Eleri Sion


Judges: Owen Powell, Bethan Elfyn (2005-), Aled Haydn Jones, Huw Chiswell (2006-), Emma Walford (2003-4), Peredur ap Gwynedd (2003-5)

Vocal coach: Caryl Parry Jones


Al Fresco for S4C, 26 October 2003 to 2006


Straight off the back of ITV's announcement that Pop Idol wouldn't be coming back and well before ITV's announcement of The X Factor, S4C swallowed a little bit of its pride and came up with this more bearable show. Wawffactor didn't go looking for a singer, it looked for more of a singing performer - the dancing and singing go hand in hand, although the singing is dominant.

In Wales, the series did not mean the world to contestants as much as X Factor does. There was no million-pound contract, which thankfully meant no excruciatingly tearful pleas of "Please, it really means the world to me". It was more of a platform for any aspiring young singers, which works especially in Welsh-speaking Wales. Most of the contestants featured didn't follow the traditional route of the Eisteddfods yet it was available to them - so not making the next stage was more of a tiny knock than the big overblown tragedy it is to some of those involved in X Factor.

The format was simple:- hundreds took part in a series of auditions around Wales,- all of them auditioning in front of four judges:

  • Owen Powell - former guitarist of Catatonia
  • Bethan Elfyn - Radio 1 DJ, sidekick to Huw Stephens
  • Aled Hadyn Jones (BB Aled) - Also from Radio 1 (best known from Chris Moyles) and also Entertainment reporter for BBC Radio Cymru
  • Huw Chiswell - senior musician

Emma Walford was a judge in the first series, musician Peredur ap Gwynedd was a judge in the first two series and Bethan joined the panel in the second series.

Eventually, the hundreds that applied got whittled down to ten who took part in studio heats (with a studio audience of about 15!) The judges voted off one of the remaining singers every week. It was during this time that they received voice coaching sessions from profilic Flintshire singer-songwriter Caryl Parry Jones (who also progressed to become Series Producer).

The culmination was a live grand final from HTV's studios in Cardiff (with a studio audience of much more than 15) with three remaining finalists. After the judges eliminated one of the finalists, the winner was decided by the now-obligatory phone vote.


2003/4 series winner: Lisa Pedrick - Following an album release, Lisa is concentrating on live performances and her own composing. Previously, she was a reporter/researcher for Hacio, a late night current affairs programme produced by HTV for S4C.

2005 winner: Rebecca Trehearn - Released an album and then moved to London where she's had a number of prominent roles in the West End, and won an Olivier Award for her performance in the revival of Show Boat.

2006 winner: Einir Dafydd - Also released a debut album and then disappeared for a while before coming back to win 2007's Can i Gymru (Song for Wales) competition...and then disappeared again.


Despite the fact that both male and female contestants enter, the winner was always female. Both 2004 and 2005 grand finals featured only female competitors. The 2006 grand final was the first to feature a male in the final three (Nathan Whiteley from Wrexham), but he was voted out by the judges.

The 2005 final became a two-way battle with just 48 hours to transmission when Lisa Haf Davies pulled out because of mumps. She followed in the footsteps of the show's first winner and became lead presenter/reporter of Hacio.

Runner-up in the 2003/4 competition was one Aimee Duffy from Nefyn, Gwynedd. In later years, she dropped her given name, secured a major-label deal, and burst into the public gaze with a number one single, "Mercy", in early 2008.

One competitor in the last series, Aimee-Ffion Edwards from Newport, Gwent, later found herself cast as obsessive 17-year-old, 'Sketch', in the first two series of E4's apparently 'cool' comedy drama, Skins. She's gone on to further success as an actor, including two series of Detectorists and one of Keeping Faith, and voiced recurring villain "Havoc" in Thunderbirds Are Go!.

Web links

Official site in Welsh and English, via the Wayback Machine


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