Former X Factor stars Little Mix - aka Jade, Leigh-Anne, Jesy and Perrie - reveal all about their hot new talent search to find the next big thing...
Little Mix exploded onto the music scene in 2011 as the first group ever to win ITV talent show The X Factor.
Since then, the pop quartet - Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall - have bagged countless awards, enjoyed a string of No.1 hits and sold 50 million records worldwide, making them one of the biggest-selling girl groups of all-time. But, as far as they’re concerned, nothing beats performing to a live crowd on one of their sell-out tours.
Having been brought together as soloists on The X Factor, Little Mix - whose hits include Shout Out To My Ex, Wings and Power - are all in agreement that their success lies in being a four-piece and that, when they perform as one on stage, that’s where the magic happens.
So now, nearly 10 years on from when they were first discovered, the pop princesses are looking for ‘incredible singers to form a new band’ - could be a boy band, a girl group or a mixed group - to support them on stage on their next tour as they kick off BBC1’s brand-new talent show, Little Mix: The Search, which starts on Saturday night.
Here, we chat to Little Mix - Perrie, Jesy, Leigh-Anne and Jade - about giving the next generation a taste of their success…
What makes Little Mix: The Search different from other talent shows?
Leigh-Anne: "This is different from other shows because we’ve been in their shoes and lived this experience, so we've got a lot of knowledge to give them." Jade: "Yeah, we’ve been in this industry nearly 10 years now, so we know what we're talking about." Jesy: "When a person is nervous, it can completely take over their vocals and sometimes you don’t hear their full potential. As singers, we understand that, but I don’t think other shows always take that into consideration."
You kick off this week with The Search for a boyband. What kind of judges are you?
Jesy: "Ha, ha! I think we all bring something completely different to the table. We’ve all got different tastes in terms of what we look for in a vocalist and in a group." Leigh-Anne: "I’ve realised I'm far too sensitive, I need to stop crying." Perrie: "I’d say I'm fair but also a bit picky. And I didn't think we’d disagree so much…" Jade: "There has been a divide at times when some of us have said ‘yes’ to someone and the rest of us have said ‘no’. It’s been quite daunting having to say ‘no’ to people - I think all four of us have lost sleep knowing we’re shattering someone’s dreams!"
You all give very tough critique during the Rehearsal. You seem to know exactly what you’re looking for when it comes to putting these groups together…
Perrie: "That just comes with the experience of being in a group for so many years; we know the dynamic, we know what works and what doesn't. We hit the jackpot when we got together because of our chemistry, our friendship, everything - and to think initially it was all based on our height! So, as mentors, we had to watch for every little thing when coming to a decision of who to have in a group."
Why is it important these hopefuls get to do a ‘concert audition’ before you choose the final band?
Jesy: "Because then immediately you see who’s made for the stage and who isn’t. Some people crumble on their own in the audition room in front of us but then they get on the stage with their other band members and instantly they’re like born performers. When I auditioned for The X Factor as a soloist, I was so nervous but when I got with the girls I was like a new performer. It’s crazy how three other people can make you feel different on stage."
What five things make a great band?
Jesy: "Chemistry, passion, hard work…" Leigh-Anne: "Talent…" Jesy: "And friendship." Perrie: "When we met on The X Factor, we were all on the same wavelength from the get-go. We soon became best friends and then, when we sang together, it was unreal. We were the same kind of girl with the same mentality of wanting the same thing and wanting to work hard for it. None of us could have achieved any of this without each other."
The live shows - hosted by Chris Ramsey - were postponed due to lockdown. How are you feeling about The Search going live?
Jade: "Well, lockdown has meant that the bands have had even more time to gel and work out exactly who they want to be as a band. We’ve done a few Zoom calls with each of the bands and we’re like proud mums, seeing what they’ve been rehearsing. So, in terms of building a connection as a group, they’re probably at an advantage because they’ve had months to rehearse. So there’s no excuses really, when the live shows come around, these bands should be ready to go!"
Little Mix: The Search starts on Saturday September 26 at 7pm on BBC1 (see our TV Guide for more shows to enjoy).
With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!
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