Bailey McConnell hit Queensgate recently with a bang. He performed four songs for a crowd of screaming teens, and according to ESP’s Mikey Clarke (who hosted the event) it was like One Direction were in the city!
To launch a campaign to highlight late night shopping every Thursday and Friday night in Queensgate, the Britain’s Got Talent star attended the shopping centre with an exclusive set. It was the teen heartthrob’s first gig outside of his home-town, and with hundreds of girls in attendance, I don’t think it’ll be one he’ll forget in a hurry.
Before going on stage I grabbed an exclusive chat with McConnell, who told me what life’s been like since appearing on the popular television show. “I can’t go out of the house without being stopped for a picture or a chat – not that I’m complaining… I love it,” he said. “My life has changed so much but I’m doing my best not to change myself. I hope to always stay grounded no matter what happens in the future.”
Continuing to discuss Britain’s Got Talent, McConnell told me, “I genuinely didn’t think I’d get to the semi-finals of the show – particularly as I’d slightly annoyed the producers. I changed my song choice literally right before I went onto the stage. I was supposed to be singing a cover but thought last minute that it would be better performing one of my own songs. This worried the producers but it paid off.”
Simon Cowell was not present on the day of his audition as his son was being born. “I was a little gutted to hear that Simon wasn’t going to be there but two weeks after my performance it was revealed that he had seen a recording of my audition, and that afterwards he said he would have 100% put me through – which was so good to hear.
“I got to meet him eventually and he’s such a nice guy. The mean and outspoken Simon you often see on television is not the man I have seen myself.”
I asked the 15 year-old how his musical journey started. He explained, “I started to learn the guitar after hearing an Indie songwriter named Ben Howard. His music really connected with me and I admired the fact that he had such a unique sound. Once I could play the guitar more confidently, I started putting lyrics to the music.”
About a week before his performance in Queensgate, I was surprised to see that Bailey was trending worldwide on Twitter. He’d started the hashtag #AskBailey and it was great to see him doing his very best to respond to all his Twitter followers. “I’ve always felt that celebrities should do their best to talk to the fans,” he said. “Britain’s Got Talent has led to me having fans of my own and I try to respond to as many of them as I can.”
And what does the future hold for McConnell? “I’m taking everything a step at a time. I would love to have my own album but I’m not going to get ahead of myself and say it’ll definitely happen but I really hope it does.”
I can honestly say I’ve never seen such a fantastic atmosphere in Queensgate. I think McConnell himself was also surprised by the reception. After performing four songs flawlessly, he told me – “I am so overwhelmed by the support of everyone here in Peterborough. I can honestly say this has been the best gig yet, I am absolutely buzzing from the atmosphere.”
Queensgate is open late on Thursdays and Fridays until 8pm throughout the year. The centre’s Red car park is also open until 11.30pm seven days a week. Parking is FREE after 5.30pm on Thursdays and Fridays only.
See Bailey McConnell’s Britain’s Got Talent audition below.
Photos: Chris Brudenell
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