LAURA White was already looking to the future when I spoke to her at a London press conference this morning.
Less than 12 hours after one of the biggest shocks in X Factor history, she arrived on her own.
Walking into the building to sit and wait in reception with the assembled media.
Before we began the Q&A, Laura insisted on shaking everyone’s hand.
And then went on to give possibly the most accomplished and level-headed press conferences I’ve ever seen given by a 21-year-old.
Especially one left stunned and in tears the night before by her unexpected exit from the series.
It is, of course, only a TV show…not a matter of life and death.
But there’s so much I could write about the events of Saturday night.
Instead – aside from the story here in tomorrow’s (Mon) MEN – I thought fans might simply want to read Laura’s account in full.
And perhaps listen to several audio files of her talking – they’re at the bottom of this blog.
That’s my photo of her at this morning’s relaxed press conference.
As you can see, she was smiling and upbeat.
And this is my full transcript of what she had to say.
Apologies for the length and some of the dafter questions from the select gathering.
But I think it’s worth reading for all sorts of reasons.
Including Laura’s comments on the show, the judges and the other finalists:
How are you feeling this morning?
“Goodness me. You know, obviously I’m really, really sad about leaving the show and everything. I’ve enjoyed every single moment of it. It really, really changed my life. So I’m really sad to go but I feel like I have proved myself well musically, so I feel I’ve left on a good note rather than a low note.”
Were you happy with your final performances?
“I was, yeah. I loved every one of my performances and I felt that I did show my talent and everything and I was happy that I showed my musician side before I left. So I was really happy, yeah I was.”
Were you actually playing the piano last night?
“I was actually playing, yeah, I was. And it was so nice just to show that I could do other things and I really found that the show’s given me a really good grounding because I was a songwriter before this and my own song went number one and everything as well, so it’s helped me in more ways than one.”
Looking back, was it the right move to play the piano?
“Yeah. It was definitely risky. It was a big risk because it was double the pressure in a way. But I don’t regret it and I really really enjoyed my performance, I did. I loved it.”
Simon said you weren’t one of the worst two, but you ended up in the bottom two. Do you feel the same way?
“I do rate myself as an artist and I believed in myself and I am sad to go on week five. It seems like it is very early for me to go. But the talent this year is so high and it was just obviously my place to go and that’s what God intended, so that’s the way I work.”
Do you think Simon and Louis voted tactically to remove you as a threat to their acts?
“Do you know, a few people said that. But I’m not sure. I really do admire all the judges because they’ve all achieved so much in their lives and I do admire them. Louis has made his decision for whatever reason, so I’ve just to cope with that and deal with that.”
Who do you think should have gone out last night?
“I think it’s God’s will. I think I should have gone because I went and that’s the way it works. I honestly think the talent was so high, I think every week is going to be a shocker of a week, so I don’t mind.”
Cheryl was clearly gutted. What did she say to you?
“Yeah, yeah. Cheryl was really angry last night. She definitely feels like…she doesn’t know if it was a personal thing off Louis or what. But I think she’s really upset because she really feels like I was one of the strongest singers and she feels robbed in a way. But I’m not going to get het up about it. From day one I said I just wanted to make the ‘lives’ and to be heard and that’s what I achieved. So I’m grateful for that.”
Did Cheryl have any advice for you?
“Yeah. At the moment, obviously it was only last night. So I’ve just kind of kept myself to myself at the minute. But I think we’re definitely going to be in talks and we’re going to just see what comes out of it and, hopefully, I’ll achieve my dream of getting signed in some way or another. That’s all I’ve wanted. I just want to get my music out there and that’s what’s important to me.”
Would you write a song for Girls Aloud?
“I’d love to write a song for Girls Aloud. My own music now, my own songs that I wrote myself, they’re out there now and that was another dream that I wanted – I wanted my own music to be heard and that’s what I got with the show, so it’s great.”
Did you or Cheryl think last night that there might have been an element that the public thought you were safe and therefore didn’t vote for you?
