X Factor’s Lauren Murray: why I cried and why Cheryl was wrong

Rita Ora’s act just missed out on a spot in this year’s final and admits sing-off nearly brought on panic attack

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Lauren Murray narrowly missed out on a spot in this year’s X Factor final, losing the sing-off to Ché Chesterman during last night’s results show, a night she admits almost brought on a “panic attack”.

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Lauren, who was part of Rita Ora’s Girls category, was in floods of tears as she took to the stage for her ‘save me’ performance, admitting it wasn’t just because she was at risk of going home.

“I’d done the bottom two last week so I was like, right, I’ve done it now, that’s fine. It was being up against Ché,” Lauren told RadioTimes.com of what had upset her.

“Being in the bottom two is hard, but to sing against basically my best friend in the competition was like… yeah, it was emotional,” Lauren added.

She explained that moments before she walked out to perform she was stood with Ché and the situation really got to her.

“I was just crying. I was like, “I can’t do it, I can’t do it.’ I was literally starting to have a panic attack. Ché was like, ‘You’ve got to’. Then the doors started opening and I just had to walk out. It was hard. It was really hard.

“Ché was really calm,” Lauren admitted. “I think he knew if he wasn’t I would have been worse, so he had to literally be like, ‘Stop it’. But it was really difficult.”

Of managing to calm herself enough to get through the song, Lauren said: “I just had to. What could I do? I had one eyelash up here, one down here, tears here. I didn’t know what was going on,” she laughed. “I just had to go for it. I knew my throat wasn’t there, so I just knew. I just knew it was me going home,” Lauren added, alluding to an illness she’s had this week. 

When it came to deciding who to send home, judge Cheryl said she was concerned by Lauren’s emotional reaction. She suggested it would only get tougher from this point on, seemingly saving Ché because she thought he could handle it. The vote eventually went to Deadlock, and so back to the public’s decision, but Lauren doesn’t agree with Cheryl’s conclusion.

“I’ve come this far. It’s been two months of filming and that’s never happened. I was in the bottom two last week. I had a bad week, I was sick, I was up against Ché, I’d just had enough to be honest with you.

“Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion,” Lauren added. “But as you can see, the proof’s been on the TV, that’s never happened before.”

So does she think she could she have handled the pressure of the final? “Yeah, I don’t see why not.”

After the show Lauren said she headed straight home to bed, opting out of spending the night in the contestant house. “Everyone thinks I went out and had a big party. I was knackered, so drained, so tired. I just went to sleep.” The singer admitted she won’t return to the house today to collect her belongings, as other contestants have done.

“I’ll see them all next week at the final, there’s a group ensemble and we’re all going on tour together. It’s not the end. I just want a couple of days to just chill and be normal.”

Lauren has certainly had her share of media attention during her time in the competition. When she opted to leave the house for a couple of nights there were widespread reports she’d quit. Avoiding a hug with 4th Impact led to online death threats and this week she was accused of already having a recording contract for having appeared in a La La Land video, reports she describes simply as “more bull****”.

“This is so stupid. Basically, someone as a favour asked me to be in a music video miming. If you listen to the song you’ll know that that isn’t me singing, so I don’t really know where that’s come from. If I did have a music career, why the hell would I be on The X Factor? Do you think I’d go through all of this for nothing? I don’t think people realise how intense it is.”

Lauren continues to avoid Twitter, with her sister running her account. “It’s just stupid, it’s not real life is it? I can’t be bothered with it. I like Instagram, Twitter I just don’t get the mentality of it.”

There aren’t more reality shows on the horizon either.

“I would never do another reality TV show again. I would never do Big Brother, I would never do Celebrity… not knocking anyone that has done it, but I just couldn’t do it. I’d go insane. I think I’ve had my taste of reality TV and it’s not for me. No way.”

As for her next steps, Lauren’s keen to get in the recording studio and out on the X Factor tour. Seeing her cover of Ariana Grande’s One Last Time hit the top ten on the iTunes chart has certainly spurred her on: “That means I can sell. It just goes to show I can do it!”

Plus, herself and Ché have a surprise up their sleeves.

“Me and Ché are going to a duet. Yeah, we are. We haven’t decided [what song] but we’re thinking we’ll do it on the tour as a surprise, that’s going to be amazing.”

Lauren continues to back Ché for the win this year, but says she’ll support Reggie N Bollie and Louisa Johnson, too. 

“Any of them deserve it. Any of them can do it now. They’ve just got to do their best.”

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The X Factor concludes this Saturday and Sunday on ITV