He’s already emerged as one of the faces to watch on this season of The X Factor, but Year 9 student Jai Waetford says he won’t let his sudden fame go to his head.
The teenager from Sydney’s south-west impressed the judges when he performed his own song, “Don’t Let Me Go”, in his audition for the Seven Network show, causing Ronan Keating to call him “the best thing I’ve ever seen on X Factor...You are a superstar”.
Since then the 14-year-old singer/songwriter has been attracting stares at his local shopping centre and getting compared to pop superstar Justin Bieber.
“I look up to him,” says Jai, who showed WHO around his Campbelltown home, where he lives with his mum Alana Dow and grandparents Hannah and Roger Dow.
“He’s really cool and swag and his music is amazing.”
But while Bieber has raised eyebrows with some of his recent bad boy antics, Jai has his two feet planted firmly on the ground:“To fit in at school I have to be little Campbelltown boy Jai. And I appreciate that. I don’t want to be anyone else.”
Jai, who got his first guitar at age 6, writes his own songs and has got “seven or eight” finished.
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The out-going and fun-loving youngster says his X Factor experience has been “amazing” so far, and the judges “are really awesome” – but don’t think he isn’t taking the competition seriously.
“I’m really, really competitive,” admits Jai with a cheeky grin.
For our full interview with Jai Waetford, pick up this week's issue of WHO, on sale today.