East Anglia’s got talent - 9 top TV reality contestants, from Olly Murs to Jon Courtenay
- Credit: Archant
There’s so much talent in our region. After Jon Courtenay’s BGT triumph, we’re looking back at others who have hit the reality TV spotlight.
Jon, who grew up in Ipswich and Martlesham, won the Britain’s Got Talent final on Saturday night, scooping a £250,000 prize and a spot in the Royal Variety Show.
The comedy musician, whose real name is Jonathan Young, is a former pupil at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook.
He wasn’t the only Suffolk act to do well in the contest, as ten-year-old Souparnika Nair, a pupil at Sebert Wood Community Primary School in Bury St Edmunds, made it through to the semi final stage.
Musicians from Felsted School, Sana, 16, her brother Shesh, 14 and Charles, 16, also performed in the semi-finals as part of the Chineke! Junior Orchestra.
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These are just some of the other East Anglian acts who have wowed the nation in talent shows.
Olly Murs - The X Factor
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Born in Witham, Olly shot to stardom via the top talent show in 2009, despite losing out in the final to Joe McElderry.
He has since sold more than 10 million records and released four number one albums, as well as having a career as a TV presenter and being a coach on the third series of The Voice.
He recently announced that he would return to his home town, Colchester, for the final show of his summer tour in 2021, when he will perform his biggest hits and tracks from his triple platinum album Never Been Better.
Olly is also a huge football fan, and captained England in this year’s Soccer Aid. He played for Coggeshall Town after getting back into football in 2016, and is now a director of the club.
MORE: Olly Murs to present closing show of 2021 summer tour in ColchesterJade Mayjean - The Voice
Singer-songwriter Jade, a former Northgate High School pupil, gained national fame when she appeared in The Voice, with Kylie Minogue as her mentor.
She went on to release an album, 20Sixty, in 2018, and has built a hugely successful career performing gigs in Suffolk and beyond.
However, Jade has said it isn’t stardom which has given her the most pleasure, but helping young people, as a support worker and a facilitator for Girls Where You At? sessions in Ipswich. She has called for more support for reality show contestants once they leave the show.
Myleene Klass - Popstars
The top singer, presenter and model, who grew up in Gorleston, became a household name when she won a place in the band Hear’Say on Popstars in 2001. After huge initial success, with two number one hit singles, the band split and Myleene embarked on a successful solo career in classical music.
In 2006, she starred in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and she has hosted numerous shows, including BBQ Champ. It was announced last month that she would appear in the 2021 series of Dancing on Ice - and she has also just announced her engagement to partner Simon Motson.
Nate James - The Voice
The singer-songwriter from Woodbridge had already achieved success before appearing on the show in 2013, where he was mentored by Jessie J but lost out in the battle rounds.
Nate, who was born in Lakenheath, has received three MOBO award nominations and sold more than one million albums internationally.
He has also worked with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Norah Jones and Chaka Khan and written songs for Lemar, Craig David and Blue.
Leanne Mitchell - The Voice
Leanne, from Lowestoft, was the first-ever winner of The Voice in 2012, after being guided to success by mentor Sir Tom Jones.
She released a cover of the Whitney Houston hit Run to You, and went on to release an album in 2013.
She was dropped by her record company the following year after the album flopped, but continued to perform.
Matt Cardle - The X Factor
Since winning The X Factor in 2010, the Essex singer has enjoyed multi-platinum recording success, and clocked up more than 20 million streams of his songs, as well as being a Brit award nominee.
He is also a West End star, having completed sold-out runs in Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom and Jesus Christ Superstar at London’s Barbican Theatre.
Matt grew up in Halstead and went to the independent Stoke College near Haverhill, before studying music at Colchester Institute and media at Braintree College.
He has often performed around East Anglia, and headlined the Homegrown Festival near Bury St Edmunds in 2014, as well as performing several sell-out shows at The Apex in the town.
Matt Edwards - Britain’s Got Talent
Comedy magician Matt, who grew up in Needham Market, won the nation’s heart with his wacky routines in the 2017 series of BGT. He received Ant and Dec’s Golden Buzzer and made it through to the finals.
Matt started doing magic tricks at the age of five, and went on to gett his first “professional gig” at 14, entertaining diners at an Ipswich restaurant.
He moved to Spain as a 16-year-old, working as a magician at a friend’s bar. He is in huge demand and his career has taken him around the world, performing for many large companies, celebrities and even royalty.
The magician now has a starring role as an alien magician in a new series, Pan Tau, which has been made for German TV but in English and with a mainly British cast.
De’Vide - The Voice
Ipswich rap duo Barny Holmes and Lex Flowers got Jessie J to turn around in the 2013 series of The Voice, but lost out in the battle round.
However, they said they had learned a lot. Lex said: “Jessie is a real inspiration to work with, she taught us so much and really instilled a lot of confidence, motivation and determination.”
Barny, who also appeared in The X Factor in 2012, performed with Ed Sheeran at various Suffolk venues as a teenager. He now lives in Norwich and performs a wide range of gigs, including everything from rock to hip hop, R’n’B and soul.