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Willington Dean is welling up for the 10th series of X Factor
LOVE it or loathe it, the X Factor returned to our screens at the weekend for the tenth series (Saturday, August 31). Duncan Leatherdale meets the North-East agent hoping to flood the show with the region’s talent.
DEAN Maynard is a man with a teary dream.
“What I want is to be backstage at the X factor final watching someone from the North-East who I have supported winning the show, that would be amazing, I probably shouldn’t admit to this but I think I would cry.”
A tall order perhaps, but the region does have a rich relationship with the ITV show.
Amelia Lily from Nunthorpe near Middlesbrough has found fame after finishing third in the 2011 series, and two members of Little Mix who won that year’s contest come from the region.
In fact, when the female four-piece performed at North-East Live in Sunderland in June, the group said their spiritual home is in the same South Shields area that spawned Mr McElderry.
Dean said it is no coincidence that the North-East seems to do well in these shows.
He said: “The North-East is brimming with exceptional talent, there is no doubt that we can win this show.
“A large part of that is due to the sheer brilliance of the artist, but also with a show like the X Factor it’s really important to get the public support, and the people in the North-East are very loyal to their own and will show strong support to someone from the region.
“They are honest and loyal, and many of the artists are just happy to be performing in clubs in Friday night to maybe 20 people, they just love singing.”
Having started as a paranormal investigator (a pursuit he still dabbles in with charity ghost hunts and the like) Dean from Willington in County Durham then started to make a name for himself by predicting things.
He turned his attention to reality TV shows like the X factor and Britain’s Got Talent, would spot an act in the audition stage and tip them for greatness.
He is the first to admit that his record is not perfect, but nevertheless he was the one who said One Direction would be big despite many doubters, including some in the industry itself.
Dean said: “They were a group of rejects thrown together, they were not expected to do well.
“One person I spoke to on the show said they would be lucky to finish in the top six and would be finished within a year.
“I could see something amazing about them, and just look at them now.”
Dean also backed Leona Lewis, winner of the third series in 2006, and through giving such public and vocal support he has befriended many acts including Chico, Nikki Evans, Bad Lashes and Jonjo Kerr.
Having spoken to these people and seen what they have been through, he hopes to pass on their advice and experience to other musicians following the X Factor path.
Dean has formed Midas TalentPR, a talent agency which he hopes will help propel the unknown north-East stars into the spotlight.
He has already got one entrant, a singer called Sam, into the show this year and Dean said should he get through the auditions, he could be an X Factor winner.
In the pipeline he also has harmonious girlband The Sweets, Wallsend-based singer Rachel McKnight (whose vocals Dean likens to Amy Winehouse) and a 15-year-old girl from Stockton called Boo.
Dean said: “They are all incredible performers, powerful and amazing singers.
“They will be getting some experience over the next year and I’m hoping they will be ready to enter next year’s X Factor.
“I have no doubt that each of the acts can go far.”
For now though, Dean, who describes himself as a genuine X Factor fan, will have to simply enjoy watching the latest roll-call of wannabes.
But with his belief in the North-East’s talent pool, it would not be a surprise if he has already invested in a packet of pocket tissues to dab those winning tears.
The 10th series of the X Factor will start at 8pm on Saturday, August 31, on ITV 1.
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