The X Factor started up again last week with three of the four judges new this year. Out went Danni Minogue, Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell; in came Tulisa Contostavlos, Kelly Rowland and Gary Barlow. I didn’t actually watch it, but I heard quite a bit of chatter about a lad named Frankie Cocozza, who’s on the show to pick up girls more than anything.
Last year’s X Factor was the first one I actually watched, albeit it on and off, and I’ve yet to decide whether I’m going to watch X Factor ’11.
But since there’s one been one episode so far of ’11, let’s instead cast our minds back to last year’s bunch of finalists, and 10 of the more notable names amongst them:
One of last year’s more controversial acts, who hit #1 about a fortnight ago with her début single Swagger Jagger, which surprised me, given how much stick pretty much everyone I know, or I have seen discussing it online, have been giving the song. Overall, Cher came 4th in the competition last year.
This Cher is a couple months older than me, born in the summer o’ 1993, which currently makes her 18. She was indeed named after the other Cher. As it stands, the name Cher does not rank, and neither does Cherilyn, the full name of other Cher, but there were 35 Cheryls born in 2010, which puts the name at #965.
The name Cheryl, from which Cherilyn is an elaboration, comes from the French word chérie, meaning darling, with the spelling influence by Beryl. And indeed, up until recently Cheryl Cole was considered the nation’s darling.
The name of one of the four girls put together at boot camp to create a new girl band, which they decided to name Belle Amie. They were eliminated in Week 4 on deadlock (i.e. the act with the least amount of votes got the boot). The band was criticised for the alleged squabbling going on behind the scenes, as they all wanted to be the lead singer.
This Esther was in her early 20s, which makes her much younger than perhaps the Esther you may know. It may therefore come as a surprise that the name currently ranks at a very respectable #156 with 334 Esthers born in 2010. The meaning of the name is generally given as star, but there is chatter the name may be a derivation from Ishtar, a Near Eastern goddess of love, war and fertility.
One of the other members of the act, Belle Amie, which were eliminated in Week 4; the other two members were Sophia and Rebecca. I mostly only seem to see parents use this name when inspired by the Swiss city of Geneva. It could also come as a slight alternative to the French name Genevieve.
The city of Geneva could owe it’s name origins to the Celts, but there’s also the possibility of it coming from the French word for Juniper: Genévrier.
4 sets of parents in England&Wales may, or may not as the case may be, have indeed been inspired by the city in naming their new daughter in 2010.
The name of one of the five lads put together at bootcamp to create a new boy band, which was named One Direction; they recently released their début single which ain’t half bad given that they came 3rd last year.
I actually went to school with a Niall so I’m not so bothered about the pronunciation, which is the same as the River Nile. I think, if all else fails, just send little Siobhan and brother Niall to a Catholic school, since there’s a greater chance of people knowing how to say the name, because usually a good proportion of the intake have Irish blood. Or, at least, that was how things went at the one I attended. The name Niall is the Irish version of Neil, and this Niall is another ’93 baby, which means he’s around the 18 year-old mark.
In Northern Ireland, which is where this Niall comes from, the name ranks at #84, compared with #91 in the Republic of Ireland. As for England&Wales, he’s at #286 with 160 born.
My friend said before the live finals started that she was only going to watch them as long as Nicolo stayed in. He was the first act eliminated in the first week as he had the lowest votes, which means I personally never saw him as I only started watching around the Week 4 mark because the media couldn’t stop talking about it; plus I heard a rumour that there was a contestant on the show with curlier hair than me.
There were 7 Nicolos born in England&Wales in 2010, along with 98 Nicos, putting the latter name at #402. The name Nicolo itself is the Italian version of Nicholas, which means victory of the people.
I’m writing this whilst I have BBC Five Live on in the background, listening to the F1 Friday Practice at Spa, where there is currently a German driver by the name of Nico Rosberg contesting. He is, however, just a Nico and is the son of Finnish former F1 driver Keke Rosberg.
Pronounced the same as Paige, this character was a cheeky chappy, not a lass who was brought through to the finals as a wildcard choice, i.e. he’d been rejected at the Judges House’s stage, but then put through when the judges were allowed to select one other contestant for the finals. He was one of the last wildcards standing, following his elimination in week 7.
The name Paige comes from the English word page, which also means servant; it does ultimately mean little boy, however. As a female name, she ranks at #63 with 956 of ’em born in 2010, while neither Paige nor Paije rank for lads.
Many may not remember Storm of the Over 28s category as he was given the boot in the second week, but I do remember from some pictures I’ve seen that he was in possession of very colourful locks.
12 male Storms were born in 2010, compared with the 20 female given the name. For both genders, the name still sits below the #1000 mark. It’s also worth noting that US Top 100 material Serenity ranks the same as Storm on the female list, down at #1093.
Treyc pronounced her name the same as Tracy, and she proves that creative spellings are not just a new coinage since I reckon she’s somewhere in her early 20s. She was another one of the wildcard choices brought through to the finals.
Originally just a surname, then a male name, Tracy is now on the map as a female name. She started to gain attention in the 1960s, which was when my Auntie Lindsay was born; I can remember my Grandma telling me that she made it clear she wasn’t going to use the name, despite it being everywhere at the time, according to her. The name itself appears to derive from medieval French.
Right now, the name ranks at:
Tracy – #4012
Tracey – #3533
Treyc – does not rank
Clearly, she’s no longer the popular princess she used to be.
Named after the composer, he was the figure of an online campaign to Vote Wagner in order to keep him in, despite his consistently poor performances. It was backed by those who didn’t like X Factor for a variety of reasons. They managed to successfully keep Wagner in until Week 8 when he was in the Bottom 3 and was unanimously voted out by the judges.
There was some debate over how to say his name at the start, with his mentor Louis Walsh insisting on calling him WAG-ner, when it was in fact more like VARG-ner. Either way, the name does not rank for boys in 2010 and normally a German surname, it means wagon driver.
Another member of the boyband One Direction, which was created at bootcamp for 5 of the male category rejects. There was a slight kerfuffle at the start as the how exactly his name was spelt, but it is indeed spelt with a y, not an i. The other three members which make up the band are Harry, Liam and Louis.
And the rankings of the various spellings in England&Wales in 2010 are:
Zane – #283, with 161 births.
Zayn – #566, with 60 births.
Zain – #172, with 320 births.
Zaine – #942, with 30 births.
Four variant spellings in the Top 1000 says to me that this name is likely to be rising, but they all come from the Arabic name Zayn, which means grace or beauty. Like most of the boys from One Direction (well, 3/5), he’s a ’93 baby, making him 18. For the sake of completion, of the other two, Louis is from ’91 and Harry is from ’94.