We all deserve a second chance, and a little recognition can go a long way. For Robbie Hance, a homeless man from the UK, this is exactly what was about to happen when he auditioned on The X Factor. The judges, nor the audience, had any idea what was about to happen. But the story doesn’t end in the way you might expect.
First emerging onto the stage, Robbie Hance seems like any other contestant; a big smile, but racked with nerves. It was only when one of the judges, Gary Barlow, asked where Hance was from that it was revealed he was homeless after being in and out of care families since the age of 13. A touching story, but one question loomed: can he wow the judges? Find out exactly how he did in the video below:
Not only was young Robbie Hance’s story touching and heartfelt, but so was his rendition of Damien Rice’s “Coconut Skins”. The song itself is a bouncy acoustic effort, with introspective lyrics about dealing with the intricacies of romantic relationships. It’s a song full of character, but lacking in confidence, with relatable lines aplenty.
Acoustic songs pair well with those who have had the most difficult lives. Take Elliot Smith for example, who became a champion of the acoustic indie genre. His unmistakable, soothing voice acts as a disguise for years of pain.
Somehow, as soon as Hance begins his cover of “Coconut Skins”, it almost feels as if it belongs to him. The delicate honesty of Rice’s lyrics roll out of Hance with ease and experience in tandem, and the comforting acoustic strum offers a glimmer of hope to both the artist, and Hance performing in front of the judges.
As both the audience and the judges were blown away by his performance, he made it through the X Factor auditions with an astounding four yeses. Whilst Louis Walsh seemed somewhat unsure of Hance’s ability to make it further into the competition, he yielded and decided to give him a chance, resulting in a cheering roar from the audience. Take That singer Gary Barlow noted that Hance’s confidence is the only thing holding him back, expectedly knocked down due to his life story.
Robbie Hance’s X Factor story doesn’t last too much longer than this moment, however. During one of the boot camp stages on the show, Hance walks off-stage mid-performance after supposedly forgetting his lines. He was later quoted to mention that he left the show because he thought he was given a chance on the show due to his homelessness, not his talent.
Hance also revealed in an interview with The Sun that the show refused his request for £15 for food and shelter in between the different stages of the show. He also revealed that due to his national TV appearance, and his criminal history of theft, he struggled to find any kind of work post-X Factor. Hance’s criminal history came as a shock to many online, and he quickly fell out of the spotlight soon after.