Robbie Hance had been homeless for six years at the time of his audition for The X Factor in 2012. His performance of Damien Rice’s “Coconut Skins” went viral as all of the judges had high hopes for him. But, they were all shocked when he stormed off the stage at boot camp. What really happened?
During his audition, Robbie shared his story about being homeless. But it was clear that he was always destined to be a singer. After hearing his stunning performance, judge Tulisa Contostavlos said “I think you need to realize the potential you have and
how good you are.” Louis Walsh added: “I don’t think you have had a break in life and you absolutely deserve that.” The future looked bright for Robbie who was sent into boot camp, the next stage in the competition.
During the boot camp stage, Robbie was set to perform with fellow contestants Adam Burridge and Jake Quickenden. The pair commented how Robbie went off to take a nap instead of practicing for their big performance in front of the judges. Robbie took the first verse of the song and forgot the lyrics. He began to laugh while the judges looked on in complete shock. He ran off the stage, dropping the microphone on the floor and mouthing “I’m going home.” So what really happened?
“When I finally stepped on that stage, all I could hear was a voice telling me ‘you don’t deserve this.’ I knew the words of the song but I couldn’t sing them,” he later told The Sun. “I was so sick of my stupid back story, so I walked out. But I’m sorry I let Adam and Jake down.” He also went on to say “I am sure I only made it through to boot camp because I told the crew I was homeless. That’s all anyone ever spoke to me about.” After appearing on The X Factor, a news story began circulating about Robbie’s criminal history. “Thanks to The X Factor everyone recognizes me as a homeless thief and they won’t touch me with a barge pole – but I’d rather be homeless than have anything more to do with ‘X Factor.'”
Robbie reportedly stole money and expensive items from one of his friend’s houses. He had moved in with her after he was struggling to find a place to stay in 2008. He was arrested twice in 2009 for theft and property damage. “It isn’t on that he is getting so much praise when he has a criminal past. People should know what he has done and be wary” she later told The Sun. Robbie also continued to struggle to find places to stay after appearing on The X Factor.
After four months of being on the street, he contacted the show’s producers to ask them for help. “I was freezing cold and malnourished. I had been sleeping in parks and building sites and living on half a sandwich a day from one of the charity centers” he said. “But my key worker — assigned before my first filmed audition — told me she couldn’t help because it wouldn’t be fair on the other contestants on the show.”
He continued to speak out publicly about how the producers would not help him out. “She said it would be favoritism. So I told her: ‘If you don’t help me now, I won’t make it to boot camp in Liverpool — I’ll be dead.’ The answer was still no.” He said that eventually, he stopped asking for help. “But I’d rather be homeless than have anything more to do with ‘X Factor'” he shockingly said. Our host Summer actually did a What’s Hot video over on our YouTube channel where she talks a little bit more about Robbie’s story along with other homeless contestants and where they are now. Definitely check that out down below because some of them have gone on to do some big things.
A spokesperson for The X Factor cleared up some of the confusion surrounding Robbie’s claims. “While the contestants are in our care we enforce a fair and consistent policy on accommodation, travel and sustenance,” they said. “The welfare of the contestants is always our priority. The judges decide which acts are put through to boot camp based on the strength of their performance and Robbie received four yeses.” After his time on The X Factor, Robbie pretty much went missing from the public eye. While he did create a YouTube channel, he only put out a few covers before stopping uploading altogether.
He changed his YouTube profile picture to his mugshot. Four months ago he uploaded a short video to tell everyone that he was doing ok and to say that he no longer lives in England.
Are you surprised to see how Robbie’s ‘X Factor’ journey ended?
Follow Talent Recap on Instagram.