Please follow the link for the full article by Andrew Hough dated 19 January 2010, an extract of which is below:
British exchange student Mary-Jess Leaverland wins Chinese X Factor
A British exchange student, Mary-Jess Leaverland, has won a Chinese version of the X Factor after singing in the competition in Mandarin, it has emerged.
Mary-Jess Leaverland with the trophy she won in a Chinese version of X Factor - Photo: SWNS
The 19 year-old, from Linden, Glos, won the competition Min Xing Chang Fan Tian - which translates to I want to Sing to the Stars - during her year studying in China as part of the University of Sheffield course.
A similar article by Emma John of The Observer dated 20 June 2010 appears at guardian.co.uk
Mary-Jess Leaverland: What next for China's X Factor winner?
She won China's X Factor in front of 70 million viewers, and returned to the UK in anonymity with £900 in prize money. Then Mary-Jess Leaverland got a major label record deal after a mention in a local paper, and she's never met Simon Cowell…
Mary-Jess Leaverland at home in Gloucester - Photograph: SWNS
When Mary-Jess Leaverland sang her way to stardom in front of millions of TV viewers last December, Cheryl Cole was silent, Dannii Minogue didn't cry and Simon Cowell failed to sign her. The 19-year-old's victory was watched by 70 million people – five times as many as saw The X Factor final – but they were all in China, and the show, a talent contest called I Want to Sing to the Stars, doesn't broadcast outside the country's Jiangsu province.
Of all the articles I have seen today, this is perhaps the best. It gives a splendid insight not only into Mary-Jess the singer, but into Mary-Jess the person and what her life is like since she won the Chinese version of X-Factor. This is from telegraph.co.uk, dated 1 May 2011:
The English girl who won China's X Factor
Meet Mary-Jess Leaverland, an exchange student from Gloucester who stumbled into the audition for the Chinese version of 'The X Factor' – and went on to win the whole contest.
Mary-Jess Leaverland at her home with her mother - Photo: REX
By Sophie Wilson 7:00AM BST 01 May 2011
It's the morning rush hour in Beijing's downtown embassy district. There is frost underfoot but an English girl in a flimsy red satin evening dress poses for the camera to the amusement of onlooking builders and workers on their bicycles.
After a whistle-stop four-day trip, we are due at the airport within the hour but the team behind Mary-Jess Leaverland has decided to squeeze in one last photograph. This, after all, could be the killer shot, the one that sums up the 21-year-old singer's story in one image: English girl in China makes it big.
The photograph I have displayed here is the third of three. For the full article, please go to telegraph.co.uk
Thank you for posting these, Ken. I think it's good to get some of the history shown on the forum, as well as new news. I had been thinking of posting that May 11 telegraph article but now you have saved me the effort.