X Factor prediction: So long, Mary Byrne. We barely knew ye.

There’s nothing we love more on The X Factor than a damned good rags to riches story. Local girl makes good with the help of [[Simon Cowell|Magic Uncle Simon]] and sells a ton of records to an adoring public. Remember Andy Abraham, fondly dubbed “the singing binman”? Diamond geezer, worked ‘the circuit’ for years, and though he didn’t win, managed to have a moderately successful career afterwards.

And they don’t come any more ‘one of the people’ than [[Mary Byrne|Mary “Tesco Mary” Byrne]]. From her lowly beginnings as a checkout operator, Mary stormed the auditions with a powerful voice and unimaginative commentators the nation over hailed her as the “new Susan Boyle”. But younger, Irish and less unhinged. Win-win for the record label.

Sadly, as the weeks went on, Mary’s once-powerful pipes started to let her down. She went from epic balladry to unenthusiastic renditions of Shirley Bassey songs. Probably not helped by Louis Walsh’s legendary inability to manage anything that’s not an Irish boyband. And the judges, once overflowing with lavish praise for Mary, started to give lukewarm comments to her.

Dannii Minogue, like a shark sensing blood in the water, started circling Mary with remarks about her mojo. One can only assume that she has a secret penchant for alliteration. I like to think she’d talk about Matt’s magnificence, Cher’s chutzpah and Rebecca’s…um…er…repartee?

Notably missing though were Uncle Simon’s barbed remarks about karaoke versions, cruise ship entertainers or wedding singers. All of which would have been valid comparisons. Sometimes I felt Mary was baiting him with her weaker performances, willing him to drop one of his clichebombs. But he didn’t.

What happened tonight was that Simon and Cheryl effectively closed the book on Mary’s X Factor career. Instead of critiquing her last performance, they both noted how lucky she’d been on the show and what a massive platform the show had been for her (no jokes about Mary needing a massive platform, please). Here’s Cheryl’s comment to Mary:

Your life has changed now forever, you have an amazing platform and there’s nothing to be sad about. This is an amazing time in your life.

Even Daybreak presenter Adrian Chiles noted the clever wording from the two judges:

I think everyone seemed to have given up on Mary. They were all saying “Mary you won’t be back on a checkout”, which was a different thing from saying “Mary I want to see you in the final.” I don’t think she’ll be back in the checkout any time soon but I just don’t see her in the final.

Now, the naive among you might find this hard to believe, but X Factor judges have many subtle ways of snuffing out a contestant’s time on the show. With Wagner, they started to give him serious critiques. With Mary it’s talking like she’s already finished. And considering she was in the bottom three last week, support for our favourite checkout operator looks to be drying up anyway. Still, with an extra push from Simon and Cheryl, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Mary will be “packing her bags” and other Tesco-related puns tomorrow night.

But sure it’s alright. She’s got a great platform for her skills. As a Shirley Bassey tribute act. I wonder if Louis will offer to manage her?

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  1. canadiangal

    I have been a Mary fan from the outset; however, tonite she did not sing well, and at this stage, the performances really count. I think the judges were really kind in their remarks, but I think the wall has already been written on for Mary.  Nice lady with some talent, but not destined for the final.  I think I would consider buying her album which I am sure she will record.

  2. Ageing tart

    For me Mary was ok when not shouting.

    As a singer she’s really below average, so if she survives in her region it will be highly unlikely. For one I don’t think she has the stamina to sing two 45 minute slots with at least 9 songs to a slot. Instead I think the voice will show how tired it is after having tried things the fast track route.

    I also feel she is no where near the same standard as Susan Boyle.

    I think a good way to think of this is a bit like grading a voice


    *Very good.


    *****Above Average and shows real potential.


    ****Below Average.

    *Ok / Satisfactory But would be best in another career.

    If you multiply the asterixes by 4 this will tell you how many surviving singers in the regions are of this standard out of every hundred.


    Ageing tart

  3. canadiangal

    Here’s my thoughts on Mary….as the “baby boomers” age, I think there is a growing nostalgia for the music of the 40’s & 50’s (ie. our parent’s/grandparent’s music – Sinatra, Dean Martin, Judy Garland et al).  Of course the originals require some updating, just look at the success of Michael Buble and how well Rod Stewart has done with his American Classics series!!  I think there is room in the market for more of this and maybe it’s time for a female “torch singer” to emerge.  I’m not saying that Mary Byrne is the right artist for this, but she does have the right type of voice and it is quite different than Susan Boyle’s.  Look at Mary’s performance on the 1st live show.  I think she would be dynamite in a recording studio and in nightclubs.  In any event, while the youth market is predominant in the recording industry, there is obviously a substantial market for people 50 & up as well and that’s mainly who’s buying into Buble and Boyle.  

  4. Ageing tart

    If truth was known, its the over 40- 50’s music consumers who have been keeping the music industry floating the last 20 years as young people download more than ever from the net and some from free music websites, so may not actually be subscribing at all.

    With reference to older artists existing or up and coming older artists, they to have done more than there fair share of music recording and one or two are so good at it they lead the sales against the everyday releases into the charts. Also where it concerns pre-existing older artists and dead persons estates the music sales here are in constant flow even if they aren’t high they are still a constant revenue raiser.

    For these reasons older people ie 40’s plus should have an equal opportunity to do well in all shows on tV.

     I would say the groups should be

    Under 30’s Girls, Under 30’s Boys.

    Over 30’s Women, Over 30’s men and finally.

    Groups of all ages.

    I’d also like to see the A and R men and woman back in the regions doing a real talent search amongst the churches, the schools, the sixth form colleges, the theatres, the civic venues, the clubs and pubs. In fact this is what the real music industry needs. A lift in the regions.


    AGeing tart

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