X Factor hopeful Natalie Kassanga has urged Northampton College students to ‘work hard, stay dedicated and keep believing’ if they want to follow in her footsteps and earn their spell in the spotlight.
The 18-year-old, who received a triple distinction for her Musical Theatre studies at Northampton College’s Booth Lane campus only last month, impressed the judges on the ITV talent show as part of girl band Alien.
The group’s high energy cover of the Black Eyed Peas hit ‘Pump It’ had all four judges up on their feet and host Olly Murs described the six-strong band as ‘out of this world’. The girls received a unanimous ‘Yes’ from the panel, as they rocketed through to boot camp.
Natalie, who studied at Northampton College for the past two years, said the reaction from the live studio audience was ‘amazing’ and admitted being ‘overwhelmed’ by the positive feedback from judges including Rita Ora and Cheryl Fernandez Vassini.
She said: “The whole X Factor experience has been incredible. We’ve been performing as Alien for about 18 months after we all met at dance classes. We got on really well and everyone said we should work together as a group so that’s what we’ve done and we’re absolutely loving it.
“Everyone at Northampton College has been really supportive, allowing me to go down to London to rehearse and prepare for shows. I had a great time at college and my tutors were brilliant, they really helped you to believe in yourself and to keep working hard.
“If I could say one thing to students starting out at Northampton College this week it would be just that – keep working hard. There will always be setbacks along the way but stay dedicated and work hard and the breaks will come. It’s really important to believe in what you’re doing, you’ve got to enjoy it, you can’t just do something for the sake of it, you’ve got to be passionate about it.”
Natalie and the rest of the Alien girls won plaudits for the high tempo and energy of their performance, with former England footballer Rio Ferdinand tweeting that the band were worthy finalists and that they ‘smashed it’.
The performance owed much to the work put in during regular sessions at Booth Lane where students were taught about the importance of performance in the modern music scene.
Natalie said: “It’s all about entertainment. If people are paying to come and watch you it’s important you put on a show and entertain them. That’s something I’ve worked hard on and the college was really good at. They helped me improve my singing and my dancing, it gave me a lot of confidence to go out there and perform.
“When we were getting ready to go on stage we were all nervous, it was the biggest crowd we’d ever played in front of, but we found strength from each other and gave it our all.
“It went better than we ever thought possible. The standing ovation from the audience was amazing and then the judges said they loved us. To get the feedback we did from someone like Cheryl, who is an idol for all of us, was absolutely brilliant.”
The girls will now head to bootcamp, where they will aim to further impress the judges and progress to the next stage of the competition.
To find out more about the Musical Theatre courses on offer at Northampton College, visit www.northamptoncollege.ac.uk/courses/performing-arts