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The Overtones star says X Factor ‘had its time’ and vows show ‘will be back’

As The Overtones prepare to jet off on their first UK tour in three years after Covid-19 restrictions, it's hard to believe they got their start on ITV singing competition The X Factor.

The quartet, which at the time consisted of Mark Franks, Mike Crawshaw, Darren Everest and Timmy Matley, auditioned for X Factor in 2009 under the name Lexi Joe.

But though they failed to make it through the Boot Camp stages at the time, the group went from strength to strength, landing a Platinum selling album and gaining a loyal legion of fans.

Now their line-up is made up of Mark, Mike, Darren and newcomer Jay James, who himself auditioned for X Factor and made it through to the live shows in 2014.

The lads have now admitted that the show "had its time" – but they believe it will be back.

Chatting exclusively to Daily Star, Mike, Darren and Jay sat down to discuss their upcoming tour and their time on music mogul Simon Cowell's flagship UK show.

Mike said: "I genuinely believe that X Factor, for so many people, has been an incredible stepping stone. The side of the show that discovered talent that would never have otherwise had the opportunity to go out and do what they were born to do, that side of things was just incredible."

But he added: "I guess it probably had its time. I think it did so much good for so many people and I think it got to a point where it was probably the right time to stop it – albeit I actually believe that it’s actually going to come back at some point, because of the opportunities it creates.

"I think there’s a huge desire for that, but for right now I think it’s the right thing, although it’s a show that is missed by many people."

Veteran band member Darren added: "I think it had such a good run, didn’t it? I think it’s fine to have a break for a few years and get everyone’s appetite going again and then I’m sure it’ll come back and be as big as ever.

"It gave so many people a great platform, and you may not go on to be a worldwide star [after the show], but I think in most cases with some exposure on a TV show like that, you’re in a better position career-wise than before you went on it."

Jay, meanwhile, admitted he is "gutted" for the talented singers and bands who have now "lost their opportunity" after the show's axeing.

He said: "I’m gutted for the people who lost their opportunity and their platform – because, let’s face it, there’s really not that many opportunities for new talent to find their light anymore.

"It’s so diluted online and on Spotify and with radio playlists, it’s so difficult now – more difficult than it’s ever been – so to lose one of the big platforms and showcases of real talent is really unfortunate.

"But I’ve been blessed to play a small part in that and I also think it’ll probably return at some point."

Turning their attention to their upcoming 10 tour, which kicks off on May 22, Jay confessed the last few years have been "really, really weird" amid the pandemic, which put a stop to live gigs.

He gushed: "Music is what we love, it’s what we adore – performing music and connecting with people who are looking back at you and giving you that same energy is just so so special to us, something we’ll never ever take for granted."

While Mike added: "We’ve always said that performing on stage is the frontline of what we do. We can spend months in a studio or in the office, sorting out songs, production, artwork.

"But it’s that moment when you stand on stage and you see the reaction of the audience and how it affects them in a wonderful way.

"It’s like a drug, it’s addictive – because seeing that effect on people and seeing the positivity that arises as a result is so wonderful."

And for Darren, it was something a little more cheeky that has him excited to kick off the tour.

He giggled: "Many people who come to our shows know that you won’t understand [the atmosphere] unless you see Mike’s hips in the flesh.

"To be next to that – I'm not sure what to call it – phenomenon, again, it's going to be an amazing thing for me just to be next to that on stage. I'm dribbling now just thinking about it – they're unbelievable!"

The as Mike joked back: "They’ve been slowly coiled and wound up over the last few years!"

Darren chuckled: "I’m scared for Halifax on the opening night! I’m not sure what’s gonna happen on the first two rows!"

The Overtones' 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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