Page last updated at 08:58 GMT, Monday, 6 April 2009 09:58 UK

Testing times for hardworking Quigg

By Liam Allen
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

These are uncertain times for Eoghan Quigg.

Taking a break from filming debut video 28,000 Friends - co-starring attractive skateboarding and BMXing extras who wouldn't look out of place on Channel 4 teen drama Skins - he says he's already enjoying the life of a pop star.

Eoghan Quigg
Eoghan Quigg only officially left school this year

"It feels great to be the centre of attention," says the 16-year-old who finished third in last year's X Factor behind winner Alexandra Burke and boy band JLS.

"Everyone's around you and saying, 'do you want this and do you want that?' and it feels really good."

But the release of his new video, together with his eponymous debut album on Monday, far from guarantees his continued success.

Particularly, coming as it does, hot on the heels of chief judge Simon Cowell's label Syco dropping 2007 winner Leon Jackson and third-placed brother and sister duo Same Difference. Both acts had released just one album.

After X Factor 2007, Syco - which automatically takes on winners of the talent contest - also signed second-placed operatic singer Rhydian Roberts whose album Rhydian reached number three and, in January, went platinum, selling more than 300,000 copies.

But two weeks ago it was announced that Jackson, whose album Right Now reportedly sold 130,000 copies, was surplus to Syco requirements. And on Friday, it was revealed that Same Difference have also been dumped after their album Pop peaked at number 22. .

Which could explain why the label chose to sign only winner Burke this time around.

Quick turnaround

With both Jackson and Same Difference, Cowell's label waited almost a year before releasing albums with a fair proportion of new songs.

Executives at RCA Records, who signed Quigg, are taking no such chances.

Quigg performs on the X Factor tour
I've had chances just to relax for a few days but, you know, it's work and it's your job and you've gotta do it
Quigg on his workload

Quigg's album, made up largely of covers he sang on X Factor, is coming out just three months after the series ended.

"Recording was good 'cos I knew the people I was recording it with and we got on very well so that helped a lot and we got through it.

"I mean, we got through it nice and quick and it's good."

The demands of recording and releasing an album in this short time - as well as performing 27 X Factor tour dates in February and March - would be a tall order for any artist, never a mind a 16-year-old.

The song 28,000 Friends, is "basically about a guy who's got a girlfriend who's on all these sites like MSN and My Space and stuff like that, and she's got 28,000 friends and he's just saying, 'turn it off and come out with me and spend time with me'".

Not that you'll find Quigg on the social networking sites enjoyed by his school friends these days: "I used to always go on but I don't find the time any more.

"I've had chances just to relax for a few days but, you know, it's work and it's your job and you've gotta do it."

If it doesn't work out it's gonna be hard really so I'd have to take it on the chin and get on with it and try different ways
Eoghan Quigg

Quigg, who only officially left his secondary school in the small town of Dungiven in County Londonderry this year, is well aware of the success of his talent show predecessors.

"Well that's the thing, you know, if it doesn't work out it's gonna be hard really so I'd have to take it on the chin and get on with it and try different ways but I'm certainly not trying to think about that now.

"I'm just gonna try and do my best."

If his record contract doesn't work out, he says that, "maybe, after a long time", he'd be prepared to try other things to stay in the public eye like X Factor 2006's Ray Quinn, who recently won ITV1's Dancing On Ice.

Leon Jackson
The 2007 X Factor winner Leon Jackson was dropped after one album

He is just as aware that, for every few ex-contestants like Steve Brookstein or Michelle McManus there is the odd Will Young or Leona Lewis.

Jaunty song 28,000 Friends - written by former Busted guitarist James Bourne - will certainly appeal to the youth audience it is so squarely aimed at.

And if the reaction of fans at his live appearances is anything to go by, he may be off to a flying start.

"It's been mad, there's been people crying and stuff. It's a lot to take in."

Quigg will hope that he can elicit that same reaction for years to come.

Eoghan Quigg's self-titled album is out now.



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SEE ALSO
X Factor winner Jackson dropped
20 Mar 09 |  Entertainment
Singer Quinn wins Dancing on Ice
22 Mar 09 |  Entertainment
Eoghan's fans make the wrong call
06 Feb 09 |  Northern Ireland
X Factor's JLS sign record deal
20 Jan 09 |  Entertainment

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