From Tunbridge Wells to The X Factor for Bella Penfold

Pam Mills
Bella performs in The X Factor auditions THAMES / SYCO

Bella Penfold, 19, started as a waitress at the Tunbridge Wells venue and is now living her dream on the ITV series after advancing to the third stage, this weekend’s Six Chair Challenge.

From the 85,000 who entered the audition process, Bella has made it to the final 36 acts and has impressed judge Simon Cowell along the way.

“I have always wanted to be a singer,” said Bella, who grew up locally, attending The Mead School and St Gregory’s Catholic School.

“This has been a chance to do something that I love. I was a waitress but I started to perform as a singer. Lots of people came up to me and said ‘why don’t you go on The X Factor?’

“I thought ‘if I don’t do it now, when will I?’ because I am at the most adventurous stage of my life. It is hard to describe the experience, there are only a small percentage of people who know what it is like and what we go through. But everything you see on TV is genuine, we are that hyper or we are crying – it is up and down.

“It has been an incredible journey and I cannot fault The X Factor team. People disrespect the show, but I have had the most amazing experience.”
Bella moved to Brentwood in Essex with her family after leaving school and now studies performing arts at Harlow College, but until her life changed on The X Factor, she travelled down to One Warwick Park Hotel at weekends.
Having made it through the untelevised producers’ auditions, she received the coveted four yes votes in the judges’ auditions with her performance of Joss Stone’s Fell in Love with a Boy.

Friends and family are eagerly awaiting the Six Chair Challenge, a brutal elimination process that will see all but six of the female contestants left in the process eliminated. This series all female finalists have been coached by Simon Cowell.

“It’s a nerve-wracking process and it feels like we are gladiators going into a tournament,” she continued. “There has been a high amount of pressure.“Simon is such a nice man. He comes across as stern but he gives great advice and wants us to win. He can suggest songs for us to perform, and he told me I had the most potential of anyone he had seen sing that day.

“I love performing at One Warwick Park Hotel and I want to come back and sing at their events. I like to perform songs with a message, and to experiment with different styles like rap and jazz.
“It would mean the world to me to win but I am over the moon to even be a contender.”

The X Factor is watched by around six million and next airs on Saturday at 8.35pm.
Harry Spencer, Operations Manager at One Warwick Park Hotel, said: “Bella has been performing regularly for two years, entertaining guests in our restaurant, Seventeen.

“We are absolutely delighted she has made the X Factor finals and it’s nothing less than she deserves because Bella is a very talented singer.

“We wish her all the best with the next stage and look forward to welcoming her back to the hotel soon.”

Since opening its doors in July 2016 the luxury four star hotel has welcomed a variety of celebrities from the screen and stage, but it would now appear One Warwick Park has its own star.

For updates on events at One Warwick Park Hotel see

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