.
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