‘It will be fun to see how theirs turns out… Bring it on!’ Joe McElderry on going up against TOWIE for Christmas number one

December 1st, 2011

by Andrea Magrath

Last updated at 7:26 PM on 1st December 2011

Mail Online sat down with Joe McElderry to talk about doing battle with TOWIE, his departure from Simon Cowell’s label and keeping in touch with Cheryl.

It’s been quite a year for Joe McElderry. He’s won his second television competition, was dropped from Simon Cowell’s record label and released two albums in the space of three months

and now he’s getting ready to battle the cast of The only Way is Essex for Christmas number one… with the exact same song, which they are releasing one day before his version.

The sweet-natured singer, 20, isn’t grumbling about the TOWIE cast releasing their own version of Wham’s last Christmas though. in fact, he’s quite looking forward to seeing what the perma-tanned, vajazzled gang have in store.

Feeling festive: Joe McElderry’s cover of last Christmas is released next month… but he has found unlikely rivals in the cast of The only Way is Essex

‘It’s going to be fun isn’t it, to see how theirs turns out,’ he says. ‘It’s all about the fun factor with Christmas songs, and getting in the festive spirit. So the more the merrier I say!

‘They’re obviously going to be completely different versions for obvious reasons, but I welcome it with open arms!Bring it on.’

Of the ITV2 show, he admits: ‘I used to watch it. I think it’s absolutely hilarious. It’s fascinating, in very strange ways. but I’ve barely watched any TV for months so I’m a bit behind.

‘So I’m looking forward to seeing their music video. I haven’t filmed mine yet. I’m sure it will be very different… but You never know, I could throw a little vajazzle in there!’

Head to head: The TOWIE gang are releasing their single the day before Joe on December 18, but he says ‘The more the merrier, bring it on!’

When Mail Online sits down with McElderry at his London hotel, the 2009 X Factor winner is getting ready for the  launch party for his Classic Christmas album, which went on sale this week.

He is also going up against his old X Factor rival Olly Murs in the charts, with Murs releasing his new album in Case You Didn’t Know, the same week.

‘I saw Olly about three weeks ago,’ says Joe. ‘It’s nice we’re going out together. were not competitive.

‘Ours are totally different music that appeal to different people so there’s never been a rivalry between me and him. were really supportive of each other.

But while he admired the Xtra Factor host’s move into television presenting, there are no plans for Joe to follow suit.

I was like a rabbit in the headlights’: The 20-year-old, who was dropped by Simon Cowell’s label Syco this year, says his experiences have given him the confidence to take control of his career

‘It’s not on my agenda right now. but if something came up and it would be fun to take part in, then I’d be more than happy to. I just want to get as much experience as possible, so if something came along and it was the right thing then I’d give it a go. Right now I want to focus on the music.’

He is more enthusiastic when asked about going down the well-trodden path of celebrity clothing lines. ‘I don’t know if people would want to follow my fashion,’ he says, glancing self-consciously at his own purple jeans and black coat. ‘But I would love to do my own fragrance. That would be a nice one.’

He hasn’t had the chance to watch much of this year’s X Factor, Joe admits, as he is on stage most weekends. ‘But I’ve heard that it’s been quite a controversial year!’ he laughs.

Despite missing most of the series, McElderry is firm in who he is backing. ‘Little Mix,’ he says. ‘I am really good friends with Jade, we both grew up in South Shields. and I think they are really talented.’

His old mentor Cheryl Cole hit the headlines last week when she seemingly out of the blue contacted her 2010 contestants Cher Lloyd and Rebecca Ferguson after they criticised her for not staying in touch.

Joe shrugs. ‘I still speak to Cheryl quite a lot, we text each other and keep in touch. I haven’t experienced that myself.’

While he’s still on good terms with Cheryl, things are less rosy between Joe and Simon Cowell, who dropped him from his Syco label in April.

Since then though, he’s gone from strength to strength. He won Popstar to Operastar in July, and since signing with Decca Records he’s released his Classic album, which went gold after a fortnight and is on track to go Platinum by Christmas, and has just completed his debut tour.

‘We text each other’: Joe says he is in constant contact with his old X Factor mentor Cheryl Cole and can’t relate to Cher Lloyd and Rebecca Ferguson’s complaints that the singer has snubbed them

‘Two years down the line, experiencing things like parting from the label and doing things like Popstar to Operastar, I feel confident in all of my decisions now,’ Joe says.

‘Coming off X factor I was so in awe of everything that was going on, I was a bit like a rabbit in the headlights. I was so new to it all so I didn’t really want to take creative decisions. I was like, “let the professionals do it.” What did I know about it?

‘I can walk into a situation now and go: “OK, that works, this works.” You get a feeling for it. this time I felt more confident.

‘We’re supportive of each other’: McElderry is going up against his old rival Olly Murs in the album charts this week

‘After people really took to the Classic album, I decided I really wanted to release something before Christmas. but to go back in the studio and start from scratch would take too long. So Ithought, why not do a Christmas album?

‘It’s my favorite time of year so why not compile all my favorite Christmas songs as a fun project to mark this time of year and then next year we can talk about starting on the next one. I’d love to do some song writing next year.’

So has the singer, who was groomed for pop stardom on the X Factor stage, turned to a career in classical? ‘I love both,’ he says. ‘The pop songs I can really just have funand experiment, where the opera stuff I can really get across the emotion in the music. I don’t just want to do one or the other.’

The way the Christmas album and the Classic album have been out together has really worked. ‘It’s a happy medium between both.’

Yuletide cheer: Joe’s album Classic Christmas is on sale now, his single last Christmas is released on December 19

McElderry will be cherishing his few days off at Christmas, which he plans to spend at home, ‘chilling out with friends, catching up on dramas and stuffing my face with food,’ before a six-day stint at the O2, where he will perform each night before the Nutcracker Ballet.

In the new year he plans to sneak off somewhere hot for a few weeks. ‘Barbados has always been a dream place, so maybe I’ll push the boat out and go there.’ He pauses. ‘I haven’t told the record label about that yet,’ he laughs. ‘They’ll call up and I’ll go, “Sorry, I’m on me holidays, didn’t I tell you?”‘

Before then though, it’s back to work for the singer, promoting two albums and performing to thousands at the O2. as we say goodbye he pulls out his phone to check his Twitter feed. Does he follow Simon Cowell since the X Factor judge’s recent bout of tweeting? ‘I am. He’s pretty funny isn’t he? maybe I’ll tweet him some of my sales numbers,’ he says, giggling.

Joe McElderry’s Classic Christmas album is out now. He will be introducing The Nutcracker at The O2, 27-30 December. Tickets available via theo2.co.uk


‘It will be fun to see how theirs turns out… Bring it on!’ Joe McElderry on going up against TOWIE for Christmas number one

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