One X Factor star who missed out on a spot in the final showed Simon Cowell who was boss when rejecting his advice landed him a charting single – and made show history.
Jay James, who made it to the live shows back in 2014, is now the fourth member of iconic band The Overtones, who have sold more than half a million records as a vocal harmony group.
Their album Good Ol' Fashioned Love peaked at number 4 in the UK Albums Charts in 2011, and was certified Platinum after sky-high sales.
Now Jay and his bandmates Mike Crawshaw and Darren Everest have reflected back on their individual X Factor journeys, going from failed boot camp experiences to appearing on shows like The Xtra Factor and Dancing on Ice as the house band.
Jay first auditioned for X Factor in 2014, making the live finals in series 11 mentored by Simon in the Over 26s category.
But he wasn't the only one, as the original Overtones line-up – consisting of Darren, Mike, Mark Franks and the late Timmy Matley – also auditioned for the show in 2009 under the name Lexi Joe.
They sadly didn't make it past the Boot Camp stage, despite receiving "standing ovations" from audiences.
Speaking exclusively to Daily Star, Jay explained that show boss Simon Cowell is "a lot different" in real life than he appears on the programme – but Jay wasn't scared to go against the grain and reject his suggestions.
He explained: "My experience of the X Factor and with the early rounds was that I didn’t really want to be anyone other than the person that I was.
I let Simon know that really, really early on, and he just allowed me to do everything that I wanted to do, to be honest.
"There were a few different moments on the show where essentially there were suggestions coming at me about what I should do and how I should do it. When I suggested, 'Oh, it might be cooler if I could do it this way, or do this', I was really supported by him.
"In particular there was one week – week two or three of live shows – he suggested a song and I asked if i could do something different.
"He told me to go away and think about what song I would do and I chose to do 500 Miles, and what came from that was the first X Factor live performance outside the winner's single to chart."
Jay added: "Simon's energy and support in allowing me to do that really paid off. I’ve got nothing but really good things to say about Simon."
He explained that while he "loved" his experience on the show, fame felt "alien" to him.
Jay said: "I loved my experience on there, but weirdly at the end of the X Factor I felt the whole experience was a little bit alien.
"I wasn't really prepared for the celebrity aspect of the show, I didn't anticipate that.
"Now everyone knows The Overtones and they know them for the right reasons – music, and making people feel good, and caring very little about being famous and doing certain things to become famous. It’s all about the music. That’s something I’ve always shared and wanted to do."
And it's clear the other lads share his vision, as Darren admitted "everything happens for a reason".
Speaking of auditioning as Lexi Joe, he said: "We tried everything as a band back then, and we were desperate to get our big break.
"We said that one of the last things we’ll try would be X Factor and we gave it a go, and it was all going really well – we were getting standing ovations, and I think the bookies had us tipped to win it, which was amazing at the time."
He added: "For one reason or another we didn’t get through to the latter rounds, but looking back now, everything happens for a reason.
"It made us realise that we had what it takes, because we saw the audience's reaction and it made us an even tighter knit unit and gave us more belief.
"We took a few weeks out and came back and said, 'Right, let’s make it happen', and I think it was literally a few months after that where it all started to fall into place for us. It's all part of the learning curve!"
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And whatever the secret is, it certainly worked for The Overtones, as they're heading off on tour to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the band.
The new '10' album features collaborations with the likes of Michael Ball and Marisha Wallace.
Along with performing their feel good tracks, they have also launched a campaign to give away 250 free tickets to Ukrainian refugees and their host families in the UK.
Tickets for the tour, which kicks off on May 22, can be purchased here.
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