Jack and Joel wowed The X Factor judges with their Ed Sheeran mash-up during the first episode of auditions on Saturday night.
But what some viewers might not have realised is that the pair already have a following.
They have banked 10,000 YouTube subscribers over the last three years, with one video – a mash-up of every number one single from 2016 – going viral, garnering 2.5 million views on various Facebook platforms.
And the pair, who were approached and encouraged to enter series 14 by the show’s producers, are signed to Coalition Talent, who have Dermot O’Leary, Claudia Winkleman, Scott Mills, Greg James and Pixie Lott on their books.
The duo said that they weren’t put forward for The X Factor by Coalition, and downplayed the contact they have with the management company, saying that that they only work with them on a “gig-by-gig basis”.
“That’s our only relationship that we have with them,” they told RadioTimes.com.
With such a distinctive style both aesthetically and musically, Jack and Joel also admitted that they weren’t worried about having their artistic integrity compromised by taking part in The X Factor.
Joel said: “We would always welcome a free haircut and a spray tan – we’re not going to say no to that. But I think in general with our image, we’ve been super super lucky, we’ve met four years ago, we’ve been singing together for three or four years now so we’re really solid in our identity.
“The judges said they like us and they want us to maintain our artistic integrity so I don’t worry too much about changing – and any of the beauty touch-ups I’m happy to get changed!”
“It’s just been so overwhelming, it’s incredible,” said Jack of the reaction to their performance from viewers since the weekend. “We’ve seen lots of positive stuff online and we’re just loving it.”
“A surprising number of stuff actually,” interjects Joel. “I thought there’d be a bit more negativity but people have actually been quite pleasant. We have an online presence as any aspiring musician does nowdays – we do YouTube and Facebook videos and stuff and we’ve had just the usual little criticisms before so generally getting really supportive messages is really lovely!”
The pair also admitted that they were initially a bit worried when they watched the show on Saturday night and the producers had put together a mash-up of auditions featuring Ed Sheeran songs.
“As it was like ‘…and now they’re all sick of Ed Sheeran’ and Simon started rolling his eyes we were like ‘here we go, we know that we’re going to get shown in this bit. It’s going to be so negative, what have we done?’” said Jack. “But we were really lucky and very happy that the judges reacted in the way that they did because we have something a little bit different.”
On whether they were worried about the edit at that moment, Joel said: “100%. As soon as that compilation started I think me and Jack both looked at each other and we kind of knew ‘oh this is gearing up to us – what angle are they going to take on it?’ but I think it worked in our favour.”
Of their plans for the rest of the competition, they said they were on the show as “tough competitors” who were in it to win it with their original music (“hopefully if we progress in the competition we’d love to be able to get that out there,” said Jack) and mash-ups.
“We’ve still got loads left to show,” said Jack. “We’re really happy with how our first audition went but we have loads of other things up our sleeve to keep it really fresh and creative.”
The X Factor continues next Saturday at 8pm on ITV.