Former Irish Eurovision entry Joseph McCaul returns to X Factor

Irish singer got “booted out at Boot Camp” in 2012 and says he wants chart success again after being a “household name” in Ireland, competing at Eurovision 2005

Amid chats with Simon Cowell about whether his dog needed a helmet to protect him from seagulls, X Factor hopeful Joseph McCaul gets some singing in during tonight’s X Factor. But for many, it won’t be the first time they’ve heard his vocals.


The 27-year-old Irish crooner reached Boot Camp during 2012’s series of the X Factor and was a household name in Ireland after winning TV show You’re A Star and representing the country at Eurovision.

“I had some success when I was younger,” McCaul told “I want that kind of back again.”

“In Ireland, I would have been a household name with my sister Donna. We represented Ireland in Eurovision in 2005. We toured with Westlife, we toured Europe, we were signed to Universal, and it all fell apart. Now I’m back singing in pubs and open mics. I just want it back. I just want success. To me it’s about achieving.”

McCaul and his sister were actually Ireland’s youngest entrants for Eurovision, just 16 and 23 at the time, but they failed to get past the semi-final round. “Next question…” McCaul laughed when asked exactly how well they did. “We didn’t do well.”

“We had three top ten hits in Ireland. We were on primetime TV every Sunday night going out to 1.2 million people. There isn’t much more people in Ireland now to be honest. We were on the front cover of all the Irish magazines. I just thought it was the best thing ever. I was sixteen. All my friends thought it was great. I couldn’t walk down the street – getting pictures with people, signing autographs – and then it all went.”

Donna’s now in LA trying to make a name for herself as a singer there. “We wanted different careers,” McCaul explained. But he’s got unfinished business with the X Factor.

“When I sang in the SECC in Glasgow [in 2012] I got four big yesses. Gary Barlow told me I was sensational. Anastasia, who was a guest judge that day, told me I was her pick of the day. She tweeted afterwards about me. It was so positive and amazing. I was thinking, ‘This is it’.

“But, I got to Boot Camp, I went out with two lads and we sang Moves Like Jagger [for the team challenge]. Every time I hear the song, I swear to god I get a pain in my gut. It reminds me of 2012. We sang it and it fell apart. The three of us were told we were going home. So at Boot Camp I got the boot.”

This year, it’s all about singing for the boss: Simon Cowell.

“I’ve never seen Simon and I’m cacking it,” McCaul laughed ahead of his audition.

“I’ve always wanted to perform in front of Simon. I’ve never got to meet him. I have to sing for Simon Cowell. It’s my mission to sing for Simon Cowell, so I’m going to sing for Simon Cowell today,” he enthused.

Of his chances in the competition, McCaul said: “I’d like to think that he’ll like me and that he sees potential and that he sees a star in the making.

“I know I probably don’t look like one, but I sing like one.”


The X Factor continues tonight at 8:00pm on ITV