IT’S a very happy Monday morning for Cheadle Hulme stage star Nicola Dawn, who is celebrating after reaching The X Factor live finals.
She is a member of The Unconventionals – currently 8-1 to win the ITV1 series. They were put through to the final 12 by mentor Louis Walsh at his base for the groups’ semi-final – Dromoland Castle in Ireland.
But Nicola, 33, pictured top left in this group photo, is no stranger to showbusiness.
The Cheshire performer played showgirl Lola in a West End production of Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, which also ran for six weeks at Manchester’s Palace Theatre. That’s her on the right of the image below, next to Barry and her co-star Gary Wilmot.
A former pupil of Cheadle Hulme High School, she’s appeared in Fame, The Sound of Music, Chess, Hair, Aspects of Love and Cirque De Soleil at the Trafford Centre.
Now working in promotions, The X Factor hopeful is one of six members of the group, formed just a few months ago.
Nicola is currently living with boyfriend and fellow band member Tom Newman – he was the only member who was unknown to most of the group.
Lead singer Drew Jaymson, 41, decided to form a band that didn’t visibly conform to what every other group looks like. Before The X Factor, they had sung at just one gig.
Drew – the one in floods of tears on Saturday night – works as an usher at the London Palladium, where another member of The Unconventionals, Andrew Newey, 38, is in front of house sales.
Nicola and her friend Lucy Newton, 25, knew Drew from their time working on the Boy George musical Taboo.
Singer and actress Nicola, who uses a stage name, has been encouraged throughout her career by parents Colin and Valerie Brook.
Nicola is pictured left helping boost the MEN Tsunami Appeal by singing a 20-minute set of “Songs From The Shows” at a 2005 gala town hall dinner organised by the Manchester Tsunami Committee.
“I got the acting bug when I was eight and I’ve been on stage ever since,” she says. “It’s been my dream to have a showbusiness career.”
Her first professional role came at the age of 12 in a TV film with Twiggy and The Who’s Roger Daltrey.
She’s also been Miranda Richardson’s singing voice in the film Sleepy Hollow and performed in Fame to 16,000-strong audiences in Sweden.
Latest odds to win The X Factor:
Ashley McKenzie: 5-1 / Leona Lewis: 11-2 / Ben Mills: 11-2 / Ray Quinn: 6-1 / Kerry McGregor: 6-1 / Nikitta: 8-1 / The Unconventionals: 8-1 / 4Sure: 10-1 / Robert Allen: 12-1 / The MacDonald Brothers: 12-1 / Eton Road: 16-1 / Dionne Mitchell: 20-1.