In 2008, Athena Manoukian made her mark in the national final to select Greece’s Junior Eurovision act. A decade on, she gave a show-stopping X Factor UK audition that grabbed the attention of judges Robbie Williams and Simon Cowell.
The Greek singer of Armenian descent performed Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” for her audition, a mash-up of the original from 2003 and Beyonce’s sultry 2015 remix for the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. Athena revealed she had come all the way from Greece to audition, saying, “It’s a great opportunity for me to win your heart.”
With the help of three dancers, Athena worked it on the stage and demonstrated both her vocal talents and dance ability.
Her pop moves grabbed the attention of judge Robbie Williams, with wife Ayda Field shooting her husband a lethal look. Ayda critiqued the performance, observing that “You’re a beautiful girl but there were moments where I found it a bit cheesy.”
When it came to delivering the verdict, the judges were hesitant. Louis Tomlinson said, “I thought the vocal was good, but I’m not sure”. The former One Direction member was the only judge to give Athena a “no”.
Robbie saw potential, saying “There’s a lot about you that is right, if you had the right direction.” Simon Cowell was also impressed by the overall package. He said, “You’ve got a dated image, but I could never say no to this audition. You’ve got three yeses”.
As the traditional Bootcamp stage has been dropped from The X Factor UK this year, the judges will later decide if Athena will go on to face the Six Chair Challenge.
Athena got her start in 2008, when she competed in the national selection for Greece’s Junior Eurovision entry. She placed seventh with her song “To fili tis Afroditis” (Aphrodite’s kiss).
In 2015, Athena — who has Armenian heritage — was rumoured to be part of the Armenian diaspora supergroup Genealogy who competed in Vienna. However, this did not eventuate.
Later that year, Athena stopped by the wiwibloggs dungeon and chatted about her latest projects.
Athena isn’t the only act with a Eurovision connection to audition for the 2018 series of The X Factor. Last week Ireland’s 2017 act Brendan Murray impressed the judges with his audition. And due to make an appearance in future episodes are the Romanian countertenor Cezar Ouatu, and Junior Eurovision 2013 winner Gaia Cauchi.
Meanwhile, Malta is in the midst of filming the first series of X Factor Malta. After the judges’ auditions round was filmed last month, the show is currently filming the Bootcamp round. The show is due to premiere on Sunday 7 October, and the series will also serve as the artist selection for Malta’s 2019 Eurovision act.
What do you think? How far will Athena go in The X Factor? Share your thoughts below!