IT was definitely a rollercoaster of a year in 2014 for X Factor contestant Lola Saunders.
Now, the 20-year-old East Boldon singer is looking forward to what 2015 will bring.
Lola, who was working at Whitburn fishmongers Latimer’s while training in childcare, made it to the finals of the X Factor.
After being eliminated in week four of the ITV1 contest’s live shows, Lola says she’s been non-stop but managed to put her feet up over the festive period.
She said: “The experience overall has been crazy. I’ve always dreamed of getting to where I did on the X Factor, but to actually get there, and be in the situation now when you come out of it, and all the opportunities it brings – it’s amazing.
“For this new year, there’s a lot going on, but we’re not really allowed to do anything now until the winner’s brought out his first single.
“This month, that’s when I’ll get together with all my management.
“We sort of know which direction that I’m going to go down, which I couldn’t really portray on the show.
“I love all my dance music, I love my Ibiza music and everything like that, and on the show we didn’t really have a themed week where you could go out and do that.
“I’m going to be getting myself in the studio and trying to collaborate with artists and DJs – I’ve had a few offers already but I can’t get in the studio just yet.
“I’ve waited for the new year to come, so it’s just fingers crossed really and I’m just really excited – I’ve just got a nice feeling about it.”
After Lola left the X Factor, she put her backing behind Ben Haenow, who went on to win the show.
She said: “There couldn’t be a more deserving lad to win it. He’s such a nice person and a down-to-earth guy, his family, his girlfriend and everyone are just lovely people.
“Same again with Fleur, she was amazing, but she’s going to have a career no matter what.”
Lola is hoping this year will bring her a career of her own, and her plans don’t include returning to work at Latimer’s.
She said: “If I sit back and kick my feet up now nothing is going to happen, but I’ve got so much determination and I’m really excited for it. I can’t wait.
“Latimer’s have support me throughout my whole X Factor journey.
“They’ve always known that I’ve loved to sing, and they’ve been brilliant throughout.
“I worked there for a long time, since I was about 15 or 16 and they’ve been brilliant, but now I’m in the right direction to just really attack my music career and everyone understands that.”