“A few people said that but I’m not sure. Maybe it was the position I was in the show, maybe it was my song choice, maybe it was the public didn’t quite get what I was. It could have been a lot of things. There’s so many different contestants this year with such a great fan base, like JLS have a massive fan base, girls love JLS. And it was a difficult competition. So I’m not sure what it is. But I’m still grateful that I still feel strongly for my music and I don’t feel disheartened with it.”
Are you worried that people may not get you and your music?
“To be honest, I think before the show I was more Laura White than I was on the show. I think maybe the show was slightly more in for X Factor than I actually was myself at the beginning. So maybe now, if I was lucky enough to get signed, maybe then I could really develop Laura White as myself.”
Who were the ones trying to make you less Laura White?
“To be honest, I don’t think anybody tried to make me less Laura White than I was. I think it was just a matter of each week you sing a different song for each genre and that’s what you go with each week and you can kind of lose your identity in a way. If you’re disco week, you’re doing disco. If you’re doing Mariah week, you’re doing Mariah stuff. And it’s difficult to keep who you are, you know. So that was probably one of my downfalls with the competition.”
Simon was implying that when he was talking about the image?
Do you think that was distracting you this week in rehearsals and things because you’re thinking about Simon and your image?
“Yeah, yeah. I felt there was a lot of stick, in a way, going on about it. And I was just like. ‘Talk about my music. That’s what I came to do.’ And I think a lot of it kind of got forgotten. And because the judges believed in me so much, they were looking at other things then, and it was ultimately one of my downfalls with that. So, yeah, it was difficult, it was.”
Were you annoyed that Louis didn’t let it go to the public vote? Did you speak to him about that?
“I didn’t speak to him. I think I was just that sad and disheartened with it all. It was hard for me because I knew that Louis had believed in me, as well, for a long time. I’ve been auditioned since April, and when you just get that – that you’re told, ‘No.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ It was shock.”
Were you angry with him?
“I’m not angry. I feel very sad about it and I feel frustrated musically. I feel like I had a lot more to give. I don’t think the public really saw what I was. They could tell I was a strong contestant but I don’t think they really really saw the real me and all the jazz. Like in Bootcamp, I was doing all the scatting and that’s what I was when I first started. So it’s difficult. But I’m hoping I’ll get another break in my life and I’ll be able to show the real me. That’s what I hope.”
Do you think Cheryl was the right mentor for you?
“You know, Cheryl was completely the right mentor for me. Musically she really understood me and she completely let me do whatever I wanted. She let me pick my songs every week, if I didn’t like something I wouldn’t wear it and she really really understood me as a friend as well as a mentor. So it was definitely the right thing for me.”
So did you not need a stronger hand like Simon?
“I think with Cheryl, we did sit and discuss. She did always say, ‘That will work, that won’t work.’ A lot of the time we were on the same wavelength and I’ve worked with music for a long time, like Cheryl has. So we’re kind of on the same thing. We understood each other well and I think it was a good balance and good relationship, what we had.”
Were you annoyed that Diana got a free pass to next week?
“Diana was my best friend from week one. If people are saying that, they shouldn’t say it. She was literally so, so poorly. So, no, I don’t think anything like that for a second. I’m hoping she’ll be fine for next week.”
Have you had the chance to speak to her since last night?
“Yeah, I have, last night. I opened the front door last night and she cried as soon as she saw me. And she said, ‘Laura, what am I going to do now without my best friend?’ We were so close from the judges’ houses when I first properly met Diana and it’s sad that I’m going back now and she’s going through it. But she’ll be fine. She’s a strong girl and she’ll do well.”
She’ll have Eoghan to comfort her?
“Yeah. There was always me, Diana and Eoghan, we were three best friends. And there’s nothing going on with Diana and Eoghan. It is so funny everyone saying…she loves her boyfriend. There’s nothing funny at all.”
Do you think the stories in the press about you and your boyfriend worked against you?
“I won’t lie. I did question that last night. When I got in I thought, ‘Maybe it’s the press and all that about my love life.’ Half of that was not true. I was never going out with somebody who was a TV executive anyway, he had no involvement in the show. And I’d only been seeing him for, like, four months anyway. So that’s why I never spoke out about it. And it’s private. I’m a private person, I feel like I’ve come on to this show to discuss my music and that’s what I came here for. And I hope that I’m still saying that in a few years’ time.”
