A BASINGSTOKE boy band could finally have been given their big break after getting through the first round of auditions on The X Factor.
Concept were shown on last Sunday night’s show singing Labrinth’s Earthquake for judges Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Mel B and Louis Walsh, before receiving the thumbs up from all four to go through to the next round.
The band, made up of Karim Newton, Matt Goodenough, Scott Dicks, Nathan Gittens and Ben Selley, who is the cousin of One Direction’s Harry Styles, will now perform in front of a live audience in the next round at Wembley Arena.
The former Queen Mary’s College students, who are all childhood friends, formed three-and-a-half-years ago and have since built up a loyal fan-base, with 92,000 followers on Twitter.
Speaking to The Gazette – which has followed Concept’s career from the start – Karim said: “We decided to audition because I think we have been working hard for three-and-a-half-years and we felt ready. It was the perfect time for us.”
He added that Concept had considered auditioning in the past, and had been approached by the show to perform in front of the judges, but initially declined the offer. But Simon Cowell rejoining the judging panel changed their minds.
Nathan said: “When we found out that Simon was back, we wanted to sing to someone who has so much experience and can change your life.”
Describing the audition, Matt said: “It was so weird. It was like walking into your TV and then watching myself back on TV – it was very strange.”
Scott added: “We believed in ourselves the same as we always have. We believe we did the best we could. We are always really confident in ourselves but you can never be too certain about what the show might want.”
Following Sunday night’s show, Concept’s Twitter followers rose by several thousand.
Scott said: “It catapults you to another level.”
Ben added: “The reaction has been unreal. The audition video on YouTube has 146,000 views. We’re trying to make sure everyone can see what we’re like.”
Ben said Concept have tried to avoid name-dropping his famous One Direction cousin, adding: “We want to do it off our own back, as we have for three-and-a-half-years.”
Concept said that at the next stage of the audition process, they want to make a big impact on a big stage.
Scott added: “We want to sing the song that represents Concept the most and make sure we bring a bit of a rockier edge. We don’t want to be compared to other boy bands. We are Concept.”
Referring to the competition, he said: “It’s very strong this year. From what we have seen from the auditions, everyone looks so good. It’s really varied.”
And finally, Scott gave a message to Concept’s Basingstoke fans, who have supported the band from the outset.
He said: “We want to say thank you – thanks for the support and continuing to support us. We love you.
“Obviously we do this because we love it, but the fact that people love what we love to do is the best thing for us.
“It means the world to us, to be able to represent Basingstoke and hopefully go far in the competition. Basingstoke is the home of music.”