Liam Rudden: Caitlyn Vanbeck has The X Factor

Caitlyn Vanbeck
Caitlyn Vanbeck
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THE X Factor. Normally I avoid it like the plague. Third rate acts and massive egos, relying on sob stories to win sympathy... and votes. It makes a mockery of the truly talented out there.

This series, however, I might just break the habit of a lifetime and watch.

The reason is simple - this time around there’s an exception to the rule and best of all, we discovered her first.

Edinburgh Has Talent, the Evening News’ long-running talent search that popped up in various venues across the Capital over the years, showcased a lot of great local acts.

To be honest, it also threw up the odd duff one too.

Still, there was never any denying that Caitlyn Vanbeck, who won the competition at the Playhouse in 2011, shone brighter than most.

Even then she was something special. I already knew that, as she had also been cast in the panto I was directing for the Brunton Theatre at the time. She was a great all-rounder. Not only could she sing, but she could dance and act as well.

Just 13 years old when she sang in that Edinburgh Has Talent Final, Caitlyn brought the house down with a powerful rendition of Adele’s Don’t You Remember.

She was a little girl with a big voice and it was clear a performing career was hers for the asking.

As head judge on that occasion, I remember what made her performance all the more impressive was the fact that she had just returned from holiday the night before. With little time to prepare (just a wee practice in the car on the way to the event) she nailed it nonetheless.

The reaction of the audience - they roared the place down - and those of the judges, said it all.

Seldom did we all agree. In Caitlyn’s case it was unanimous, as I recall.

On winning, Caitlyn, then a pupil at Ross High School in Tranent, said, “I’m still in shock - I can’t believe it.”

So I can only imagine how she must be feeling now to discover that, five years later, and on her second attempt, she is now the bookies’ favourite to win the current series of The X-Factor.

Not only that, she has been hailed the new Louisa Johnson and compared with Kelly Clarkson.

While comparisons are never really helpful, the fact Simon Cowell likened her to Clarkson, with whom he worked, is certainly no bad thing.

The comparison with Johnson (who I admit I had to look up - told you I didn’t watch The X Factor normally) too could prove prophetic.

In the last series, Johnson also appeared in the first show and then remained favourite to win... until she did just that.

Of course, the public can be fickle taskmasters, so we just have to keep our fingers crossed that 2016 is Caitlyn’s year.

Whatever happens, there’s little doubt in my mind that the girl whose voice reduced Nicole Scherzinger to tears, is already a star.