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MAX FACTOR TO X FACTOR; Fame-hungry Austin tried out for GIRL band.

Byline: By John Dingwall

THIS astonishing set of pictures reveals X Factor star Austin Drage once became Austin Drag on a bizarre, cross-dressing reality TV show.

The 21-year-old X Factor finalist took part in the bizarre reality TV show Boys Will Be Girls, aired on E4 in 2006.

In the series, his band were called The Honeytraps.

They were managed by ex-Brother Beyond singer Nathan Moore and failed in their bid to pass themselves off as a girl group.

Ex-5Boyz singer Austin went by the name Chloe.

The Essex wannabe didn't impress, despite shaving his legs, wearing a bra and having his eyebrows plucked for the transformation.

He can be seen hugging his bandmates while kitted out in a shoulderlength wig, headscarf, leggings under a bustle skirt and metallic stilletos.

The camp try-out happened two years after he toured with Girls Aloud and got friendly with judge Cheryl Cole, who has raved about his auditions on X Factor.

He is one of several finalists who have known at least one of the judges prior to the show, prompting some to suggest the selection of the final 12 has been fixed.

When 5Boyz toured with Girls Aloud four years ago, Cheryl was having a fling with his band pal Brett Warren.

Viewers saw Cheryl swoon over his performances as he auditioned for the latest series of the X Factor.

A source said: "Austin knew Cheryl but that's not unusual for someone trying to break into the pop business in a boy band at that time.

"Boys Will Be Girls shows how far he will go to become a star. He found the experience strangely liberating."

CAPTION(S):

WHAT A DRAG: Austin as Chloe during his days in the 'girlband'. Right, in the X Factor
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 10, 2008
Words:293
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