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HOME > The X Factor > The X Factor (Season 1)

Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne save the life of 'X Factor' contestant

By Christopher Rocchio, 09/28/2007 

Simon Cowell is accustomed to ruining dreams, not saving lives.  However the American Idol judge did just that during a Saturday night broadcast of Britain's The X Factor reality competition series following contestant Jacqui Gray's rendition of "Something Inside So Strong."

"You have a very odd-sounding voice," said Cowell to Gray during the broadcast, the U.K.'s Daily Mirror reported Wednesday.  "Something happens to your throat when you sing. It is quite raspy.  It sounds as if you have someone else in there, like you were choking on something."  In addition, fellow The X Factor judge Sharon Osbourne told Gray to "get it checked out," according to the Mirror.

"I have been singing since I was a kid but that had never been pointed out to me before," Gray told the Mirror.  "After the show my mum said, 'It is not the best I have heard you sing.' But nobody spotted the problem.  I thought I was suffering from a chest infection or swollen glands."

The 46-year-old club singer and mom headed Cowell and Osbourne's advice and saw an ear, nose and throat specialist.

"I had been to the doctor so often his wife must have thought we were having an affair," she told the Mirror.  "He sent me to see a consultant at Sunderland General Hospital. A scan showed a shadow on my lungs.  I was diagnosed with bronchiectasis and told if I had not got it seen to, it could have killed me."

Needless to say, Gray was grateful for Cowell and Osbourne's advice.

"I want to thank them both," she told the Mirror.  "I may not have got through X Factor but they gave me something much more important than that... they really did save my life."

Bronchiectasis is treatable with physiotherapy and antibiotics and Gray said she plans on auditioning for The X Factor again next year.

"I just love singing," she told the Mirror, adding she also wants to personally thank Cowell and Osbourne.

"We are glad to hear Simon and the judges helped to identify Jacqui's problem," a The X Factor spokesperson told the Mirror.  "It is great news she is on the road to recovery."

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