Friday, 10 December 2010

Why Cheryl Cole's pet piranha Cher Lloyd will be an X Factor winner - even if she loses


Finalist: She's favourite for the chop first this weekend but Cowell believes Cher Lloyd, with her combative attitude, is the face of the future

The people who have the honour of working with Cher Lloyd day by day call her ‘Cheryl’s pet piranha’. They joke behind her back that she looks like a ­perpetually cross little troll.

Stories of her explosive temper and fearless pursuit of victory at all costs are legion, and audiences have noticed that the 17-year-old is not exactly the fragile, likeable girl-next-door she first seemed to be. She has gone from being the bookies’ favourite to being odds-on to come fourth out of the four finalists when the X Factor reaches its climax this weekend.

Cher’s self-belief seems to be plastered on as thickly as her make-up, but does the fame she craves still beckon? Or will she soon be returning to the obscurity of her small bedroom in Malvern, Worcestershire, with its leopard-print duvet cover, vinyl floor and yellow curtains?

The row over the sing-off on Sunday, which some viewers thought fixed the results in her favour at the expense of supermarket worker Mary Byrne, has made this controversial contestant wildly unpopular. Hate mail has arrived at her parents’ house, including, they say, a Jiffy bag containing a plastic skeleton as some form of warning.

Mini-me: Cher with mentor Cheryl Cole at a press conference in London on Thursday

However graceless her behaviour may have been, this has been deeply unpleasant and upsetting. Her jobless father, ­Darren, says: ‘Cher is not going to let a few idiots destroy her dream.’

Her mother, Dina, loyally says: ‘It hit her so hard when her fans forgot to vote.’
But did they really just forget – or is she no longer as popular as she was?

The trouble with Cher seems to be that she is one of those people who is at the centre of every drama, good or bad.

Yesterday, an old schoolmate, who didn’t want to be named for fear of reprisals, said Cher was a fame-seeking bully.

Another claimed that some of Cher’s family beat her unconscious after she referred to Cher’s gipsy roots.

Cher was born in 1993 to gardener ­Darren Lloyd and his teenage girlfriend Diane ‘Dina’ Smith, who are about to celebrate 20 years together. Cher is the eldest child; they also have Joshua, 15, Sophie, 14, and Rosie, 12.

Her parents were married two years after Rosie’s birth and the family lives in a red-brick housing association terrace on £200-a-week benefits. Darren claims ­incapacity benefit and Dina describes ­herself as his full-time carer. ‘We’re on a shoestring,’ shrugs Darren.

Doubleact: Cole joined Cher on stage as she performed in her home town of Malvern, Worcestershire this week

Cher’s gipsy roots come from Dina’s mum, Liz, a Romany gipsy who was born in a wagon and raised her children on the road. Her family sold pegs and scrap metal. Liz moved into council accommodation in Malvern when Dina was 11 after several cold winters.

Cher was born when Dina was only 19 and, after a few months, Dina and Darren bought a caravan and a pick-up and tried out the travelling lifestyle for themselves in Wales.

Cher’s uncle Jessy Smith says that times were hard — that the family lived in fear of having a brick thrown through their windows by locals who did not want them around. After a year, they moved back in with Liz, and later into a flat in Malvern.

Ready for the big night: Cher arriving for sound check on Friday afternoon at the X Factor studios and, right, her father Darren

It was obvious from the time that she could talk, that little Cher was a singer.

Aged eight, she took the starring role in a concert at her primary school. Darren’s parents started to pay for singing lessons for Cher, and a drama coach.

When she was ten, Cher was treated to a session in a recording studio and laid down her own CD of Westlife covers — an expensive treat, you might think, for such a young girl.

Traveller past: Cher’s gipsy roots come from her mother Dina’s side of the family, pictured here together

She entered auditions for the X Factor in 2007, singing big ballads, but was rejected. At around this time, Cher was suspended from The Chase secondary school for an incident in which she pulled another pupil’s hair. Cher admits that she has done things of which she is ashamed.

Her family are well-known locally as the ‘Malvern Mafia’, and one former pupil said: ‘There are so many of her family at the school and in the local area, you can’t say anything about them. They look out for each other and some ­happily use violence against anybody they don’t like.’

Even Cher herself said last week, after being booed: ‘I’m protected by tough people.’

When an uncle, Edward Smith, known as Boo Boo, died in September of a methadone overdose, hundreds of his relatives lined the street for his funeral — and Cher paid tribute herself by singing Stay on the X Factor in ­Halloween week.

A neighbour, who again does not wish to be identified, says: ‘It seems to me the parents see Cher as a cash cow.

Neither of them work and they are banking on Cher being a success.’

That surely seems a harsh assessment. However, it is true that Darren, 37, has already tried to cash in on her brush with fame. He has been selling signed ­pictures of her on eBay at £25.

An affable man, his front room boasts a massive 72-inch TV and Sky box which suggest that money is perhaps not that tight after all. The pair are said to be already house-hunting for a new property.

But not everyone is convinced of Cher’s vocal ability, and a host of detractors say she has an aggressive attitude which makes her unpleasant to work with.

Cheryl Cole, however, is enamoured of her mini-me, and arch-manipulator Simon Cowell is a huge fan and clearly believes that this unusual young lady, with her combative attitude, is the face of the future.

Home from home: Police ready to crowd manage outside Cher's home in Malvern this week when the 17-year-old made a homecoming appearance

Cher Lloyd's Final Vlog: Week 10 (Video Diary) X Factor 2010 HQ/HD

Cher Lloyd says she won't win X Factor

source: dailymail [endtext]

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