From the moment she stepped onto the X Factor stage, we knew that Cher Lloyd wasn't your average reality show contestant.
The Malvern teenager just oozed star quality, leaving the judges and viewing public spellbound by her swaggerific performance.
She continued to impress during the live shows and it quickly became clear that, regardless of whether she won the competition or not, she would land herself a record contract.
Sure enough, Cher promptly signed to Simon Cowell's label Syco and was immediately hooked up with some of the world's hottest producers - and the results are jaw-droppingly good.
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It's hard to know how to react to the advance publicity for Cher Lloyd's Sticks + Stones emanating from her management company and record label, Syco. "I have never worked an album which polarised public opinion to such an extent", offered Syco's managing director, Sonny Takhar. That's a remark that could give you pause for thought. It appears to suggest that the X Factor finalist's debut might not be the equal of Syco's back catalogue, a matchless pantheon of unimpeachable classics, famed for attracting blanket acclaim, for uniting all who heard them in delight and awe: Joe McElderry's Wide Awake, Il Divo singing The Winner Takes It All in Spanish and Helping Haiti's Everybody Hurts, on which the REM classic was pitilessly brutalised for six harrowing minutes by Jon Bon Jovi, James Blunt, Mika and Michael Bublé. You read it and think: bloody hell, are you actually trying to gently deflate expectations by implying that this is a record less appealing than, say, Westlife's last album? How unappealing can a record be?
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