Suffolk teenager prepares for X-Factor live shows
The parents of a former Samuel Ward Academy student have spoken of their excitement as their son prepares for the X-Factor live shows this weekend.
Jon Guelas, 18, whose family live just outside Haverhill, was put into the new boy band – United Vibe – by mentor Robbie Williams in the hit ITV talent show.
The group then impressed the former Take That star at ‘judges’ houses’ in Los Angeles to get one of his four picks ahead of Saturday’s opening night.
Proud parents Peter and Chariz praised the role of teachers at Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill, where younger brother Charles attends.
Dad Peter said: “We are incredibly proud of how Jon has done but also how he has handled the whole situation. He has been extremely polite and well spoken and that in itself will take him a long way.
“Jon loved the teachers at Samuel Ward Academy and held them all in high regard. And what I can say about all the band is that they genuinely clicked and gelled straight away.
“We had the pleasure of them all spending a few days at our home prior to judge’s house and you can tell they are already the best of friends.
“Whatever happens in the live shows, he has already had a fantastic experience in his life.”
Jon’s rise to a place in the last 16 of the X-Factor is made even more remarkable by the fact his school only became aware of his talent two years ago.
“He was always singing at home but he was a self-taught pianist and guitarist as well as writing his own songs,” Peter said.
“Initially, his older brother, Chris, was the musician and I think that inspired Jon before he took it to the next level.
“He was a keen footballer at school but people started recognising he had huge potential and he was encouraged to apply for X Factor.”
Jenna Powell, assistant headteacher at Samuel Ward Academy, added: “I was planning the end of year 11 leavers’ assembly and asked the class if anyone wanted to sing or perform in it.
“Everyone started saying ‘Jon’s amazing, you should ask Jon’. He had kept quite a low profile with regards to singing in school up until this point, but he agreed to perform a duet with a friend. It was amazing and a very memorable end to the year 11 leavers’ assembly in 2016.”
Tom Radford, Jon’s music teacher at the school, said: “Jon always showed promise as a young performer whilst studying for his music GCSE.
“His innate ability to communicate the meaning of the lyrics he sings through the use of his distinctively colourful voice, alongside his flair for writing moving songs of his own, mean that his performances always captivate his audience.”
That potential was also spotted by Robbie Williams who advised Jon not to go to university to study marketing as he had a big future in music.
Peter added: “We have always encouraged him to try his hardest to fulfil his dreams but also to have a back-up plan if it doesn’t work out.
“Jon is delighted to have Robbie as his mentor. He told me that Robbie is very down to earth and when they were having a barbecue at ‘judges’ houses’, Robbie was very laid back – it felt like they were just hanging out with one of the lads.
“Jon’s mum is his biggest mentor and we know he will be working very hard this week preparing for Saturday night. We can’t wait to see it.”