After making her panto debut in Torquay last year, X Factor’s Jade Ellis is back for more in Southsea this Christmas.
She’s the Genie of the Lamp in Aladdin at the Kings from December 9-January 4 (tickets on 023 9282 8282).
It was on X Factor a couple of years ago that Jade first hit the headlines with her soulful vocals in a run cut short by her controversial early exit following a dramatic sing-off with boy band Union J.
She claimed she was unfairly given the boot because she was too much of a threat to the judges’ other acts.
Two years on, she’s happy to look back on it all as a massive confidence-booster in her career.
“I always loved musical theatre, and throughout school and college, I majored in musical theatre. But then I was a parent and had to stop doing it for a very long time. I was sitting at home just doing all the normal mum stuff when I decided to go for X Factor. It sounds really silly, but you know at the end where they say ‘Do you think you can do this?’ Well, I just thought to myself that I could do it!
“And I got such a lot of confidence out of the whole thing. As a young mum, I was going to work and everything, and I think as a young woman, a lot of my confidence was being taken away. I was 19 when I became a mum, and if you are that young, you think that a lot of people are watching you and waiting for you to mess it up, and I just felt all my confidence seeping away. But when I got to the age of 25 and my daughter was five or six years old, I thought ‘I just need to go for this!’ I felt that I had to do something about it. “Because I was not a gigging artist, like a lot of the other acts were, I didn’t know how to judge myself, but I just enjoyed every minute of it. To be honest, an artist like myself is not really best suited to the X Factor. I am just grateful that I was given the chance. X Factor is more suited to boy bands and to very young female singers. Or people with stories, Susan Boyle, that kind of thing. That’s what they want. But I think I was just very lucky to be given the chance to get that confidence that I got from the show.”
And now panto is adding another strand to her career.
“Last year was my first panto experience, and I really enjoyed it. It just took a bit of time to get over being so silly all the time, but once I got over it, I just really enjoyed doing it.”
Jade’s eight-year-old daughter enjoyed the experience of having her mum in the show: “But I was in Jack and the Beanstalk, and I think everyone was eclipsed by the giant!
“But really with a panto, to be honest, it is just about having fun. That’s the main thing you get from a panto. Stressing about it and getting nervous is not necessarily the most important thing. It is just about having a good time, and if you are having a good time on stage, then the people in the audience will be having a good time too.
“I am playing the genie. Last year I was the fairy, so really it is continuing the magic. And I think I am going to be a cheeky genie. We are being directed by Simon again, and he will let you try to do new things. Ultimately it is his decision, but he will let always let you try things to see if they work.”