10:54AM, Thursday 05 September 2013
If you watched The X-Factor at the weekend you will no doubt recognise this long-haired rocker from Maidenhead.
Fil Henley, or 'Fil with an F' as he quickly became known, was seen auditioning twice for the judges on the ITV talent show on Saturday and Sunday.
The 30-year-old went along to the early stages of the competition with the intention of making a funny YouTube video, but ended up going further than he expected.
"I thought I could go on there, be a little bit different and see what happens," he said.
"I wasn't really that bothered about getting through so I thought I might as well go out with a bang. It paid off."
Fil, who lives in Wavell Road, attended three auditions with show representatives earlier this year, before being told he would go through to face the judges.
He had to prepare five songs for the closed-room audition but only ended up performing one.
The guitar teacher said: "They wanted me to play up to the stereotype, to be the rocker and be outrageous, but I thought I'd just be myself."
Although he did not progress past the arena stage, he certainly made a big impression, largely due to his hair, which Sharon Osbourne thought was 'quite fabulous'.
But Fil said there is no big secret behind its volume, other than a good wash and a blow dry.
"It sort of just assumes a shape," he explained.
"Obviously the warmer I get the bigger it gets so it adds to the effect when I'm playing live."
The unusual spelling of his name also drew attention, with #FilwithanF trending on Twitter, and many assuming he had changed it to stand out. But 'Fil' is indeed his real birth name - his family is part Norwegian.
The former Claires Court Schools pupil has been gigging for about seven years.
For the last five he has been the frontman for the band Wings of Pegasus, with whom he released an album, Persistence, on Sunday.
In 2010 they finished third in the nationwide Surface Unsigned competition.
Fil has even had experience of being a music talent competition judge himself - at the 2011 Maidenhead Carnival Battle of the Bands.
Despite not progressing further on X-Factor, he described the experience as 'positive' and said: "Just getting my face on TV is a bonus."
He added: "I'm going to ride this wave and see where it takes me.
"It will be a case of releasing four or five singles from the album and putting out videos to go with them.
"If nothing comes from the X-Factor that's the game plan anyway.
"You don't get this chance every day."
In Saturday's X-Factor, Fil performed Let Me Entertain You by Robbie Williams for the judges.
They opted to send him home, labelling him 'too clean' to be a rock star.
But a change of heart saw him called back and told to be more rock and roll.
So he returned for his arena audition, in Sunday's show, sporting temporary tattoos.
He ended his performance of Wings of Pegasus single That's Metal (To My Ears) by leaping onto the judges' desk and smashing two glasses of water - before Gary Barlow splashed him with a third.
Fil said: "Gary was loving it. I remember he was jumping up and down."
He described the glass-smashing as 'all spontaneous'.
But what the TV audience didn't see was him downing the water before launching the glasses, because health and safety-conscious producers had warned him not to throw liquid near the electrical equipment.
Speaking about the arena experience, he said: "It was great.
"I really enjoyed getting out in front of that many people. For me that's what I want to be doing and having that crowd there was a little taster of what I'm aiming to do anyway."
Of 'Queen of Rock' Sharon Osbourne, he said: "If she heard my actual music I think she'd probably like it because it's her sort of genre. But in terms of what I was doing on the X-Factor it was more of a publicity thing."
"It would have been great under different circumstances to have met her and showed her what I do."
Fil was due to film for ITV2 show Celebrity Juice yesterday off the back of his X-Factor appearance.
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