In a matter of months, a young singer from Stopsley has seen his life “change forever”, as boyband Union J were propelled to stardom in this year’s X Factor.
Jaymi Hensley, 22, finished fourth in the competition on Sunday with his group Union J, and despite not winning, the boys are already in talks with record companies and have high hopes for the future.
Jaymi, Josh Cuthbert and JJ Hamblett only got together eight weeks before the X Factor auditions, and added George Shelley to the band during the show, but they’ve grown so close they now call each other brothers.
Speaking to the Luton News yesterday, ex-Putteridge High School student Jaymi said: “It has literally been the best experience of my life, and I speak for all the boys when I say that. It’s completely changed our lives, made us better performers, better people, made us professional.
“It’s the best thing in the world, in the space of three months we are now ready, we are a band.”
An exhausted Jaymi is spending a few days catching up on sleep before he returns to the X Factor to perform in Saturday’s final.
He said: “It’s been really nice to come home – I’ve slept all day. As soon as they called Jahmene’s name [on Sunday], the bubble burst, and the stress, the limbo, it all went.
“Now I’m sat in my onesie, watching TV, just like I was before X Factor. It’s nice to think about how far we’ve come, but we are still four normal kids and we can just enjoy all our hard work now.”
Proud mum Jackie Hensley, who has tirelessly promoted Union J in Luton, said: “Everyone keeps saying to us how as a family we must be so proud, as they are all such lovely boys. They are so positive about the future, and it’s amazing that they have come so far.”
Union J were mentored by legendary boyband manager Louis Walsh, and Jaymi speaks very highly of the X Factor judge.
He said: “Louis is ace. He is like our best friend, and I think it showed in our relationship with him on the show, we got on so well.”
Louis promised the boys that if they got through to the semi-finals he would wear a onesie, and he stayed true to his word on Saturday’s show.
Jaymi said: “I think he is becoming addicted to onesies now. We’ve changed him for the better!”
Of the three finalists James Arthur, Jahmene Douglas, and Christopher Maloney, who will compete for the X Factor crown this weekend, Jaymi is hoping Jahmene will win.
He said: “Jahmene is the most amazing person, so humble, so talented. He is just a beautiful person. But James Arthur, I’d like to see him win as well, and I know how much this means to Chris. I love them all. We lost out to three worthy contestants.”
There’s not much time for Jaymi to rest as the X Factor arena tour starts in January, and Union J are already planning their debut album.
Until then, Jaymi said: “It’s going to be a wonderful Christmas and New Year for my family, everything is brilliant, our lives have changed forever. I am so excited for the future.”