SINGER Laura White helped switch on the Christmas lights at Cheshire Oaks just one week after being controversially voted off The X Factor.
The 21-year-old, who lost a sing-off against Ruth Lorenzo on the ITV talent show, spoke exclusively to the Pioneer‘s Chris Smith about the national outcry over her departure.
Laura, a favourite to win, thanked the 20,000-plus people who had signed an Internet petition calling for her reinstatement, referring on-stage on Friday night to the show judge who voted her off: “Now let’s have an I Hate Louis Walsh petition.”
Laura’s voting off was even raised in Parliament.
She said: “It’s been an absolutely mad week.
“I never expected the amount of support I’ve received, it’s what keeps me going.
“I was very upset to be in the bottom two. I’d been called a favourite to win and my mentor Cheryl Cole thinks that possibly counted against me.
“And it’s possible that I was voted out for tactical reasons by the other judges.
“The last week since leaving the show has been crazy.
“The Press I’ve received has been phenomenal and I’ve been on TV and radio shows and done photo shoots and interviews.
“I’ve had absolutely amazing support, I definitely needed it when I left the house the X Factor finalists stay in. It’s been a bit overwhelming.”
A talented pianist and jazz musician, Laura added: “I’m very passionate about music; for me it’s not about the fame but the music.
“I was a bit shy on the show, and not the most outspoken, but what’s wrong with that? So was Leona Lewis.
“I’m now continuing with my songwriting, hoping to get a contract and working as hard as possible.”
Laura has won the admiration of 2005 show winner Shayne Ward, who was also there on Friday.
He told the Pioneer: “Laura should not have gone. She and Ruth should not have been in the bottom two.
“I’m rooting for Alexandra. She was in my year at boot camp but didn’t get through to the finals. She’s fantastic.”
Shayne has just returned from a tour of Asia and spent two months recording in America. He has gigs this Christmas in Minehead and Ireland.
Also appearing on stage was Scott Bruton, a former Redcoat, who was voted off last month.
He said: “I was upset at that but had a chat with Simon Cowell after and realised just what I’ve achieved so far. I’ve had a Number One single (Hero with the other finalists) and sang on stage with Mariah Carey. Now I’m looking forward to the X Factor tour next year.”