Ipswich: Union J’s JJ Hamblett talks about homecoming show at the Regent

JJ Hamblett of X-Factor boyband Union J, heading to Ipswich next January

JJ Hamblett of X-Factor boyband Union J, heading to Ipswich next January - Credit: Archant

Union J’s JJ Hamblett can’t wait to visit his home county of Suffolk as part of the X Factor boyband’s debut headline UK tour. Right now though, we’re talking about bandmate Josh Cuthbert’s bottom; or his doll’s bottom to be more specific.

Union J - Jaymi Hensley, Josh Cuthbert, JJ Hamblett and George Shelley

Union J - Jaymi Hensley, Josh Cuthbert, JJ Hamblett and George Shelley - Credit: Archant

“He wanted his bum extended because his bum’s very large,” laughs Hamblett. “They (the dolls) are amazing. The company did One Direction, Little Mix, JLS dolls... when we held them in our hands for the first time it was really, really peculiar and I suppose it’s going to be really weird seeing them in the shops, our faces (everywhere), but they’re so realistic, it’s incredible.”

Jaymi Hensley, Cuthbert, Hamblett and George Shelley bring their Magazines and TV Screens UK tour, with support from Room 94, to the Ipswich Regent on Friday, January 3.

“I’m absolutely buzzing because that’s going to be my local gig,” says Hamblett, from Newmarket. “Hopefully all my friends and family are going to come, it’s going to be wicked.”

The former jockey, who notched up 24 winners out of 260 or so races over six years, tries to get home when he can; he’s just glad to be so busy.

“Now we’ve got our second single (Beautiful Life) and the album (Union J) out and the tour we’re starting to get very busy again; we kind of moan when we’re not working and start panicking a little bit,” he laughs.

“It’s an absolute honour to release an album... we’ve worked for this and it’s paid off. We never in a million years thought we’d release an album and we’re doing a signing this week, it’s really really cool.

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“When you ride in race you get that adrenalin rush... it’s the same when you get on stage, when you’re performing in front of thousands of people it’s just an absolute buzz.

“It’s going to be brilliant doing our tour, knowing everyone’s there for us. We had a taster during the X Factor tour, what it would be like to headline our own. We’re really excited, there’s a lot of hard work going into it so hopefully the fans will love it as much as we do.

“I always say this but we wouldn’t be where we are now without them; they’ve been with us from the very start. They got us through the X Factor and stuff and they’re amazing, so loyal.”

Audiences can expect tracks from the album, a few of their X Factor live show covers and some fun, cool surprises too teases Hamblett.

Tours, chart success, fragrances, stationery, jewellery and a double-book deal; all the acts currently competing in the hit ITV1 show would kill for a slice of Hensley, Cuthbert, Hamblett and Shelley’s success.

They may be living the dream, but still describe themselves as four normal guys.

“To be doing what we’re doing a year on... having dolls coming out, headlining our own tour, an album and singles out with all the merchandise it’s just an absolute dream... we pinch ourselves and think how lucky we are, it’s amazing.

“We’re genuinely are like four brothers... the way I act with them is the way I act with my brothers. We have little petty arguments, two minutes later we’ll hug it out. If we have a problem with each other we’ll kind of say it straight away, that’s why we get along so well; we don’t keep things locked up.”

They’re full of praise for the X Factor.

“It’s an amazing platform... and if you put a lot of hard work in, if you want it that much, then hopefully you can have a career after it.”

They’re still fans and watch the show as much as they can. They went back the other Sunday to watch the live results show, meet the contestants and then perform on companion show the Xtra Factor.

“It’s a lot of pressure off, going on the stage and actually performing but it was weird not having the judges’ opinions. It’s a dream come true... on Sunday, one year before, we were in the bottom two (for) the first time. A year on we’re performing on stage as Union J, as an established act, so we’re very grateful.”

Any current contestants caught their eye?

“We all think Sam Bailey is incredible, amazing. Tamera has got the full package... I feel she’ll have a very good career. You know, it’s a tough year... you’ve got Kingsland Road, Rough Copy...”

Back to the tour; any message for the fans?

“I think it’s our first time in Ipswich so we’re looking forward to seeing you all and hopefully you’ll enjoy the show; we love you lots.”

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