Many had low expectations of a 50-year-old supermarket cashier until the music began to play

Edduin Carvajal
Apr 26, 2018
01:26 P.M.
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Mary Byrne was a 50-year-old cashier at Tesco in Ireland when she went to The X Factor audition in 2010 to surprise the judges and the audience.


Simon Cowell, who has been one of the judges since the show started, is famous for his tough and even cruel way to critic contestants and it was clear that he had low expectations when he saw Byrne on stage.

American Web Media reported that her family encouraged her to go to the audition as she had been seeking for a music career since she was younger but stopped doing it because of low self-esteem.

Byrne used to sing in front of large groups of people but, due to a strong depression she endured after a breakup, everything stopped at her 28 years of age. The X Factor was the perfect excuse to start following her dreams again.


Many customers of the Tesco store where Byrne worked knew her already as they always wanted to go through her checkout because she used to sing a bit for them.

Apart from that, Byrne auditioned for the Irish TV signing contest Nollaig No. 1 and won, so she was kind of famous in her hometown. She chose I Who Have Nothing by Tom Jones and Louis Walsh, one of the judges, pointed out that it was a ‘big song.’


Even though it was indeed a big song, Byrne was ready to perform it and everyone noticed it. When she stopped singing, the audience gave her a long-lasting standing ovation and she couldn’t hold back her tears.

Cowell confessed that she had the best voice out of everyone else who auditioned that day. The judges, Cowell, Walsh, Katy Perry, and Cheryl Cole, gave Byrne the ‘yes’ she was willing to hear, and her professional career began,

While Byrne didn’t win the competition, she made it to the live semi-finals. When she was eliminated, she signed a record deal, released a couple of albums, and wrote an autobiography.