Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Everyone hates me, what's the point of going on? The X Factor Katie Waissel's father says she's at breaking point


Unpopular: Katie Waissel at her first audition, left, where she proclaimed she wants to be a legend, and right, performing on the live show last Saturday

Katie Waissel is finally fulfilling the dream she has had since she was six years old. Her music is being heard by millions on the biggest TV show of the year, magazines are clamouring to talk to her, and internet chatrooms are alive with opinions on her.

So why has she spent most of the last few weeks in tears, wondering if she can carry on? Several times already, the troubled singer has had to be talked out of walking off the show by Simon Cowell.

The girl who confidently — and gratingly — walked into X Factor saying ‘I want to be a legend’ is now, say those who know her, a shell of her former self, obsessed with reading every negative story about her.

‘I’ve had Katie sobbing on the phone to me every night,’ her father Maurice said this week. ‘She’s had death threats sent to her over the internet, and we’ve had to ask the police to intervene.

‘Only the other night, Katie said to me: “Dad, what’s the point in going on if everyone hates me.”

‘Let’s face it, X Factor has become a circus where only the strongest survive.’

Katie’s friend and former work colleague Gabi Dee adds: ‘People assume she can take all the criticism because she comes across as so strong - but she is still just an ordinary girl. It hurts her.’

Her friend and hairdresser George John says that Katie cannot understand why she was almost voted out of the first live show, and is being labelled a diva and a sneak.
‘She feels hated, even though she feels she’s done nothing wrong,’ he says.

Of course, X Factor always has to have a pantomime villain, and this year - rightly or wrongly - it’s Katie. On Sunday night, the audience booed when she was kept in.

Feeling the strain: Katie collapsed during a visit to Topshop in London last week

Eccentric, loud, confident, fiercely ambitious, overly dramatic and liable to spout LA-style mumbo-jumbo (‘I just want my music to be heard and share my stories with the world’), she was never going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

Judge Cheryl Cole faced a bitter backlash even for putting Katie into the final when she fluffed her song at the judges’ houses stage - especially as popular contestant Gamu Nhengu went out.

On set, she has been accused of being a diva. She has argued fiercely with chief stylist Grace Woodward over clothes, and stamped her foot to Cheryl about song choices. There have been bitter rows, too, with her roommate and rival Cher.

Things got even nastier when she was accused of being desperate enough to make up a story saying she was romancing another much more popular contestant, former painter and decorator Matt Cardle - and then selling the story to a Sunday tabloid.
After that, furious fellow contestants dubbed her ‘Katie Weasel’, and it seems many of them have stopped talking to her.

So, all in all, a rather disastrous start for the 24-year-old singer.
Even her former best friend in the house, the flame-haired Storm - who was voted off the show two weeks ago - admitted he had fallen out with her.

He told a radio station: ‘Being on this show brings out the best and worst in people. I think you have to be careful - and I definitely have mentioned that to her - not to try and just be this tabloid queen, because that’s not going to last.’

Relief: The singer celebrates with mentor Cheryl Cole and the other contestants in the girls' category on Sunday after being voted through to another week

Katie is now surrounded by the kind of controversy that will have Cowell and the rest of the X Factor producers rubbing their hands with glee.

For it is the endless scandals (as well as Katie, there has been prostitute Chloe Mafia and, of course, fans’ outrage at Gamu not being selected for a wild card entry) which have seen this year’s ratings shoot up by more than a million from last year.

So even though Katie was in the bottom two in the first week of the show, since then the judges have been singing her praises. They’re desperate to keep her in because, love her or hate her, she at least has the ‘interesting’ factor.

But even Cowell is beginning to worry that it all may be a little too much for Katie to handle.

‘Both Simon and Cheryl have had to give her almost constant counselling,’ says one source on the show. ‘She’s also been given a bit of time to see friends and family, to keep her spirits up.’

Controversy: Katie lost popularity over rumours she had relations with fan favourite Matt Cardle, which he denied

And Katie’s begun to hit out at what she sees as unfair editing of her performances.

She was angry that she was shown breaking down during her audition at Cheryl’s house, and in interviews has insisted that all the contestants sang two songs — and she performed her other one perfectly.

She also insisted to close friends that she was not responsible for the rumours about her and Matt ending up in bed together. Apparently the security team in the house (designed to stop any romances between contestants) did discover them in bed together, but Katie insists they were clothed and simply watching the TV comedy Family Guy on his laptop.

According to Katie, the story did not make its way to a red-top tabloid through her, and the journalist who wrote the story also insists it came from another source.
Nevertheless, given Katie’s naked ambition for stardom, her rivals and the public seemed happy to believe she would stoop so low for the sake of a few precious column inches.

It is a bitter blow, as none of the contestants has tried harder for stardom than Katie. Friends say she was convinced she had what it takes to win: but now she is one of the favourites to leave the show on Sunday.

Katie, who grew up in a comfortable middle-class home in Harefield, Middlesex, has dreamed of being a star ever since she was first given an electronic keyboard aged six. She taught herself the basics, and begged her parents, who own a fashion boutique, to buy her music lessons.

At the £4,000-a-term private Heathfield School in Pinner, she was notable only for her love of performing in class. One schoolfriend, Megan Zarrabi, said: ‘She never hid her ambition to be a singer.’She went on to study photography and history of art at Amersham College, but also did two jobs at night to pay for vocal coaching with teacher Stevie Vann Lange, whose clients have included everyone from Lulu to boyband Blue.

The first time she met Stevie, she looked at the photographs of Lange’s famous clients and announced: ‘That will be me one day!’ She has always had an unshakeable belief in her own talent.

Good friends? Katie puts on a united front with fellow contestant Cher Lloyd after stories emerged they were bickering behind the scenes

One of her early fans was Chaz Jankel from the band Ian Dury And The Blockheads, who was so impressed that he started writing songs with her.

Things seemed to be going well, and she opened for the East 17 reunion tour at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in May 2006.

There were agents and label bosses at the show, and Katie was later to recall: ‘I thought, “Great, this is it!”.’

But it was the first of many chances that failed to bear fruit.More gigs followed, and another celebrity fan, Glen Matlock from The Sex Pistols, offered to write songs with her after hearing her perform.

Meanwhile, desperate to mix with the right people, she started hanging out in Camden, trying to get in with the Amy Winehouse crowd.

She dated ex-Apprentice contestant Michael Sophocles (who later sold a story about her), got friendly with singer James Blunt, and attended a party with Pixie Geldof.

At that party she met David Massey, the vice president of Sony Music, who invited her to come and see him. He seemed impressed and asked her to organise an audition for him. But in the end nothing came of it, and Katie’s hopes were dashed.

The story has been repeated throughout the years: high hopes when she toured the UK with X Factor runner-up Andy Abrahams in 2006, and even winning a competition to star in Green Eyed World, an online reality show which documented her attempts to make it. Sadly, they all came to dust.

‘When she got into the finals of X Factor, she was convinced that finally people would get her,’ says one friend, who asked not to be named. ‘She wouldn’t listen to anyone advising her to tone things down a little.’

Even X Factor judge Louis Walsh admitted: ‘Katie’s very ambitious, she’s very contrived. But so is Madonna; so is Kylie; so are all the girls who make it.

‘She’s got a good attitude and she really wants it — and she’s also a good singer.’
Whether or not this is enough to turn the public’s opinion around, we will have to see.

One thing is for sure, though: Katie Waisell won’t be giving up.

source: dailymail [endtext]

No comments:

Post a Comment