While this may prompt a tear, you might think twice once you know the real story behind each of these performers.
Christian Burrows worked at the time as a barman at the Bolton nightclub VIP. He sang a song dedicated to his deceased brother from childhood that only mum had heard. With a wavering voice, the song told about what he would do if he were two again.
As a singer-songwriter, he apparently drew inspiration from the likes of Ed Sheeran, so it was good to see that a year later he released “Two Again” as his debut single (renamed from “Thunder Buddy” when he played it on the show). He made it as far as the judges’ houses but not the live show in 2016.
Jillian Jensen was bullied in school and breaks down after her song receives a standing ovation. Having performed on a stage for two years old, it was inevitable she would try the talent shows. She appeared in X Factor USA in 2012 and American Idol in 2013. This helped launch her own album in 2014. While she now mainly plays gigs and weddings she has also been running a foundation since 2007 called “Magic of Music” that gives scholarships to those unable to fund their own lessons or instruments.
Josh Daniel was a Teesside car mechanic at the time of the show, singing in memory of a deceased friend, with emotion that leaves the judges wordless. In reality, his real name is Josh Grant, and he is now a joint partner in a packaging business that tailor’s shipments of cardboard boxes and bubble wrap to customer’s needs, and was on track this year for an annual turnover of £1.1m. To be fair to him since he appeared in X Factor in 2016 he still releases singles under his stage name with one hit reaching number 13 in the iTunes chart.
Lucy Spraggan sang her own sad song Tea and Toast after underperforming with an earlier song chosen by the show. Lucy performed it at the boot camp for the 2012 X Factor and while she made it to the main auditions she later withdrew from the show due to illness not wanting to get another pass to the next round.
Despite this, she was signed by Columbia Records in 2013, but ahead of that, she became the first contestant in the history of the show to release a Top 40 single and album before the live shows were even broadcast with her independently released 2011 album Top Room at the Zoo.
Ryan O’Shaughnessy sang his own song “No name” about a friend who doesn’t know about his interest. Shy and unable to name her on the 2012 Britain’s Got Talent show it turns out he is a fairly famous Irish actor having starred in the soap Fair City for nine years. At the time of singing his song at the BGT auditions, he was also due to play in the live shows of Voice of Ireland under contract to Universal records.
As a result, he was disqualified from BGT even though the judges were planning to send him on to the live shows. However, he was eliminated in the Voice of Ireland final, released from his Universal contract and allowed to appear in the BGT semi-final (it’s like a real-world soap).
While he made it to the final, again playing No Name he only finished fifth, but this didn’t prevent him from being signed up to Sony Music with who he released many singles and an album. In 2018 he had the dubious honor of being selected to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest, eventually finishing 16th overall.
Some of the viewers were undoubtedly affected by what they saw, one saying “hey I’m not crying I have sand in my eye oh wait I don’t have sand in my house,” and another commenting “every singer has their own way of expressing their feelings. So sad”.
Things are never what they truly seem on these shows. You can watch for yourself but don’t let those heartstrings get plucked too much now you know the true story behind each contestant.