X Factor’s Max Stone learns ukulele in two days for second live show

Simon Cowell’s Overs act has certainly put the hours in this week ahead of his Somewhere Over the Rainbow cover

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As if preparing for the second week of X Factor live shows wasn’t daunting enough, Overs act Max Stone added learning a new instrument to his list of tasks.

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Yes, in just two days Max has learnt to play the ukulele. It comes as he’s set to put his own reggae twist on Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which he’ll mash up with Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World for reinvention week.

“I play guitar so it’s similar, but the chords are very different,” Max told RadioTimes.com. “So it’s about re-learning the patterns. But it’ll be alright.

“It really works for the song,” he added. “I tried it with a guitar and then I tried it with the ukulele. For the song, it works better. It’s hard work learning a new instrument, but at least it’s not learning the violin. That would be hard. I wouldn’t be able to do that in two days,” he laughed. 

Max admits the song wasn’t the original track he had planned for this weekend, but he’s happy with the change.

“We had another song – The Police’s Everything Little Thing She Does Is Magic. I love that song, and I really fell for it. But something hit me one night. I felt like I needed more connection with the song.

“The next day we had a meeting and they said, ‘Simon Cowell’s suggested a song for you,’ and they said it’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It just blew me away. I love playing reggae and the way I started playing reggae was through a version of this song. It became my natural rhythm of playing. So it’s really odd how it fell into place.”

The song has it’s own history on X Factor too, Cowell dubbing Leona Lewis’s 2006 version “the single best performance I’ve ever witnessed”.

“I did listen to Leona Lewis’s version,” Max said. “I thought it was great, but I think I can do it differently.”

If he survives this weekend’s second double elimination, Max says he won’t do reggae versions each week. 

“It can’t be throughout. I don’t want people to think I’m a one-trick pony. I know throughout the competition it’s about showing different things. There’s a lot of different things that I can do.”

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The X Factor continues Saturday and Sunday at 8:00pm on ITV