Entertainment

Louis Tomlinson cuts a relaxed figure as he puffs on a cigarette and strums his guitar in arty snaps

He skyrocketed to stardom as part of the hit boyband, One Direction

And Louis Tomlinson but his musical skills on display for arty black-and-white Instagram snaps on Saturday. 

The singer, 29, cut a low-key figure in tracksuit bottoms and a jacket as he smoked a cigarette and strummed his guitar. 

Unwind: Louis Tomlinson cut a low-key figure in tracksuit bottoms and a jacket on Saturday as he smoked a cigarette and strummed his guitar for arty black-and-white Instagram snaps

His brunette locks were swept back beneath a New Era cap in the photos taken by film director, Charlie Lightening.

Louis appeared on The X Factor in 2010 where he failed to make it through to bootcamp as a solo performer, but instead, he joined the newly devised boyband, One Direction, following a suggestion from judge Nicole Scherzinger. 

With new bandmates, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Niall Horan, One Direction made it through to the live shows before signing a £2million contract with Syco Records and finding chart-topping success.

However, the talent competition, X Factor, hasn’t been without controversy. 

Virtuoso: The singer, 29, who shot to stardom in X Factor boyband One Direction, swept his brunette locks back beneath a New Era cap in the photos taken by film director, Charlie Lightening

Virtuoso: The singer, 29, who shot to stardom in X Factor boyband One Direction, swept his brunette locks back beneath a New Era cap in the photos taken by film director, Charlie Lightening

On Thursday, two more former contestants from the show have reportedly spoken out about facing ‘abuse’ during and straight after their time on the X Factor.

According to The Sun, the singers came forward in the wake of several other stars including Jedward and Cher Lloyd blasting the ITV series, with a source saying that ‘momentum is gathering’ and others are ‘finding confidence to tell their stories’.

In a week of shock allegations, fellow alum Rebecca Ferguson has also demanded a parliamentary inquiry into the music industry and called for greater regulation to protect artists from ‘bullying’ agents and managers.

A source said: ‘There have long been rumours swirling about things involving NDAs and legal threats, but suddenly a few well-known faces are speaking out at once.

Speaking out: Two more former contestants on the X Factor have reportedly spoken out about facing 'abuse' during and straight after their time on the talent show (pictured, Rebecca Ferguson who demanded a parliamentary inquiry into the music industry on Monday)

Speaking out: Two more former contestants on the X Factor have reportedly spoken out about facing ‘abuse’ during and straight after their time on the talent show (pictured, Rebecca Ferguson who demanded a parliamentary inquiry into the music industry on Monday) 

‘It has given others the confidence to think about telling their stories too, and the momentum is gathering.

‘Some of those who feel they were exploited and allege they were abused are extremely well known, but always feared speaking out could end their careers. That seems to be changing.’

An X Factor spokesperson said: ‘Duty of care to our contestants is of the utmost importance to us. We take welfare very seriously and have measures in place to ensure that they are supported.’ 

The new accusations come just hours after Cher Lloyd accused bosses of taking advantage of her naivety and exploiting her.

Claims: A source has said that 'momentum is gathering' and others are 'finding confidence to tell their stories' in the wake of Jedward (pictured) and Cher Lloyd's allegations

Claims: A source has said that ‘momentum is gathering’ and others are ‘finding confidence to tell their stories’ in the wake of Jedward (pictured) and Cher Lloyd’s allegations 

Cher, who finished fourth in the 2010 edition of X Factor, claimed she was ‘sold a dream’ when appearing on the show at 17, before being exploited.

The now-27-year-old made the claims in a TikTok video, singing in a virtual duet: ‘How could I be so naive? They sold me the dream just to exploit me. 

‘Said darling darling you’ll go far if you shake that a** and date a star. And if the record’s taking off we’ll take the money.’

She has previously criticised X Factor, revealing in an interview last year that she had been ‘thrown to the wolves’ and experienced racism, abuse and death threats.

Former contestant: Cher Lloyd claimed in a TikTok video on Wednesday that she was 'sold a dream' when appearing on the show at 17, before being exploited

Former contestant: Cher Lloyd claimed in a TikTok video on Wednesday that she was ‘sold a dream’ when appearing on the show at 17, before being exploited

While on Tuesday, it was reported that Rebecca Ferguson has demanded a parliamentary inquiry into the music industry and called for greater regulation to protect artists from ‘bullying’ agents and managers. 

The singer, 34, who appeared on The X Factor in 2010, posted a lengthy statement on social media where she revealed she is due to meet Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to discuss how musicians are treated by bosses.

In a fiery statement, Ms Ferguson hit out at ‘powerful’ agents, managers and other executives and called for an independent tribunal to hold them to account. The singer claims that this will protect artists and help change an ‘archaic system’. 

In a series of tweets, Ms Ferguson also claimed that she knew two women who had been raped and others who had been driven close to suicide by the industry.  

