Cyril bids for X Factor glory

AN 80-year-old Anglian man has the chance to find stardom, thanks to a remarkable X Factor journey.

AN 80-year-old Anglian man has the chance to find stardom, thanks to a remarkable X Factor journey.

Cyril Grant, from Swaffham, has wowed the celebrity panel on the ITV talent show to such an extent that usually acid-tongued judge Simon Cowell has paid for the pensioner to have new hearing aids.

Cyril has made it past the preliminary auditions and impressed the panel by singing Hey, Good Lookin'.

And tomorrow night's episode could see Cyril's fame and fortune rocket even further during the gruelling bootcamp audition.

So keen was Mr Cowell to ensure that Cyril was on top form that he paid for new hearing aids from London's Harley Street.

Initially, 175,000 wannabes applied for X Factor but only 150 people made it through to the bootcamp stage, and over the course of two shows - aired tomorrow and Sunday nights - the acts will once again perform, with only 24 making it through to the penultimate stage of the competition.

Most Read

Should he make it through, Cyril will be put with a mentor - Louis Walsh, Simon Cowell, Dannii Minogue or Cheryl Cole. They will take their protégés to their homes and pick the final 12, ready for the series of live television programmes.

The bootcamp stage was held at the beginning of August at London's O2 Concert Arena, but Mr Grant is keeping his lips firmly sealed about whether he got through, urging everyone to watch it instead.

For his devoted fans who regularly post messages of support and clips of him performing on the internet, it will be a travesty if the former carpenter who arrived from his native Guyana in 1954, does not carry on his X Factor journey.

Bebo, Facebook and Youtube are littered with comments such as “Absolutely love him! Cyril to win!”, “He has massive charisma, and he is right to feel younger than he is because he looks younger than he is.

“Soon as I saw him I said '80!? He's never 80!' The slight deafness is a weak spot for him but he more than makes up for it with his showmanship and personality. Hope you go far Cyril. Gives the seniors hope!”

Yet Cyril remains unfazed by the hundreds of websites set up in his honour, and hordes of fans recognising him wherever he goes in the country.

“The attention is absolutely great. Everybody in the shop, the post office, the supermarket and butchers all say hello to me and wish me luck.

“When I walk down the street people either shout support at me or I catch them looking at me. It's absolutely beautiful. I think it's my white hair. Everyone recognises it immediately.”

- X Factor is on ITV1 at 7.45pm tomorrow and 7pm on Sunday.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter