X Factor winner Joe McElderry: ‘I treasure the time I spent with George Michael’
X Factor winner Joe McElderry has opened up about his sadness at the death of George Michael.
The talent show winner dueted with Michael in 2009, shortly before he won series six of The X Factor.
He now says he treasures the time they spent together as performers.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, he said: “I was so shocked,” he says.
“To work with him first of all was incredible, but I was just a fan, full stop.
“I’d have been just as upset if I hadn’t worked with him because I was a massive fan.
“I admired him and his music, and he was such a lovely, humble man which made it 10 times sadder.”
The pair had one of the great duets of X Factor history in the 2009 final.
An estimated 20 million tuned in for the extraordinary moment – the most-watched episode in the show’s long history.
However it would be the only time McElderry crossed paths with the global Wham! star.
He said: “We spent an hour-and-a-half in the dressing room.
“We had a great chat and a cup of tea and discussed the industry.
“I’m sure if I would have bumped into him we’d have had a lovely catch-up, but I never did meet him again.
“I’ll always treasure that time and how lovely he was – it was an overwhelming experience.”
Another out gay talent show winner, Will Young, also revealed more about his encounters with the iconic singer.
The 38-year-old, who was the first winner of Pop Idol, says his management tried to engineer a kiss between the two.
Young says bosses wanted to him recreate the famous moment when Madonna and Britney Spears smooched at the 2003 MTV awards.
However he rejected the request – saying it made him “angry”.
He said: “You know what I was really conscious of?
“People taking me as a gay man and bringing it just back to sex.
“Someone at the record company, to try to get me on the Brits, suggested, ‘Why don’t you do a duet with George Michael and then, like Britney and Madonna and Christina Aguilera and Madonna, you kiss at the end and we get our moment?’
“God that makes me angry.”