Chico wins place in X Factor final
Singer Chico Silmani has won himself a place in the final of ITV1 show The X Factor.
12:22 16 October 2005
Singer Chico Silmani has won himself a place in the final of ITV1 show X Factor, after beating off competition from girl group the Addictiv Ladies.
The former stripper sang Rod Stewart's If You Think I'm Sexy and won Sharon Osbourne's vote, but Simon Cowell went for the foursome. Louis Walsh cast his deciding vote for Chico, who he claimed "owned the stage" and was a born dancer.
Addictiv Ladies have now become the first act to be voted off X Factor after they were up against Chico for the final place in next Saturday's show.
The teenage girl group, from Walthamstow, east London, sang Jamelia's Superstar, but Louis Walsh described their performance as "amateurish" and suggested that they needed more voice training.
Meanwhile, 34-year-old Chico's family and friends have lashed out at criticisms that he is "cheesy".
Speaking to the Mirror, Chico's friend Trevor Davy said: "The way Chico is presented, anyone would think he has nothing but cheek and cheese to offer. He's been called a chump, a sleaze bag and a male slut because of the stripper stuff. But none of us recognise that as the man we know. Our Chico is devoted to his family and friends first, music second."
Another friend, Dennis Silpatt, suggested to the newspaper that the conflict between Chico and Simon Cowell has been manipulated for the show, saying: "This time they've set up Chico as the thorn in Simon Cowell's side. But he's ultra professional and will do whatever they ask of him, so he went along with it. He never dreamt it might backfire and affect his credibility."
The singer, whose real name is Yousseph, was born in Bridgend, Wales, to Moroccan parents. The family returned to Morocco when their farm failed and Chico flew back to the UK when he was 14 to live with his father and attend secondary school in Crawley, Sussex.
Chico has fronted many of the UK's top male strip groups and has sent more than half of his wages back to Morocco. He is also reportedly trained as an engineer and a hairdresser.