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Xtra NEC date for Factor fans.

YET again television's X Factor has proved to be a huge success - so much so that an extra date for the show's live tour at Birmingham's NEC Arena has been added.

The now familiar contestants will perform in Brum on March 18 and 19 and winner Leon Jackson can't wait.

"It's going to be magic. It's just going to be brilliant to be reunited with everybody. We've been on a whole journey together," enthuses the 18-year-old from West Lothian who tops the UK singles chart with When You Believe.

For most of the series, the bookies seemed certain the title would go to operatic Welshman - and Birmingham resident - Rhydian Roberts, who was visibly distraught when the surprise result was called out.

"I certainly think that me and Rhydian are drastically different," says Leon. "I mean, he comes from a classical opera background and I've just done some karaoke!"

A recurring theme throughout the show was Leon's West Lothian roots and a loyal support from his Scottish fan base. But the teenager is keen to play this down.

"Obviously I'm proud of where I come from - especially being from a small town in Scotland. If I told you where I stayed you'd probably never ever recognise it. For such a small town to produce talent on such a big scale, it's spectacular and I'm just really pleased I've done my country proud and been the first Scot winner."

Ticket info

X Factor is at the NEC Arena on March 18 & 19.

Tickets: pounds 26 plus booking and transaction fee from 0871 945 6000.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE RUNNERS-UP?

RHYDIAN ROBERTS

HMV's Gennaro Castaldo says: "I don't think he has a particularly long career, but he certainly has lots of success ahead of him in the foreseeable future.

"There's a real market for that type of personality and for his type of music. He's a crossover artist who fills the gap between rock and pop, with elements of classical and speciality music. There are already a few group, like Il Divo and G4, who mined that territory extremely well in recent years, the so-called 'popera' genre.

"On one hand, he'll be able to bring out records around Mother's Day and Christmas as he's an artist who could lend himself well to that gift audience, but you can also imagine him doing musicals and stage work.

"Because he's a soloist, he's not as restricted as a band might be in terms of what styles of music he can tackle either.

"Even though he lost, there'll still be a very lucrative record contract for him, and concerts. He'll be a success."

SAME DIFFERENCE

"Same Difference's long-term prospects are rather more limited," says Gennaro. "There's a High School Musical mania that they can latch onto, and that won't go on indefinitely.

"They need to go out and make what they can of that, maybe have a lucrative DVD and concert tour. Potentially, there's no reason why they can't try to develop their audience further."

CAPTION(S):

X-FACTOR LIVE... (from left) Same Difference, Leon Jackson and Rhydian Roberts are on the bill at the Birmingham NEC.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 4, 2008
Words:520
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