The X Factor Audition That Launched Jake Quickenden’s Reality TV Career

When Mel B and Cheryl Cole stopped Jake Quickenden’s X Factor audition mid-song, his hopes of winning the eleventh season were left hanging by a thread. They felt that his guitar-styled performance of John Legend’s hit ballad “All Of Me” was diminishing the song’s power, turning it into a meaningless club hit, and they gave him some very critical feedback after his cover left the judges longing for originality and a true, emotional spark.

But when his 2014 audition seemed devoid of all hope, Simon Cowell suggested Jake should sing his second song choice, Christina Aguilera and A Great Big World’s “Say Something.” Stirred up after sharing his heartfelt story, Jake’s emotionally supercharged rendition resonated deeply with his judges and TV viewers.

Simon had told Jake, aged 26, to “sing the song like you mean it,” and after Mel B prodded the Lincolnshire singer, the truth behind Jake’s emotional detachment from his first song choice flooded out. His younger brother had died the previous year at the age of 19. The judges encouraged him to channel this pain into his voice, and his performance of “Say Something” was supercharged with emotional power and fragility, crowned by the rawness of blues.

Shockingly, this wasn’t Jake’s first appearance on The X Factor. Jake had auditioned two years prior on the UK X Factor’s ninth season (2012), making it all the way to the Judges’ Houses, before being eliminated. In 2014, he made it through to the live shows but was voted out in the third week.

Despite his failed bid for X Factor redemption, Jake became a reality TV regular and found a new career as a celebrity contestant on shows such as I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, Dancing On Ice (which he won), and Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins. However, his hype still hasn’t fizzled out. In 2022, the tabloids had an extravaganza with his wedding to Sophie Church. Last year, he ran the London Marathon and told talkSPORT he’s training to make his professional MMA boxing debut.

Jake’s pick n’ mix of TV appearances haven’t stunted his passion for music. He’s released two EPs and a dozen or so singles, three of which hit the Top 10 of the UK Indie Breakers chart. Up until two years ago, he was posting covers, originals, music videos, and even COVID lockdown vlogs with his wife and kids over on YouTube. But this star’s success all stems back to The X Factor, in particular, this audition which sparked enough love to carry him through to the live shows, now living on in X Factor history with over 36 million YouTube views.

Check out more from Jake Quickenden, the talented performer who impressed audiences with his heartfelt renditions on X Factor. You can enjoy more of his performances by subscribing to his YouTube channel and stay updated with his latest happenings by following him on Instagram.

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