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Romford impersonator to double as BGT magician instead of X-Factor’s Shayne Ward

PUBLISHED: 18:00 22 June 2014 | UPDATED: 15:32 28 November 2017

An X Factor winner’s official impersonator changed his whole persona because he now wants to become the look-alike of a Britain’s Got Talent finalist.

Paul Cole, 30, of Romford, was Shayne Ward’s double for seven years, but as the singer fades out of the spotlight, he now plans to become the official impersonator for magician Darcy Oake.

He said: “It was such an amazing experience when I was Shayne’s lookalike and so when people started telling me I looked like Darcy, I thought why not try someone different!”

Paul, who works as a graphic designer when he isn’t impersonating talent show stars, went to Marshalls Park School, in Pettits Lane, Romford, and knew he wanted to be a singer and an actor at 16.

But his life changed for ever when a talent scout spotted him in the street when he was 17 and asked if he wanted to be in a Backstreet Boys tribute act.

He said: “We were taught the same dance routines as the Backstreet Boys and ’N Sync and were given singing lessons, so I learned how to sing in just a few weeks.”

The band soon turned from a tribute act to a band in their own right, calling themselves Stateside, and recorded their first album at music shop PMT, in South Street, Romford, before touring England as well as Europe and Florida.

Jive Records approached Stateside asking them to record a demo but the company soon decided it wanted to record with winners of Popstars: The Rivals’, boyband One True Voice.

Paul then left the band and thought it was time to have a clean break by shaving all of his hair off, triggering the start of his career as an impersonator of 2005’s winner of ITV’s X Factor.

Paul said: “I went for the more shaven head and facial hair look which was new to me because before I had lots of hair like Harry Styles from One Direction!

“It was when I was clean shaven that I was told that I had a similar look to singer Shayne Ward so I just thought as a laugh, I would send in my picture to the Xtra Factor.

But it was no joke as his picture was shown to Shayne on the show, kicking off his career as his double.

Paul toured round the country and featured in national newspapers, magazines, events, even rubbing shoulders with the Backstreet Boys, Joey Essex and the man himself.

He said: “When I met Shayne, he was very down to earth and he was very generous with his time with me.”

Shayne started to take a back seat from the spotlight, putting an end to Paul’s career as his double, as there was a decrease in demand for work, but as Darcy, the 26-year-old magician who travelled all the way from Canada to appear on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, came sixth in the competition, Paul experienced déjà vu when he was told he looked like the magician. He said: “Since Shayne was fading out of the spotlight, I thought I would try and grab this opportunity to see where it would take me.”

Paul once again sent a picture, this time to Britain’s Got More Talent, and soon got a response from Darcy’s manager, who wants to meet up in July to discuss future projects. He said: “I want to do a little bit of what Darcy did on the show, making my own little version of his magic act so I can perform to the public.

Paul – just back from Canada where he won a look-alike competition – says Darcy has now been signed to the same management as One Direction, so the future is looking bright for them both. “It’s all really exciting thinking this could happen again, it was such a great experience. I just don’t know what is around the corner.”

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