After what the shy singer's been through already in his short life, he deserves every success
Last week I blogged about the lovely Marvin Humes from JLS and he phoned me to say thanks for what I’d written, bless him. Thanks Marv! Ever the gentleman.
This week, I’m writing about another gentleman – Jahmene Douglas.
With the grand finale of The X Factor fast-approaching, hopefully James Arthur is certain to win (let’s face it, Union J aren’t going to come first and the less said about Baloney Maloney the better), but it’s no exaggeration to say that the best singer in the competition is Jahmene.
Has been since the beginning.
Now, I’m not usually a fan of contestants (or rather, ITV producers) wheeling out sob stories to garner votes, but Jahmene‘s background is so utterly terrifying and such a tale of triumph over adversity, it’s worth mentioning.
He’s not made a big deal about it or used it to his advantage – he’s in the semi-final purely on his talent – but when you look at what he’s gone through to get there, he’s deserving of the recognition he’s getting.
His mum Mandy was subjected to years of domestic abuse by his father Eustace, a convicted rapist.
Eventually jailed for nine years after attacking Mandy and being found guilty of grievous bodily harm when Jahmene was just 11, Eustace had tortured her in front of her children, dragging her around the house naked before using a blowtorch to brand’ her.
When the police came, I didn’t even recognise her face,’ Jahmene, 21, admitted recently. She had hair missing and her eyes were puffed out, black and glazed over.’
He’s also revealed he was so petrified of his father, who was violent to him and his two brothers and sister too, that he rarely spoke at home’ for fear of getting hit.
Jahmene even attempted suicide with an overdose of painkillers aged 15 because he couldn’t see a way out’ but his brother Daniel smashed down the bathroom door and saved him.
Tragically, after their father’s release from prison after five years, the scumbag came after the family once again and it all proved too much for Daniel, who took his own life.
In his suicide note, he praised Jahmene and told him never stop singing’.
Despite all this, Jahmene, who is understandably fiercely close to his proud mum, has an incredibly philosophical, forgiving and calm attitude about it all.
Our struggles are what make us stronger,’ he has said. I’m still here and happy. Don’t let anyone take your happiness.’
So you know when you watch the show on Saturday night that he means every word of every one of those tear-jerking songs he sings, and why winning a TV talent show means more to him, and runs so much deeper, than any of us may be able to comprehend.
SEE PICTURES The X Factor UK judges make their debut at Birmingham auditions
SEE PICTURES Tulisa Contostavlos joins The X Factor judges for Manchester auditions