The X Factor audition rounds are always rife with tear-jerking moments, but this Saturday singer Felix Shepherd might offer viewers one of the most moving yet.
Taking to the stage in front of judges Simon Cowell, Ayda Field, Robbie Williams and Louis Tomlinson, the 20-year-old student reveals he has a special motivation for performing. “I’m here today to kind of prove people that I’m more than just a transgender guy,” he says, before the audience started to applaud.
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“We can get overlooked, I suppose,” he continues. “I kind of live a normal life: I sleep in too late and annoy my mum – leave things everywhere. I’m just an everyday person.”
Judge Robbie Williams then asks Felix his birth name. “My name was Emily,” he replies.
“In about year nine at school, I told one of my friends that I didn’t really know what it all was. It was that point where I was like – for myself more than anything else – I’ve got to be who I am and tell people.”
When prompted by Cowell, Felix reveals his audition song is Kodaline’s All I Want, the tune he first performed live at age 13. “Obviously my voice has dropped since then,” he adds.
Felix then delivers a beautiful and delicate rendition of the track, which soon has the audience on their feet.
Clearly emotional after the performance, Felix says that even though the crowd supported him, he had struggled with parts of the song. “It’s difficult,” he says. “If I played my voice back literally in February... I had a falsetto. That’s disappeared.”
But Robbie quickly reassures him, and adds: “Your journey so far in life is fascinating and I for one want to see where the rest of this journey is going to take you.”
Will the judges send Felix into the next round? And, if so, just how far could he go?