Teleprompt: Tulisa Contostavlos

She's joining The X Factor as a judge for the 2011 series... but what do we know about her?

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So, who exactly is Tulisa?

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Tulisa is the lead singer of N-Dubz. Basically, she is to the Dubz what Fergie is to the Black Eyed Peas. What do you mean, the token girl? Don’t be so naive.

Hang on…what the heck is N-Dubz?

It might sound like a genetic disorder, but N-Dubz is an ‘urban’ pop band, of course. The band is comprised of three key players – on the front line we have Tulisa, then a chap called Dappy, who reportedly once sent death threats to a radio listener after they deemed him ‘a little boy in a silly hat’, and finally a young lad called Fazer, the type of cool guy who wears sunglasses indoors.

Dappy and Fazer rap words about ‘the streets’ and the like, while Tulisa has a heartfelt singsong in the chorus. They are called N-Dubz in honour of their ‘roots’, which happen to be in North West London. NW, geddit? NW is proper urban, gangsters like Chris Martin and Ed Miliband live there, y’know.

Is that even her real name?

No, it’s Tula, but no one gave Reginald Dwight a hard time, so shhhh.

I think I recognise her. Has she been on TV before?

Actually, yes, she has. Tulisa starred alongside her sophisticated band mates in the documentary, ‘Being N-Dubz’. This really was fascinating stuff. The trio wore cameras strapped round their heads like torches and we followed them about on their daily pursuits.

In one episode they went to a shooting range for the day. Not to glamorise guns or nuffink, just for a bit of a laugh, of course. Series highlight: when voiceover lady Linda Bellingham referred to them as ‘bread bins’, instead of bredrins. You might also recognise Tulisa from the BBC3 documentary Tulisa: My Mum and Me, in which she talked about her upbringing and caring for her mentally ill mother.

What makes her qualified to judge other people’s singing?

ITV’s Director of Television says she is a: ‘multi-million selling artist, songwriter and pop mastermind’. To be fair, this doesn’t seem to be too far from the truth – though we fear ‘mastermind’ might be somewhat of an overstatement. Since 2007, N-Dubz have notched up eight Top 40 singles, sold over 1.2 million albums and been voted the 62nd most influential act in British music.

They have even won four Mobo awards, including Best UK Act in 2009. All this despite sounding like the type of music you are most likely to hear coming out of the loudspeaker of a mobile phone on the bus. Plus, unlike her predecessor Cheryl Cole, Tulisa gets extra points for co-writing most N-Dubz tracks and is praised as a songwriter as well as a singer. When another rapper dared claim the rights to one of her hits, Tulisa wrote on Twitter: “Wat an unbelievable loser!”. She takes great pride in her writing.

Does she have any other notable achievements?

Oh, most definitely. Tulisa is not only a regular lad’s mag fave, but also rather gifted in this arena. She was recently voted number 5 in FHM’s prestigious 2011 100 Sexiest readers’ poll. So yes, voted for by the public. But fear not, our Tulisa poses with her integrity intact after turning down a reported £250,000 to pose nude for Playboy. Nice.

However, there is far more to Tulisa than just a cracking pair of legs and shiny hair, she is a h’intellectual don’t you know? Tulisa is a former Guest Columnist in Da Sun where she mused on why teenagers are great and the state sucks etc.

Tell me something surprising about Tulisa?

Her uncle was bassist in 70s pop group Mungo Jerry.

So…why has Simon picked her, again?

Well, ‘ordinary girl’ Tulisa ticks all Simon’s boxes, really. Tough upbringing? Check. Rose to become a star in the face of adversity? Check. Pretty to look at? Check. Gobby aka ‘feisty’? Check. All the things Simon likes. Plus it looks like she might clash with Louis, which always makes for good telly.

Also, we are guessing Simon must think the music of N-Dubz is ‘relevant’ and might even score The X Factor some cool points. Tulisa will do well to re-establish X Factor’s tenuous link to ‘the kids’. However, thank goodness it’s not simply the music of N-Dubz that caught Simon’s attention, or we may have had Dappy to contend with.

Will she be better than Cheryl?

It’s hard to say at this stage, but Tulisa does trump Chez in many ways. What Tulisa may lack in an ABH conviction, she more than makes up for in street cred and a coherent accent. She shares Chezza’s ‘real girl’ vibe but the difference is Tulisa really can sing. Plus Cheryl’s old band mate, Kimberley Walsh, has already come out and given Tulisa her backing, saying she will make a great judge.

But isn’t she a bit too young?

It’s true, Tulisa is still only 22, so we kind of hope she gets the over 25s group. Watching them being mentored by someone hardly old enough to buy a pint could be interesting.

Will she be a success?

Well, we have our fingers crossed. Tulisa has already said: ‘I’m not going to be afraid to speak my mind’ and we think this could be code for she’s not afraid to argue and/or offend, which always fares rather excellently on reality TV shows such as The X Factor. So we reckon Tulisa could be a real audience pleaser.

Sounds like fun, so when can we watch her?

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The auditions start this week but we will have to wait till August to see them on the telly.