HER dream of winning the X Factor came crashing down last year when she was sent home after the show’s gruelling six-chair challenge.
Determined, Caitlyn Vanbeck did not let the experience get in the way of her goal and managed to make a jaw-dropping comeback this series.
The 18-year-old, from Tranent, is set to compete in the nail biting round again this weekend in a bid to make it to the judges’ houses.
Following her stunning bootcamp performance and emotional audition, Caitlyn, a former winner of Edinburgh Has Talent, has become a firm favourite of Simon Cowell.
The former pupil of Ross High School was ecstatic when she discovered the music mogul would be mentoring the girls category – after he branded her as talented as pop princess Kelly Clarkson.
Caitlyn said: “I was totally ecstatic when I discovered Simon was going to be mentoring me.
“I think everyone could see it on my face when he came through that door.
“The comments I’ve had from him have been amazing, I was secretly hoping for him.”
Viewers will learn this weekend whether Caitlyn – who auditioned for the show at the Assembly Rooms earlier this year – has lived up to the judge’s high expectations.
The six-chair challenge sees the remaining contestants in each category battle it out for a coveted space at the judges’ houses – where the final three for the live shows are then chosen.
Caitlyn said: “Last year the six-chair challenge was very daunting because I was only 17. I was competing against a lot of older people. I feel like this year I have a point to prove, and I’m a bit more aware of my surroundings. I’m nervous about living up to expectations.
“I’ve had amazing comments so far, I want to keep getting better – especially since Simon is counting on me.”
Caitlyn, studying to be a primary teacher at Edinburgh University, said it had been difficult juggling her studies.
She said: “It’s been quite hard because I’ve had quite a lot to submit for university. My mum and dad have been so supportive and between them, I get a good balance between music and my studies.
“If I make it to the live stages of the competition I’d have to move to London, so I’d really have to sit down and think about what to do with university.”
Following her TV appearances, Caitlyn said people have been stopping to speak to her in the street. She said: “Seeing myself on TV still feels like a dream. It just doesn’t feel real.”