Entertainment

Yearwood 'Factors' in

BY KEVIN JACKSON
Observer writer

Thursday, September 06, 2018

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TRINIDADIAN soca artiste Olatunji Yearwood recently travelled to the United Kingdom to audition for the X Factor, Britain's popular talent contest, co-hosted by Simon Cowell. Its 15th season premiered last weekend and Yearwood performed Bodyline, an original soca song.

The response from the audience and the judges was overwhelmingly positive. According to the Metro newspaper, “The judges declared that they'd found a superstar.”

According to one of those judges, Adya Field, “You are a superstar. You've got personality, you've got moves, you've got a great voice, and you have the X factor.”

Her husband and fellow judge, British pop singer Robbie Williams, formerly of the group Take That, chimed in, “You can't learn how to do that; it's a God-given gift. If only I had those moves…you absolutely killed it.”

Cowell, the X Factor creator, was equally impressed with 29-year-old Yearwood.

“It's exactly the kind of act I love finding on a show like this…you have 4,500 yeses,” he gushed.

Dressed in a bright yellow suit, Yearwood was accompanied on stage by two female dancers. He delivered an energetic performance before Cowell, Field, Williams, and former One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson.

In his introductory video for the audition, Yearwood said he was on the show to represent calypso and soca music. He described The X Factor as the World Cup of the art form and ended the brief clip with his signature chant, “Tadow”.

Yearwood, who is the son of veteran soca artiste Edward Yearwood, is a past winner of the Junior Calypso Monarch title. He shot to fame in 2015 when he won Trinidad's Soca Groovy Monarch/International Soca Monarch crown with the song Ola.

He released his debut album, Awakening in 2016.

There has been national reaction to Yearwood's X Factor debut in Trinidad and Tobago, similar to when Jamaica's Tessanne Chin successfully campaigned on The Voice in 2013.

On his Instagram page, Yearwood responded to the favourable feedback. He posted:

“Could not ask for a better birthday gift this morning than reaching home to find out I'm on the front page of the Trinidad Express and the world. Your support yesterday was the greatest birthday gift ever!!! Thank you, Thank you and Thank you!!! Blessed earthstrong to me I guess lol #tadowee. Styled by the best @ecliffelie

Cowell, who became an international figure through American Idol, created the X Factor in 2004. Among its winners are Shayne Ward, Leona Lewis, Little Mix, and Alexandra Burke.

As of November 2016, artistes appearing on The X Factor have released 41 number one songs in the United Kingdom.

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