Do you think a lot of sob stories are getting through as opposed to music talent?
“I think the show is, obviously, based on a lot of other things than talent. But I don’t think there’s any…people are made out this year to have sob stories but… I know Daniel’s been a victim of that. People have said Daniel’s been a victim of a sob story case. But I’ve heard Daniel in rehearsals and I wish people could really see what he is, because he is so talented and he’s there for his talent, rather than all the story about what he’s been through in his life. And I’m proud of him. I think he’ll do really well. I think he’ll surprise people, Daniel.”
Who are you backing to win?
“I think this year’s winners will be either Diana or JLS. That’s what I think.”
Who do you want to win?
“I’d love either Daniel or Diana to win.”
Are you really this nice?
“No, no.” (laughs) “I don’t feel angry. I feel like literally from day one, my dream was just to get to sing in front of Simon. Obviously you have to go through three auditions first and I just said, ‘As long as I can sing for Simon, that’s me sorted.’ Because I was a girl from Bolton who’d never been heard and that’s what my dream was. And I got to the ‘lives’. So I can’t feel bitter. I feel like I’ve got out there, my songs are out there, my piano was, I was. So I’m just hoping I’ll get a break now.”
How far did you think you’d get?
“I wanted to make the finals, like everybody does. But every weekend I thought, ‘It’s another week,’ and I made Big Band Week, which was my dream. I wanted to play with an orchestra, and that’s what I did.”
Are there any themes that you’ll miss coming up?
“The only theme that I know about was next week, was Best of British Week and me and Cheryl were going to do a jazz thing, we were going to do Put Your Records On. So that saddened me because I could finally see myself coming out with that and it would be great fun. But that’s the way it works.”
“That was just incredible and I got such an amazing comment. When I sang for her, she said. ‘I can’t give you notes.’ It was just incredible. And a part of me thought, ‘Well, if Mariah loved it, why did no-one else? And why didn’t they vote or whatever’ But I’m so grateful for the people that voted for me and I’ve had such a good support from when I’ve come out, so I’m grateful for that.”
Did Simon talk to you afterwards?
“To be honest, Simon spoke to me after every show and there’s no hard feelings. He’s been so, so supportive with me and he’s helped me in so many way and given such good advice. But yesterday I was literally, I was so upset because it was everything to me. So I was upstairs and I was talking to Dermot for a long time and then they rushed me in make-up and then I went with my family. I didn’t see anybody. I only saw Cheryl for a quick second. So that’s why. But I’m hoping, you know, that they’ll all be in touch and that I’ll hear from them. I don’t know if Simon will, because he’s so big…I don’t know, but, no, I’m really grateful because Simon really believed in me. He did.”
Did you stay at The X Factor house last night?
“I stayed at the house, I was there ‘til four in the morning and I spent all the night with the contestants. But then my mum actually came for me. It was just because I’m a real family girl and I missed home. And, to be honest, I really, really felt hurt last night and really sad, so my mum was there to comfort me.”
What about rumours that Mark Ronson wanted to sign you up and do some work on one of his tracks?
“I think where that rumour’s come from, just before The X Factor I was working on…I’ve never done girl band work before, but it was a project involving Mark Ronson and I was offered the job. So I was working in a girl band involving Mark for some time. Then this came along and I’ve always wanted to get my own songs and myself out there, so I took the solo path, which is what I ultimately want.”
Will you get back in contact with Mark now?
“I hope so. We weren’t close in any way, anyway, but if he’s watching, God, I’d kill to work with him, I would.”
Can you just clarify what you said about your mum at four this morning. Did you actually ring her up and ask her to come and get you?
“A lot of the people involved in the show said, ‘Would you prefer to be with your mum tonight?’ Because they knew I missed my family, and I’m not going to make a lie. I think people don’t realise, as well, before the show I did so much work in London and everything and I’ve spent so much of my life away from home. And I think this was definitely the hardest thing that I’ve ever done in my life and it definitely hit home. But, you know, I feel a stronger person now and any work I get out of this, I’m going to do it. I want to get my music out there, that’s what I’m so, so passionate about.”