Allegations: Jedward branded music mogul Simon, 61, as 'nothing but a bad facelift' in a Twitter tirade against the show on Monday night (pictured in 2013)

Allegations: Jedward branded music mogul Simon, 61, as ‘nothing but a bad facelift’ in a Twitter tirade against the show on Monday night (pictured in 2013) 

She also accused unnamed executives of ‘covering up sexual assault for your seedy friends’ and ‘grooming 17-year-old boys who are confused about their sexuality’.

The Liverpool-born star added: ‘At one point in my career I collapsed three times in a day, I was unconscious. My head hit the floor. No ambulance was called. This is one of many stories. This is the reality of artist mistreatment, this is why I fight.’

Ms Ferguson previously hit out at the industry in 2018 when she claimed to have been bullied, threatened and racially abused by executives. 

She added that she had been too worried to speak out before in fear of the welfare of her children – Lillie, 18, and Karl, 16 – but ‘will not be silenced’ any longer. Keeping the names of her alleged abusers anonymous, she said she was subjected to the ‘absolute worst, systematic bullying’ behind-the-scenes.

Pictured: Rebecca, 34, also shared this picture on March 29 as she discussed her parliamentary inquiry and demands to overhaul the music industry

Pictured: Rebecca, 34, also shared this picture on March 29 as she discussed her parliamentary inquiry and demands to overhaul the music industry 

Ms Ferguson found fame as the runner-up of the seventh series of X Factor, losing out to Matt Cardle.  She then signed a joint record deal with Syco Music and Epic Records in the UK and later signed with Columbia Records in the US. 

Her latest statement came shortly after former X Factor contestants Jedward blasted Simon Cowell in a stunning tirade. 

The duo claimed Mr Cowell sees himself as the ‘mafia leader’ of the music industry and said they regretted not telling the judges to ‘f**k off’ while on the ITV show. 

Jedward slammed music mogul Simon, 61, as ‘nothing but a bad facelift’ as they shared a video of them performing R.E.M. Everybody Hurts, adding: ‘Everybody hurts [heart emoji].

Starting off their Twitter tirade, Jedward shared a video of them performing R.E.M. Everybody Hurts, they added: 'Everybody hurts [heart emoji]. It shouldn't be normal that all artists have to face the emotional and legal battles when all they wanted to do is sing!'

Starting off their Twitter tirade, Jedward shared a video of them performing R.E.M. Everybody Hurts, they added: ‘Everybody hurts [heart emoji]. It shouldn’t be normal that all artists have to face the emotional and legal battles when all they wanted to do is sing!’

‘It shouldn’t be normal that all artists have to face the emotional and legal battles when all they wanted to do is sing!’

The brothers continued in a series of lengthy tweets: ‘The Biggest regret in life was not telling the judges on Xfactor to f**k off,’ (sic) followed by a heart emoji.

They alleged: ‘Every contestant on the Xfactor was a slave to the show and got paid Zero while they made millions!  

‘The fact that every contestant has to act like their judge mentors them! When in reality all they care about is their pay check!’ 

Jedward went on to claim they were seeking ‘justice’ for One Direction and Little Mix who both found fame on The X Factor.

Little Mix originally made up of Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Anne Pinnock – were formed on the show in 2011. In December, Jesy left the band as it had ‘taken a toll on her mental health’. 

Rebecca Ferguson’s statement in full

Former X Factor runner up and soul singer/songwriter Rebecca Ferguson is due to meet the Secretary of State, Oliver Dowden, from the department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport early next month to debate musicians’ welfare and treatment.

The music industry is currently very much front of mind with the Commons Select Committee as the economics of music streaming is in the process of an investigation.

‘Rebecca is calling for the Select Committee to extend the interrogation beyond just streaming and for artist welfare to come under the microscope.

‘Rebecca has also reached out to a major UK broadcaster and Ofcom requesting for them both to conduct investigations into the treatment and processes involved with recruiting artists.

‘In her quest to protect artists, Rebecca has also launched a petition for the public to sign and support.

She is determined to launch a thorough inquiry into the treatment of creatives and artists within the industry.’

Rebecca said: ‘People have warned me for years about doing this or have encouraged me not to speak out, and unfortunately, I realise that my career may be once again affected by speaking out.

‘However, enough is enough and musicians/artists/creatives need change, a lot of my damage has been done but this is about protecting people in the future.

‘We need an immediate inquiry to take place to change the way people are allowed to operate in this industry!

‘The music industry brings billions of pounds into the UK economy each year in different ways – and the artists mainly responsible need to be treated with the utmost of care and respect for their contribution to society.

‘Great artists have gone before their contribution to society! Great artists have gone before me and spoken out, Prince and Nina Simone, for example, the list is endless, and we owe it to their legacy to create a safer industry.’

Rebecca added: ‘By regulating the music industry and holding people to account it will make for a happier and healthier working environment, which will in turn increase productivity!

‘My proposals are not very different to other businesses, I just want the people working within the industry to have somebody above them, so that they can never become so powerful that their actions are unpunishable.

‘Music managers, agents etc should have a license for instance, just like in sports. They should also face a tribunal should they mistreat an artist or employee.

‘We need this all to be regulated, people involved should be accountable to an official independent governing body.

‘Anybody that is against this, does not love artists and wants to be able to keep an archaic system that does a disservice to music and humanity!’


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