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Archway barmaid Sophie Habibis has the X Factor

PUBLISHED: 12:41 06 October 2011 | UPDATED: 17:56 06 October 2011

Sophie will take to the X Factor stage on Saturday night. Photographer: Ken McKay

Sophie will take to the X Factor stage on Saturday night. Photographer: Ken McKay

Photographs © Copyright Ken McKay 2011

The Tufnell Park singer impressed judge Kelly Rowland and will now sing live in front of the nation in the first live X Factor show on Saturday night.

Barmaid Sophie Habibis will be singing in front of millions instead of pulling pints this weekend as she takes to the stage in the first round of the X Factor live shows.

The 19-year-old from Tufnell Park has spent more than a year working at the Whittington Stone pub in Archway, but has wowed the judges with her vocal talents from her first audition for the hit ITV show.

Viewers watched her sail through to the live shows after impressing judge, Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland, at the star’s home in Miami during the shows which aired at the weekend.

Kelly commented that she already wanted to buy Sophie’s album, while guest judge Jennifer Hudson added that her performance was “flawless”.

On making it through, Sophie said: “I can’t describe how I feel. I was expecting a ‘no’ because everyone was so good. I was so nervous and I didn’t think that I sounded that good. This means everything to me, I can’t believe it. This means so much, I can’t believe how much this actually means.”

Now her friends, family and colleagues at the Whittington Stone will be rooting for her as she sings in front of the nation on Saturday night.

Jason Case, assistant manager at the Whittington Stone, where staff have put banners up outside in support of the barmaid, said that Sophie was already something of a celebrity at the pub after giving a number of breath-taking karaoke performances.

He said: “She was always singing behind the bar but when she did the karaoke everyone turned around in shock.

“Everyone was always telling her that she needed to sing the last song as she was the best. She was already a celebrity in this pub.”

Jason added: “She is very bubbly and always good with the customers. She deserves to win because she has worked hard for it, has a great voice and really enjoys it.”

Friend Andie Childs, 19, who works at the pub with Sophie and attended Acland Burghley School with her, said: “She was always quite shy about it all but when she did sing, people would just be shocked to hear her.

“I remember she would ask her friends to go in the toilet before she would sing. She has only recently been singing in front of people here at the karaoke.”

She continued: “Sophie is destined for much bigger things than standing here working behind a bar – not just because she can sing but because of her personality. You only have to stand with her for five minutes and she will have you in fits of giggles. She is a really bubbly girl.”

Acland Burghley teacher Richard Henley said that her singing talents went largely un-noticed during her school days but that she was a “smashing girl from a lovely family.”

He continued: “I just remember her as a lovely, popular and smiley girl who was great to have at the school. We’re all behind her.”

Sophie’s former head of year, Rena Bowers, née Clark, was aware that she could sing, but always thought she would have a career in acting due to her success in drama classes.

She said: “Sophie was very likable. We all remember her which is really unusual for teachers because you just move on so quickly in secondary schools as there are hundreds of students.”

Sophie will sing on Saturday night in front of millions of TV viewers nationwide as well as the three other judges – Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh and Tulisa Contostavlos – and the result will be revealed on Sunday.


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