Olivia Olson. You’ll be more than familiar with her talents, even if you don’t recognise the name.
At 10-years-old, she was projected onto cinema screens in Richard Curtis’ 2003 Christmas flick Love Actually as Joanna Anderson, the little girl who belts out All I Want For Christmas in the unconventional school nativity play which would put any West End production to shame before she was chased down through Heathrow Airport by her lovable stalker Thomas.
Now you know the one.
It’s been nearly 16 years since Olivia’s big break but she’s hoping another is in store when she sings again on X Factor: Celebrity – Simon Cowell’s latest attempt to save the flailing ITV series, and, actually, he might just have done it.
Last Saturday viewers watched on in awe as The Chase quizmaster Jenny Ryan slayed her rendition of Somebody To Love while Martin Bashir brought the nation to tears when he became a bonafide crooner, with a little nudge from his late brother.
We haven’t quite seen the calibre of Leona Lewis just yet, but it’s not the car crash karaoke critics predicted either.
Tomorrow night, the ‘singers’ step up. Coronation Street star Victoria Ekanoye is the line-up’s ‘one to watch’ as former lead in the stage adaptation of The Lion King, while Megan McKenna is the unlikely Towie star turned chart-topping country singer. And then there’s Olivia, who’s famed for bringing goosebumps every Christmas.
Though, don’t expect another rendition of Mariah Carey from her. Naturally, her voice has dropped ‘a little bit’.
‘I’m a jazz and blues singer at the core, but I’ve also got a bit of an edge too, so I don’t know how you would explain that. I want to do something new,’ she explained to Metro.co.uk.
[Mariah’s] kind of a stickler about who could perform her songs. Think about it, has anyone sang Mariah Carey songs on the show? I’ll use that as my excuse!’
Olivia, actually, is desperate to shed all traces of Joanna going forward. She’s barely spoken to her co-stars, because why would she?
‘I live in Los Angeles and there wasn’t mobile phones back in the day. When you left you just left! But even then I don’t have my AOL anymore!’
But X Factor: Celebrity is offering its stars the chance to make a genuine shot at conquering the charts with a lucrative record deal at Syco – so this isn’t a joke. Be assured, we won’t be reliving the nightmare that is Rebecca Loos and James Hewitt’s Addicted To Love.
Subsequently, the 27-year-old is totally in it to win it, more so than she initially thought she would be.
‘I didn’t think I’d be as nervous as I was. When you step up there it hits you in the face how real it is and how badly you want it. We were really excited about it – “What a fun opportunity!” Then you get up there and it’s like, “This is really my moment to prove myself,”’ Olivia told us.
‘I’m really not that competitive by nature but it does become very real. I would say I’m confident in my abilities but I’m not competitive, I’m more awkward.’
But perhaps even more satisfying than winning, if Olivia can leave The X Factor with one last word, it would be: ‘For the love of God, I’m so much more than the Love Actually girl.’
X Factor: Celebrity continues tomorrow night at 8.30pm on ITV.
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