James Arthur, the winner of The X Factor UK, has been invited back to Bahrain where he spent four happy years as a schoolboy, writes Stan Szecowka.
He has received an invitation to return to formally open the British School of Bahrain music and drama rehearsal studios and a 400-seat auditorium which is part of a BD4.1 million expansion of its facilities.
Head of School Karen Moffat said: “We are thrilled for James and the school is buzzing this week with news of his success.
“I will be formally inviting him to visit us so that he can rekindle the wonderful memories he had from his time as a student here.
“It would be wonderful if he could spare the time to join us in celebrating the opening of our new music and arts facilities when all the work is concluded in 18-months. These are exciting times for James and the British School of Bahrain.”
James is starting a new life this week as a pop star after fighting off strong competition from fellow finalist Jahmene Douglas to win The X Factor on Sunday evening.
The singer now living in Saltburn, near Middlesbrough, took the title in front of a 10,000-strong audience at Manchester Central, with millions more watching the programme live on television and on-line.
Arthur looked stunned as host Dermot O’Leary announced the result and could only say ‘wow’ when asked how he felt. “I don’t what to say.”
The 24-year-old singer has been awarded a recording contract and will now release his winner’s single, a rendition of Impossible by Barbadian singer Shontelle.
After being announced as the champion of the ninth series of the ITV show, a dazed-looking Arthur performed the song for the second time.
He was hugged by judge Nicole Scherzinger, who mentored both him and runner-up Douglas.
The former Pussycat Doll, last year a judge in the show’s US version, wore a black, fishtail gown for the final and was not shy in showing her delight at his success as she jumped for joy.
Douglas, 24, from Swindon, was gracious in defeat saying to his rival: “I think it’s just a blessing to share the stage with such a talent. You’re so amazing James, use this platform, use it wisely.”
Both finalists had the chance to perform two songs during the programme, with each showcasing the singles they would release if they won as they made their final bid to win the public’s vote.
Douglas was accompanied by a choir as he sang his soulful take on Let It Be by The Beatles before Arthur sang Impossible.
Judge Tulisa Contostavlos, who admitted she was rooting for Arthur to win, told him: “From the second I saw you perform I got you. I get you. You’ve been to the depths in life, the deep, dark depths and you’ve come out. You’re an inspirer.”
As revealed in last week’s GulfWeekly the soulful former BSB student’s life spiralled out of control when he had to return to the UK at the age of 14 in the midst of his mother’s marriage break-up.
He recalled the trauma of having to leave behind his comfortable expat lifestyle and ending up in foster care.
His success in the series has been followed avidly by his former Bahrain classmates and current students at the school who have been downloading his performances over the internet because the show is not broadcast in the Gulf region.
His friends and former teachers say he was a popular member of BSB and was often the ‘class clown’ who couldn’t stop singing and performing.
James’ single is ready to download and has been ‘rush released’ so that it is available today, an X Factor spokesman said.
All profits from sales of the single will go to the charity Together For Short Lives, which gives support to children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions.
Arthur said afterwards: “I am absolutely overwhelmed to have won The X Factor. I am lost for words.
“To have been be able to perform my winner’s single was just insane. I love the song and am so glad that proceeds of the single will be going to such a great cause.”
Arthur is one of the favourites to be the Christmas Number One in the UK music charts and elsewhere.