Ipswich: Former X-Factor winner’s coffee shop gig cancelled after lack of interest

IPSWICH: As X-Factor sensation Matt Cardle wowed a sell-out crowd, a former winner of the contest faced having to perform to an empty coffee house.

Steve Brookstein, who won the first series of the hit TV show in 2004, was due to play at Caffe Nero in Ipswich town centre yesterday evening.

But less than a handful of people turned up to see the former star, prompting the gig to be called off.

Mr Brookstein, who is performing at cafes across the UK for a winter tour, claimed an apparent mix-up over the gig start time and what he believed to be a lack of publicity as the factors.

The 42-year-old, who previously had a number one single and album, said: “I had been pencilled in to play at 6pm only to find that the cafe closed at that time.

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“Most people are heading home from work at 6pm and there was also only one small poster in the cafe window. I think it could have been handled better.

“It’s disappointing, but it’s something I’ll have to take up with the company’s management. The previous Nero gigs have gone very well, but this one was the exception.”

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Nobody from Caffe Nero was available to comment last night.

However, Mr Brookstein added that he hoped to return to Ipswich in the New Year.

The Londoner has continued to write and perform since his high-profile fall-out with X-Factor boss Simon Cowell.

He tipped X-Factor finalist Matt Cardle to have a successful career, but didn’t think that the 27-year-old from Maplestead, near Halstead, could win the show.

Mr Brookstein added: “Matt is a real talent. He’s got a great voice and plays the guitar superbly. He can have a great career if he does his own thing.

“I think One Direction will win it though. They’ve got a broader appeal and will get more votes. I wouldn’t give Matt any advice, he’s definitely his own man.”

Meanwhile, scores of screaming fans gave Matt Cardle a rapturous welcome to Charter Hall in Colchester as he performed a special homecoming gig last night.

Dressed in his trademark flat cap, he looked relaxed as, arrived with his mentor Dannii Minogue. The singer, who is suffering from a chest infection, said he was boosted by his Colchester welcome.

“From tonight, I feel the support now,” he said. “I have been in a bubble for the last three months. But coming out and seeing the support first hand is just incredible.”

n What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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