Sunday, October 17, 2010


The X Factor's Mary Byrne
50 year-old Dubliner Mary Byrne is all the rage over in the UK right now as like overnight Internet sensation Susan Boyle, she too has gained a lot of support virally.  Known affectionately as Tesco Mary because she currently works as a Cashier at a branch of that Supermarket back in Ireland, even her employer has launched a campaign to get its star employee some extra votes.  She is a finalist on the UK's favourite Singing Reality Show The X Factor in the Over-28 Female category.

I came across Byrne after seeing many of my friends overseas Tweeting about her and decided to check out some of her performances, including this rendition of Dusty Springfield's You Don't Have to Say You Love Me from last night.  

My honest opinion is that although Byrne has a presence which perhaps Boyle lacks, vocally she is no match for Boyle in terms of range and emoting.  Boyle gives me goosebumps, while Byrne has soul and depth.  Where Byrne has a decisive edge though is that she has an approachability and toughness about her which Boyle has lacked in some of the interviews I've seen.  This in turn makes her more easily marketable than Boyle persay, who has struggled with the rigors of her promotional schedule in being notorious for canceling appearances,  including a scheduled visit to Toronto last December which never did get rescheduled.  Perhaps we'll get to see her this time around as she begins promoting her new sophomore effort The Gift soon?  The album is in stores November 9, 2010.

Do I think Byrne will be able to match the commercial success Boyle has achieved internationally?  Not a chance.  Do I think it's amazing that she's being recognized for her true talent and that she will get a sweet record deal out of this exposure still?  Absolutely.  There's definitely room for two big, old Divas in our iTunes Libraries.

(Photo credit: PA)

1 comment:

  1. I'm a big Tesco Mary fan, and she is one of the reasons this has become one of the most compelling seasons of X Factor. As I said on Twitter, I completely get where you are coming from, but Mary is much more relatable. While Susan has this pure voice that no one can deny is technically on, I worry that she's just not cut out for the worldwide acclaim that she's stumbled into. Mary, on the other hand, puts her life into her singing. It's warm, it's relatable, and it's real.