X Factor's Olly: 'I won't win, but I'm enjoying every second'

EVEN superstar Robbie Williams wants to be his friend.Essex boy Olly Murs, 25, is proving that it's not just his singing talent which is winning the voting masses.

Kate McGrath

EVEN superstar Robbie Williams wants to be his friend.

Essex boy Olly Murs, 25, is proving that it's not just his singing talent which is winning the voting masses.

Three months ago the down-to-earth Witham resident was singing karaoke in his local pub - now he's singing live to millions of people on ITV's The X Factor.

In fact, Olly is tipped as one of the favourites to win the show. A few bookmakers are offering odds of 11/2 for him to take the crown, despite his mentor Simon Cowell's admission that he thought the singer was “a risk” and “not the best singer in the world”.

Not even former-office worker Olly, who admits to being anything but modest, believes he can win the show.

Most Read

Speaking during a break from rehearsals in London this week, he said: “I cannot believe I have even got this far.

“I do not truly believe I can win this competition, but I'm going to enjoy every minute and give it my absolute best. I feel so fortunate to be here. It's what I have always wanted to do.

“I'll be stressed when I need to be and feel the pressure when I need too, but at the end of the day it's my dream and I'm going to make sure I love every single minute.

“I'd rather be here than anywhere else in the entire world.”

Olly first captured the nation's hearts with his first audition in front of the X Factor judges Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Dannii Minogue and Louis Walsh.

His rendition of Stevie Wonder's Superstition, with his trademark dance moves and his cheeky Essex chap personality immediately endeared himself to the masses.

Olly's appeal, it seems, is universal. Superstar Robbie Williams, who performed his comeback single Bodies on the show on Sunday, declared he was backing 'nice guy' Olly and said he wouldn't mind him 'being my mate'.

“It's all a bit surreal. I can't get my head round it,” added Olly, who used to work at recruitment agency, Prime Appointments in Witham.

“Even in this short time, the X Factor experience has completely changed my life. I used to sing in pubs as a bit of a laugh, but now I'm here entertaining the nation. It's mad. Even though my life has changed, I don't feel any different. I'm still the same guy. It's a bit hard to explain really.”

This isn't the first time Olly, who went to Notley High School, has been on the television, although this time he's hoping to be a little more successful.

In 2007, when Olly was a striker with Witham Town, he appeared on the Channel Four show Deal or No Deal. Unfortunately Olly made just �10 from his 45 minutes of fame.

A serious knee injury a few weeks after his television debut ended his football career, which Olly admitted used to be his life.

“Now when I look back, in a way the injury was the best thing that could have happened to me,” he said.

“I truly believe that things happen for a reason. Because I wasn't playing anymore I started going to pubs and started singing in pubs, just karaoke to start. After a night of karaoke at my local The George in Witham, the landlord John said he would pay me to do an entire gig. I think I got about �150 for the night, but I knew from then what I wanted to do. I guess I owe it to John for believing in me.”

During the week the X Factor finalists, now down to 11 acts after Kandy Rain got voted off the show on Sunday, all live in a house in London.

Loyal to the other contestants, Olly refused to reveal who he thinks will win the show and denied any negative competiveness between them.

He said: “The house is such a good laugh.

“I wish I could tell you otherwise, dish the dirt, but we genuinely all get on very well. I'm mixing with people who the same drive and ambition as me.

“I get on well with Stacey from Dagenham. She's brilliant. And the twins are brilliant. If I'm having a bad day, they can proper cheer you up. They are always upbeat and doing funny stuff. Dan is a clean freak. Jamie is the messy one.”

Unfortunately, Olly wasn't able to reveal what song he'll be singing tonight to save himself for leaving the show, but he did promise “a lot more personality”.

“Each week I want to bring more of my personality to the show, be more cheeky with the judges and give the public a taste of the real Olly. Everything I do, is the real me. I would never try to be anyone different. There is also a lot more dancing to come.”

Finally, Olly added: “I'd like to thank every one of my supporters, my family and friends, for getting behind me.

“I couldn't do it without them. I just hope I can make them proud.”

- The X Factor will be on ITV tonight at 8pm.