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Ben Haenow X Factor blog: 'Cheryl's hubby gave me girlfriend advice'

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In his exclusive Croydon Advertiser blog about life inside the X Factor house, Ben Haenow gives us the lowdown on juggling home and competition life, drinking champagne with the stars and bumping into Nick Knowles...

It's been a great week, I'm still living the dream.

I went to the Katie Piper Foundation party in London last night (November 27) and sat with Cheryl and Jean-Bernard. It was really cool, you expect it to be so awkward because you think "what have I got to talk about that these people are going to be interested in".

But I sat next to Jean-Bernard and after a couple of glasses of champagne everything was really nice.

We were chatting about my girlfriend, Jess, and he said family is really important to him.

He asked if Jess has been worried since I've been in the competition and imparted a bit of wisdom on how he's dealt with having such a high profile, lovely wife.

He told me his main concern is looking after Cheryl and making sure she's okay, they're obviously very loved up.

I said the exact same thing about Jess. My family and my girlfriend mean the world to me.

He told me the most important thing is to keep them in the loop and keep in touch.

Simon was there with Lauren, and Mel was there with her husband. It was just a really chilled out event and it was nice to just share some moments with them.

There was an auction but I didn't place any bids with the amount people were paying - it started at around £2,000. I'm sure if I'd have given Simon a nudge to front me some money he would have obliged!

There were so many people there, some people invited by the foundation and some celebrities. I saw Nick Knowles but I did have a couple of drinks so he's the only one I really remember!

This morning I went to Kiss FM for an interview. When I'm in the van in Croydon driving around all day I listen to all the radio stations, but I used to listen to the Kiss breakfast show every morning so being in there with them was really surreal.

I've been on the TV and the stereo, there's nothing else I can go on!

The rest of the week I've just been concentrating really hard on the songs. The public have chosen the jukebox songs and I'm singing Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran.

I'm really grateful to them for picking that song. I haven't done a contemporary number yet and I think they want to see me sing something a bit more modern.

The pressure is on, it's not just me picking a song it's the British public saying "we want you to sing this, don't let us down!"

Before this you couldn't let yourself think about the final, but now you can almost taste it. You keep thinking "what if".

I'm nervous, I never imagined I'd get this far in the competition. Andrea being in the bottom two last week proves that anything can happen. We're all a bit rattled by that.

I haven't got any strategies for dealing with the nerves. The drinks last night helped so maybe a night out with Jean-Bernard and everyone else would be good!

You just have to concentrate on the reasons you're here – to change your life and the lives of your family. You have to concentrate on the positives and use the nerves to your advantage.

Simon has told me to focus on my songs and concentrate. We really have to nail the performances now.

I'm going to come back to Croydon next week and try to get some of those Ben Haenow sausages so I'll give you some feedback on them when I get them.

Ben Haenow X Factor blog: 'Cheryl's hubby gave me girlfriend advice'


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