We're X-cited to join show on tour
WINNER James Arthur will be headlining a seven-strong line-up as The X Factor live tour rolls into Sheffield's Motorpoint Arena.
James was busking in the street and playing in his local pub a year ago.
He went on to hit the top of the UK charts with his version of Impossible – proof that the show can transform the lives of ordinary people.
District3, otherwise known as Micky, Greg and Dan, were under the wings of judge Louis Walsh on the hit ITV show.
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Since making the final seven and performing in front of millions on TV, they have clocked up 300,000 followers on Twitter.
But for Cleethorpes-born Micky, 18, pursuing a music career has been something of a family affair.
He said: "My parents were singers, I used to listen to them and they encouraged me to sing songs. They don't really sing any more but I've always been interested in music.
"My parents moved from Cleethorpes to London so I could pursue my music career and go as far as I could, so it's really nice to get a reward back from it."
Performing as a band in front of a crowd for the X Factor audition was a first for the boys – unlike some of the fellow contestants who had performed on the pub circuit.
"We hadn't done any singing before as a group," said Micky.
"We had never performed live – we'd stay in our bedrooms doing songs, so we never had that experience. But it wasn't a disadvantage to us – even though we didn't go out and perform, we still worked on our sound."
Micky appeared on our screens in the early weeks of the programme performing I'll Make Love To You by Boyz II Men – probably one of District3's most memorable performances.
It was his dad who saw the group auditions advertised for X Factor.
Micky said: "He just said we ought to go for it, so we just did. We never expected to get as far as we did in the competition – my dad said he did.
"We went into the competition with nothing – it's surreal."
In the judges' houses stage of the competition, the trio flew out to Las Vegas to perform for Louis and guest judge Sharon Osbourne.
"That was an amazing experience but I wish I was 21 because I didn't get the chance to drink, disappointingly," said Micky.
"But there was some amazing views and because we filmed on the top of the hotel it was absolutely incredible.
"Sharon was lovely – we didn't get much time to chat to her because she was busy but she did give us some advice. She said 'be yourself and just go for it'."
One of the group's lowest moments after making it to the live stages of the show was when the judges criticised their Halloween performance.
They donned costumes from Clockwork Orange to perform a mash-up of Every Breath You Take, by The Police, and Beautiful Monster, by Ne-Yo.
Micky said the show didn't allow the boys to be themselves.
He said: "Because we were going into a live performance situation in front of lots of viewers, we didn't quite know who we were. We got confused because we didn't go into it knowing who we were."
Micky stands by his mentor Louis, saying he was "very helpful".
And he said the exposure from the show had boosted the band's fanbase. Micky said: "Singing songs and having our faces on TV each week was good and that's a big advantage singing live.
"Just singing helped improve our voices – singing in your bedroom is different because you're singing without a microphone."
Micky, said he was excited about the tour.
He said: "I'm just looking forward to performing – just looking out and seeing 10,000 people screaming.
"I'm looking forward to the whole experience."
This year's X Factor has been a success story for local talent.
Teenager Ella, from Tetney, made it through as the sixth finalist, before losing out to eventual winner James in a sing-off.
And when asked whether controversial Essex singer Rylan deserved to get further than District3 in the contest, Micky said: "The thing is it's about entertainment. Entertainment shouldn't just have singing, Rylan is also a really nice guy and he's so funny.
"He was always centre of attention and he has the X Factor when singing his songs.
"I think Rylan deserved to be there but also Ella shouldn't have gone when she did."
District3 plan to spend the rest of 2013 gigging and writing songs for their album.
Micky said: "Fame is not what you think it's going to be like but don't get me wrong, there's some great perks like free clothes and guitars.
"My advice for those who want a career in music is to use YouTube all the way – it's the way forward.
"Upload your material and send the link to every management company and see how things go."
To buy tickets for the X Factor tour call 0844 338 0000 or visit www.bookingsdirect.com