The X Factor surprisingly ditched him at boot camp this year, but the positive reaction to his performances from viewers was enough to tell Joseph Whelan he shouldn't be discouraged. His two televised auditions also attracted the attention of manager/producer Paul Hardcastle – Whelan releases the self-penned single Wish on 16 December via Hardcastle Music.
You, however, don't have to wait until then to hear the song: we asked Joseph to record a live, acoustic version of it just for us, and he has!
Sorry! This download is no longer available. You can buy the official release of Wish here.
"I got a phone call out of the blue," the 26-year-old rocker tells RadioTimes.com. "'Hello Joe, it's Paul Hardcastle!' I went and put some vocals down and he offered to manage me. I was ecstatic: someone of his calibre telling me they like what I do. He's worked with Thin Lizzy, Barry White, all sorts of people."
Of the new song Wish, Whelan says: "We thought about releasing a single this side of Christmas. I had part of a song in my head, and I turned it round in a day and wrote it. Paul said, that's got to go out, and we produced it between us.
"It's not a Christmas song. I didn't want to go down the Jingle Bells route! But I wrote it about being away from my family, which I will be a lot around Christmas, doing gigs. So it's got a seasonal feel.
"I've got no intention of trying to get the Christmas number one. I just hope it does well. I've had just short of a quarter of a million likes on Facebook, it's mental. So when Wish comes out, it should sell some copies."
The RadioTimes.com version of the song is, says Whelan, "stripped right down, acoustic". The bare-bones sound will remind Whelan's fans of his X Factor auditions, which have been seen hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube. Read more about Whelan's X Factor memories here – but he says the show is now firmly behind him.
"There were 3,000 people at the audition in Manchester and 5,000 at boot camp, but I played in front of 15,000 in Sheffield when the Christmas lights were switched on. The Wanted, Misha B and Lawson - I was on that bill, so that was slightly more pressure than The X Factor!"