A Chorley soldier has a shot at the big time after wowing judges on the X Factor.
Jon Joseph Kerr, who is known to family and friends as JJ, was overcome by nerves as he first took to the stage in front of thousands to audition for the hit TV talent show.
And although he stumbled on his first attempt, judges Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland, Louis Walsh and Tulisa Contostavlos gave the soldier a second chance and he blew them away with his version of the Stereophonics’ ‘Handbags and Gladrags.’
The 27-year-old, whose wife, Melissa was heavily pregnant at the time of the audition, first appeared in the Guardian in 2009 after joining the army to make his young son Bradley proud.
He threw his support behind our We Salute You Campaign which honoured brave soldiers from across Chorley and Leyland and said he had been friends with Jonathan ‘Dutchy’ Holland, who died on the frontline in Afghanistan in 2007.
After making it through the audition stages with a resounding yes from all four judges, JJ has now vowed to win the competition in memory of his comrades who have been killed on the frontline.
Speaking on the stage at Birmingham, he said: “I have always been a music fan. I have always loved doing karaoke with my friends.
“I did a competition at work and I won it, and all the army lads said to get on the X Factor. Monday to Friday I am sort of in camp, and I try and get home as often as I can, every weekend normally, just so I can be a dad.
“My six-year-old son Bradley loves telling people his dad’s a soldier. All the lads are super behind me, this would be the biggest morale boost I could give them.
“It’s fair to say that I’m more scared when in front of the judges than I am of going to Afghanistan, because I have trained for Afghanistan.”
The private, who went to Albany Science College, is a member of the Corunna Company 3rd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment and is based in Warminster in Wiltshire.
Speaking to the Guardian, he added: “It’s surreal because at the end of the day I’m just an ordinary lad from Chorley.
“My mum and all my family are proud as punch and all of my friends are being really supportive.
“Whatever happens I’ll be over the moon - just getting past this stage is a massive bonus.”
It’s already been a busy year for the proud dad after his wife gave birth to their second son Dominic in June.
“I’m flattered the judges liked me. I’m just a normal person at the end of the day and I have been overwhelmed with all the messages of support,” he added.
And, although JJ won over all of the judges, a second Chorley contestant had them divided.
Kendal Knowles, who makes up one half of duo Kendro with friend Alejandro Perez, performed Lady Ga Ga’s Born This Way.
The teen, who lives in Adlington, will also be going through to boot camp, but Take That’s Gary Barlow was failed to be impressed.
He warned the other judges: “They might end up in one of your categories... or in mine now, thanks to you three.”
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