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Claudia Redmond speaks to X Factor sensation Johnny Robinson about his Irish roots



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THE PUBLIC fell in love with Johnny Robinson when he sang Etta James’ song At Last for his X Factor audition last year.

He got four votes of confidence from judges Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow, Tulisa and Kelly Rowland, who described him as “lovely, sugary and delicious!”

His boundless energy and enthusiasm caught people’s imaginations. Gary Barlow said at the auditions: “I think you have a great personality and people are really going to warm to you.” Warm to him they did, and continue to do so. Johnny has been a regular face on ITV’s This Morning and was also top of the bill at Trabolgan Holiday Village in Cork recently, where we caught up with him.


Is this your first time in Trabolgan?

Yes. I’ve only done three holiday camps so far — Butlins and one in Great Yarmouth which was very nice. Usually I change the set list around as I don’t want to have it all fast, as I like to do it for the mums and dads. They like me and it is about family entertainment.


So what’s usually on your set list?

I do the full version of the Etta James song At Last because all the women love it. And then That Old Devil Called Love. Then a few upbeat ones, You Spin Me Round and a bit of Kylie which everyone loves. Hopefully we get the balance right and everyone is happy.


Is this your first time in Ireland?

No. I have been to Ireland about 10 times now since X Factor. I only went abroad when I went to judges’ houses, as the last time I had been abroad was over 20 years ago. I didn’t even have a passport! so when I got through to judges’ houses I thought “Oh my God!” I didn’t expect it — I didn’t expect one let alone four ‘yes’ votes.


And your mum was from Ireland, wasn’t she?

Yes from Castledermot in Co. Kildare so I have Irish blood.


You are obviously enjoying yourself as the journey continues…

Yes the journey does continue. You go into the show and come out and do the club circuit. I went in hoping to get work but I didn’t expect to go into television like I have done. Every day you learn something new which is a true saying and doing ITV as well has been fantastic, they have been very, very good to me.


I saw you playing Dot Cotton on This Morning, you were very convincing!

I don’t know if that is a good thing! I hope it was okay. This Morning are very kind to me — Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford are supportive, everyone on the team is. It has developed me more as a performer and an entertainer because I am learning more new things every day. I find the behind-the-scenes part of television fascinating. I love watching what the technical guys are up to.


Has it been fun working alongside Benidorm star Sherrie Hewson?

It is great working with Sherrie. We have both been judging the Miss Senior Citizen Competition on This Morning. It is really difficult as they are all gorgeous and glam, it is very hard to pick as you want to pick them all. They are all really inspiring.



Have you been watching the latest talent search programme Superstar?

Not really, I haven’t had much chance to be honest. I have been really busy also doing Celebrity Big Brother. I have seen snippets. I didn’t see Nathan but heard Andrew Lloyd Webber gave him a dig about his ego. I read that Melanie C is going to be in the production. She will be great.


Would you like to be in a musical?

Oh yes, I would love to be in Kylie The Musical! There is talk of that coming up next year. I’m not very sure but I know it is in the pipeline. I haven’t been approached yet but I would love to do it, that would be great fun — I love Kylie.


What other musicals are you a fan of?

I like The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, Sunset Boulevard and Mamma Mia with all the Abba songs.


You seem to be going from strength to strength with your career…

I am just very lucky with the opportunities I have had. I would love to go into TV a bit more. I am glad my face is being kept on the screen and not disappearing. I also love doing gigs as it is lovely to meet the audience and on TV it is a broader spectrum and people say “oh I remember him”. Everything is all good. Everyone I have spoken to at Trabolgan says how lovely you are.


Is it important to you to be nice to your fans?

You have to be nice at the end of the day. They are people that watched the show and they watched the X Factor on a Saturday night. Manners cost nothing, it is always nice to be polite and it is lovely to see people be themselves.


So are you looking forward to performing tonight?

Yes the crowd sounds amazing! I am a bit nervous — do you think I picked the right songs?


Yes the set list is fantastic!


Johnny didn’t need to be nervous. The crowd both young and old loved him. He got huge cheers after each song and the room was rocking. Johnny Robinson certainly has got the X Factor and long may it continue.



Irish Post

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