Mary Byrne, 50, is a supermarket worker from Ballyfermot, Dublin. She is the oldest of the final 12 contestants in the 2010 X Factor. She says she wanted to be a singer all her life but never had the confidence until now. She is a single mother to her 23-year-old daughter Deborah. She has performed with her brother Tommy under the name The Tommy Lee Experience. In 2008 she won the Irish television singing contest Nollaig No. 1 using the name Mary Lee
, releasing the single “Siúil Leat”. At her first audition, she sang the Tom Jones hit “I (Who Have Nothing)” and at the judges houses she performed “Fix You” by Coldplay, though she forgot the words of the song. Her employer, Tesco Ireland, started a campaign for all staff to support her. Before the first live show, Byrne suffered a throat infection and the show’s bosses asked her to quit smoking to avoid making the infection worse.
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