Following Bellefire's failure to compete with the likes of Sugababes and Girls Aloud, Irish five-piece Wonderland were The X-Factor judge Louis Walsh's second attempt to muscle in on the girl band market.
Chosen by the pop svengali and Westlife vocalist Kian Egan from over 700 Dublin auditionees, Sharon Condon, Corrina Durran, Leigh Learmont, Kasey Smith, and Jodi Albert -- the last formerly of Simon Cowell's flop Spice Girls copycats Girl Thing and teen soap opera Hollyoaks -- signed a six-figure deal with Mercury Records in 2008 after making their first TV appearance on The Late Late Show. Two years later, the group eventually launched with a behind-the-scenes ITV2 documentary, Louis Walsh & Kian Egan's Next Big Thing, a support slot on Westlife's Where We Are tour, and a performance at the Isle of Wight Festival. After opening for Boyzone, Olly Murs, and Taylor Swift on their U.K. tours, they embarked on a nationwide school tour, and released their first single, "Not a Love Song," which was swiftly followed by their Introduction to Wonderland EP. Their self-titled debut album, featuring songs written by Take That's Mark Owen, Andy Hill (Susan Boyle), and Bob Clearmountain (Robbie Williams), and cover versions of Lady Antebellum's "I Need You Now" and Ryan Adams' "When the Stars Go Blue," was released in 2011. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi