It was bound to happen sooner or later — Guy Sebastian lost the first of his three under 25 male contestants when Declan Sykes was eliminated from The X Factor last night. Throughout the competition Declan provided lots of interesting, quirky moments in his performances, from his white-blonde hair being styled into all sorts of ’dos, to his spontaneous interaction with the audience and the crazy staging. We caught up with Declan to talk about his input with the songs, meeting Beyoncé, and behind-the-scenes stories.
You looked okay with the result last night. How were you feeling?
Obviously I was disappointed with me leaving, but the nature of the competition is someone had to go, and the chances were that it was going to be one of Guy’s three boys. Either way I’m really proud that I got this far.
What was it like to work so closely with Guy?
It was really good to work with Guy, especially when he’s gone through the same steps as us. He’s just a really good mentor.
I’ve always wondered how much input you had with your performances.
Obviously if Guy chooses a song, you stick to what he thinks, because it’s Guy Sebastian and he knows best. There have been a few instances where it [song choice] has been a bit too risky, so we’ve had to pull it back to another song, but that’s just been a joint decision. We do have some say, but it really depends on whether it suits the week or not.
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You also had very interesting makeup and styling. Were they your ideas?
Yeah, some of them were my ideas, but Square Division came up with the concepts, and whether that included crazy Avatar makeup, I was fine to go with it. They’re a very talented bunch and they come up with amazing concepts.
You must’ve spent a lot of time in the hair and makeup chair . . .
Oh, it took a very long time but it was very worth it.
How did you feel about the big production feel of the show? Were you always comfortable with it?
It was pretty scary — it’s not as though you’re going around the corner or busking with your mates. You’re performing in front of millions of people and it’s quite scary. The production is pretty up there. But yeah, it was pretty cool. I had a lot of fun.
The themed weeks have been one of the big talking points this season, with the judges often arguing about Reece getting out of the rock genre. Your thoughts?
You know, Reece does rock. That’s his genre. He sticks to that and he does what’s best. For me, I’ve got a little bit of wiggle room. The themes were fine. Obviously dance week wasn’t my strongest point. Legends was pretty fun.
In the beginning you said you had low self-esteem — how are your confidence levels now?
They’re fine. I’m really proud of myself that I got this far and to the top five. I really hope that this isn’t the end.
How does it feel to know that Beyoncé watched your performance, and loved you?
Oh, it was great! Watching it back, I only got to see that when the rest of Australia did, so I didn’t even know what she said. It was a great relief. I was expecting her to just be like, ‘Oh yeah, he’s cool,’ so it was really good.
Your favourite performance that you did?
My favourite performance was definitely “Fall at Your Feet.” That’s so my style, laid-back, and with the quirky little people behind me. It was really fun, the production behind it and just making the performance was really cool.
Any funny behind-the-scenes stories you can share?
Johnny flirts with everyone. Johnny’s hilarious behind the stage.
What’s it like to know that you’ve already got a huge fan base coming out of this?
It’s great. The show really does set you up, so I’m not gonna give up this. This is really just the beginning, even before the beginning, so I really hope the career doesn’t end now.
Have you adjusted to being recognised by people on the street?
Yeah, I’m very used to it now. It was kind of hard at the start, but further down the live shows the easier it became.
You guys performed with some huge stars. Who were you most star struck by?
Beyoncé or Kelly Clarkson. They were amazing. No one was expecting Beyoncé — they seriously brought out the biggest card first, which was absolutely amazing. We had Alice Cooper, which was pretty scary [laughs].
What’s next for you?
I’m definitely gonna continue with school because it’s important, but I’m not going to let school hold back my career. I definitely want to try getting into, like, a Big Day Out performance, and just try and get my name out there. Maybe collaborate with a few other artists and be a warm-up guy — should be fun.
What are some of your other hobbies?
Playing Call of Duty. That’s pretty much all I do.
Who do you want to win?
I really want 3 Wishez to win.
Lots of the other contestants have picked someone from their category, so that’s nice.
I think it’s just a category. It doesn’t mean that we’re family or best mates. At the end of the day 3 Wishez train really hard. They’re unique for such a stereotypical band. They deserve to win, and it’s about time a group took out the title.
Photo courtesy of Channel Seven