Since its inception in 2004, X Factor has produced some of the biggest artists in the country and 17-year-old Annabel Pike hopes she’s the next.
One quarter of ‘urban’ girl group Girl Next Door, the Leyland teenager has taken her first step after impressing Simon Cowell on the Saturday night singing competition.
Several online reviews have already hailed them as ‘the next Little Mix’, who won the competition in 2011, and the band progressed through to the show’s bootcamp stage after gaining three out of four of the judges yes votes with their cover of Usher’s ‘Yeah’.
The group already has pedigree after being put together by the man who formed Take That in the 90s, Nigel Martin-Smith, and Simon praised the group’s preparation and said he was impressed with the audition.
“It’s not the best vocal I’ve heard, but your attempt to get the harmonies right is really impressive. It was all a little bit laid back for me – push yourselves a bit more – but I was impressed with that audition, I’ve got to tell you.”
The group also won over celebrity judges and fan favourites Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh but former Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger didn’t think they were ready for the competition.
“I thought you did a nice audition, I really appreciate the preparation, but I don’t know if you’re ready yet,” she said. “I still think it’s a bit premature, but I think keep working at it.
“I actually really like you girls a lot, I love your energy and your spirit, but I’m sorry girls – I don’t think you’re ready yet, so I’m going to say no.”
But Nicole’s vote proved to be irrelevant and Annabel’s mum Judith believes they have what it takes to go all the way.
“We’re really proud of her because this is all she’s ever wanted to do,” she said. “As her mum I think they can go really far, Annabel is so dedicated, it’s always been her dream and her ambition.”
And Judith says her daughter’s journey started at Balshaw’s Church of England High School, Leyland, where she was head girl and played the lead in all the school’s musicals.
Now attending Shelagh Elliott-Clarke Centre of Excellence in Liverpool, Annabel joined Girl Next Door as the youngest member, 16 at the time, after performing at Mr Martin-Smith’s girl band audition in April earlier this year.
“She’s doing 12 hour days between college and rehearsing because she’s that dedicated,” Judith said. “However far the girls get in X Factor, I think they’ll stick together and become a success.”