After rejections, knock-backs and heartbreak, a Luton lad’s dreams are finally coming true as he wins a place in the X Factor finals.
Jaymi Hensley, 22, and his band Union J will be one of 12 acts performing in the ITV live shows which start on Saturday.
The ex-Putteridge High School student was devastated when his group were kicked out in an earlier round, but a dramatic twist saw them called back, and on Sunday’s show judge Louis Walsh put them through to the finals.
Jaymi told the Luton News: “It’s been a complete rollercoaster of emotions, but we are so happy to be in the live shows.
“We are so thankful Louis saw something in us and gave us the chance to sing live to the nation.”
The group were previously a threesome known as Triple J, but after being sent home from bootcamp, Jaymi, Jamie ‘JJ’ Hamblett and Josh Cuthbert added George Shelley to the group and became Union J.
Jaymi’s mum, Jackie Hensely, said: “It was so good watching them at the weekend – when they found out they were through they all jumped on Louis and floored him, it was brilliant.
“They are so genuine, how they come over is exactly how they are.
“George is fitting in really well. They really deserve it and they have worked really hard since they got together.”
Jackie, who works for Henderson’s Newsagents, will be going to watch Jaymi in the first live show with his dad David, his brother Aaron, 17, and one of Jaymi’s best friends.
She is thrilled by the support for Union J, especially on Twitter, where the boys saw their followers increase from 100,000 to 123,000 during Sunday’s show, and Union J started trending worldwide.
Proud mum Jackie also fought back at some of the people who have written Union J off as ‘another manufactured boyband’.
She said: “People don’t realise how hard it is and how much work goes in before they get to that stage.
“Josh and Jaymi went to Sylvia Young Theatre School together and they were both rejected from X Factor in previous years.
“So they have had the same sort of journey. To finally get somewhere now is just amazing. I am really excited.”