In a whirlwind few weeks, Stevi Ritchie has taken to the X Factor stage as Ricky Martin, Freddie Mercury, and the Phantom of the Opera.
It’s a dream come true for the 34-year-old call centre worker who, after years of talent shows and intermittent theatre roles, finally charmed the judges in this year’s singing contest.
He was booted out of the high profile competition following band Only The Young in a double elimination week, having made it to the top 7, but the ride is far from over. Next comes The X Factor Live Tour, and 2015 is looking to be just as busy for Stevi.
“I can’t wait,” he grins, “I’m really looking forward to the next year – in January we start rehearsals.
“We’ll be playing at the O2, Bournemouth International Centre, and so on. They’re all great venues and I can’t wait to go out there and rock up. Just be me and have a ball and have fun. With me what you see is what you get so just have a laugh!
It sounds like the dream, and Stevi certainly has the drive to perform. “I’m gonna work hard,” the entertainer warns, “I won’t let anything get in my way.”
That said, he’s an entertainer by nature, and hints that we may be seeing the return of some of his classic X Factor wardrobe come the tour. “Who knows?” he says mischievously. “They may bring those back into it - a massive performance of what you saw on the Saturday nights.”
Stevi might have forgotten the words to his audition song – but he certainly brought the fun factor to the show. And while he was happiest singing ballads, his priority was to keep things lively.
“I think it would get a bit boring and tedious actually for people, you know, standing there singing all the time.” Saying that, “I achieved what I wanted to achieve,” he put forward the idea of performing Phantom of the Opera’s belter Music of the Night. Luckily, mentor Simon Cowell agreed.
“Originally they were gonna give me something like Ghostbusters! I took the risk, it paid off and I’m really pleased I’ve done those big numbers and that I went out with a bang.”
The X Factor has already drastically changed this call centre worker’s life – “God yeah, do you know what? It’s amazing how to think that months ago no one knew who I was and now everyone in the country – and if not where have you been – knows what The X Factor is and a lot of people know whoI am. It’s really nice that people recognise me on the street and ask me for photographs, it’s such a lovely feeling. The X Factor has given me a massive opportunity and opened so many doors now which I never thought would be possible so I’m really happy with that.”
And like any star-to-be, Stevi is already dealing with the other side of fame: groupies! “I’ve got a bit of a following so far,” he grins mischievously. “Quite a few who have said, ‘we love you, we follow you, we think you’re funny,’ it’s really flattering actually. I’m sure I’m not the only contestant who’s got that, of course, and I think Ben Haenow’s popularity is rising too.”
And while Stevi says, “If Simon was to offer me a recording contract I would take it. Of course I would, I’d be silly not to,” he knows that as an entertainer by nature, other ventures are possible. Taking his new-found celebrity status with a pinch of salt, Stevi remains distinctly down to earth. “Because at the end of the day you can’t be fussy in this business and you can’t take nothing[sic] for granted - so I just go along with whatever comes up really!”
“You can’t pick and choose - for me I don’t even call myself any sort of celebrity, I think my profile is now raised a lot more than it was, which is great, but I’m still the same me from day one. I’ve never changed or let anything go to my head: what you see is what you get with me.”
lTo see Stevi on The X Factor 2015 Live Tour go to www.gigsandtours.com / www.ticketmaster.co.uk
lSyndicated interview, editorial supplied by Interview Hub (interviewhub.co.uk) - firstname.lastname@example.org