What about your MySpace page?
“I did have a MySpace, and I was doing really, really well with it. I was number five in the unsigned MySpace chart before the show. But, obviously, I had to take that off because of the show and everything. So, hopefully, I want to get writing with people and I want to work with people and just make myself a stronger artist. I want to make myself be a star one day, that’s what I want to be.”
Will you get back out on the unsigned circuit?
“Yeah, yeah. And probably re-find myself and get any help that I can get. If anybody out there can help me in any way, or be of any advantage to helping me learn, I love to learn and I want to get as much experience in the business as I can and make something of myself.”
Any regrets about The X Factor?
“No. I feel like I’ve come a long way and I’m proud of myself and I’m grateful to all those that have helped me. So, no regrets. I don’t have regrets in my life, anyway.”
Would you do it again?
(Laughs) “Do you know, I thought this morning, ‘Shall I go for American Idol?’ Because I thought, maybe in America they do more the jazz thing. I don’t know. I think the show is a lot more difficult than people think. It’s a long time away from home, it takes a lot of mental strength to keep believing in yourself. With my case, I felt I had a lot of people who believed in me. But I always kind of felt…it was very overwhelming for me, all of it. I’m never going to give up my music and I’m going to go to every meeting, I’m going to go to every open mic, I’m going to just hammer my music now. But I don’t think I could do a TV show again. Probably not. Not a talent show, because it’s tough and I believe I’ve had that much exposure now anyway, I’m hoping I won’t need to.”
Do you think Simon would let you on American Idol?
“I think I’ve come a long way now with X Factor and I’m proud to be on the British one, to be honest.”
How long will it be before we see Rachel Hylton and Dannii Minogue actually wrestle?
“Do you know, Rachel…people look at her so different to how she is. She is, seriously, one of the sweetest, warmest girls that I’ve met while being here. And she gets a lot of grief. Her past is brought up so much but she’s serious and she’s talent. I think we’ve not seen the best of Rachel yet. I remember Rachel from Bootcamp. She went on and she just shone. Everybody stood up. They’d never seen nothing like it. I think you can only have certain people in your life who you meet that can do that. So I think we’ve all got to watch out for Rachel because she’ll come strong.”
Do you think she’s been held back by Dannii?
“I can’t criticise Dannii. Dannii’s been an absolutely wonderful mentor to all of them, I know she has. In rehearsals on a Sunday, she was the one that came and watched. Dannii’s been so supportive of me. I’ve got so much respect for Dannii, I have. No, I think they’ve just not yet found Rachel. And Rachel’s the kind of girl…she’s fiery, she goes in and she doesn’t seem to get her points across a lot of the time. So maybe she’ll eventually get her way and she’ll sing what she feels.”
Who is struggling the most being away from home?
“I think Daniel finds it hard because he’s got a baby and he’s really close with his mum, and everything, and little Diana is quite a long way away, like I was. But, to be honest, I think I struggled the most because I was just such a family girl and I love my family. That’s why I said last night, this thing, you can sit and think about it all day but I literally do have what’s real in my life still, and that’s my family. I’ll always have my family, so I’m grateful for that.”
You sang Somewhere Over The Rainbow for your grandfather? Her last song on the show.
“When I’d just got through my first audition, my grandad actually passed away. But I asked for nothing to be said because I didn’t want to make a thing of it and I didn’t want my grandma to be exposed with it all. So I just didn’t say anything. Last night, that was my grandad’s favourite song. I used to sing it in my gigs, when I did my gigs back home and that’s why I sang it. And I’m glad I did because I went out and I did it for my grandad, so I was grateful.”
So are you proud that you didn’t have to rely on any sob story to progress in the show?
“I don’t think anybody’s relied on a sob story, though. But I definitely went in, didn’t say nothing about my life, I just went in – a girl with a voice. And that’s what I hope I remain to be. That’s what I hope I’m remembered for.”
What are your immediate plans after your X Factor commitments?
“Goodness me. I’m just hoping that I get phone calls, that I get…my ultimate dream would be for someone to see me and to sign me. I’ve worked for years and years and years at this and I really thought X Factor could have been my thing, where I won it and got signed. And, you know, I’ve not won it and that is difficult for me to take in. But I’m just hoping someone sees me and they do sign me because I believe in myself and I know a lot of people out there believe, so…”
Are you looking forward to The X Factor live tour?
“I am, yeah. And they actually confirmed last night that I was on the live tour. So, yeah, it’s going to be great. It’ll be great to see all the contestants again and to really get out there and shine and play…one of my other dreams was to sing at the MEN Arena in Manchester and I know now I’ll do that in my life, so…”
Follow in the footsteps of Peter Kay?
“I love Peter Kay. I sang with Peter Kay when I was younger. When I was 17, I turned on the Bolton lights and he was performing and I was performing, so it was amazing. Yeah, he’s an inspiration to me, he is.”
Imagine you are one of the judges next week. Which act would you kick off?
“Do you know, honestly, I couldn’t say. I think the judges are really giving Daniel a hard time. I think if you watch back the performances from last night, Daniel was one of the strongest. His performance was…he never hit a note wrong, he never had pitch problems, he never had nothing. I think they’re going to give him a hard time because they seem to just not get what Daniel is. So maybe they’ll do that and it might get him bad…but in the same way the public might just keep voting for Daniel. And I really hope they do, because he is one of the most genuine people that I’ve ever met in my life. He’s a lovely, lovely man, he is.”
But if you had to vote someone out?
“I honestly couldn’t say. I love my X Factor contestants. I can’t say.” (laughs)
At least you’ve had a No 1 with Hero. What was that like?
“It was absolutely incredible. We all sat together and we waited for the radio to come. And when we found out we were No 1, it’s amazing. I had so many parts on the song and when I hear that song now, I’m so proud of myself. That was another one of my dreams, to have a No 1, and I did that. So, it’s amazing.”
Are you worried that you may have a stigma attached now about having come from a reality TV show?
“Before the show, I must stress, I didn’t have any success. I’d never been signed, all that was false. That was just a management deal for three months when I was 15. That was all wrong, as well, what they wrote. So I’ve had no success, so I hope that, if anything…I think the show this year, it’s been a different year to other years. I think it’s definitely showcased real talent, this year. Normally they’d never say I was a songwriter, they’d never let me play and sing, a young girl, they’d never normally allow that. So it’s been a different year and I hope that that’s shown and that helps me progress in some way. I really hope I’ve not got a stigma attached now because I’m a serious writer and I’m a musician, so I hope not.”
Is there more room in the house now for Eoghan’s ever-growing ego?
“Eoghan is absolutely lovely. It might leave more room for his hair – his hair gets bigger every week. (laughs). He’s a lovely boy. No, he’ll be fine. When I first met Eoghan, he never spoke a word. He was so, so shy and timid. And do you know, if anything, it’s lovely to see, now he’s so into himself, he’s comfortable and he’s really believing in himself. Eoghan’s been a really good friend of mine, he’s really believed in me from day one. He always thought I’d win, Eoghan, and he always said that. So he’s lovely, he’s a really nice boy.”
Your mum and dad were there last night. What did they say when you first saw them after the elimination?
“My dad’s distraught. My dad’s done my music with me for years and he’s just so hurt that it’s the end of X Factor for me. I think my mum’s just more concerned about me. She’s a typical mum and she just wants me to be happy. But I’ve told them, I’m not going to give up. I’ve worked at this since I was 14 / 15, full out, doing eight hours a day for my music and that’s what I’m passionate about in my life. That’s what I was made to do and I’m going to keep going until I achieve my dream of being signed.
“I can’t believe it’s all over. Isn’t it sad?”
Laura on Cheryl
Laura on Louis
Laura on her shock exit
Laura on sob stories v talent
Laura on the future
Laura Devastated By X Factor Exit
X Factor Blogs