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Count Ray Quinn among the myriad young singers launched to fame via the reality TV phenomenon of the early 21st century. Born April 25, 1988, in Merseyside, England, Quinn first earned notoriety as a child actor, in 2000 beginning a three-year stint on the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside. His work as troubled teen Anthony Murray even earned a 2002 Inside Soap Award as Best Young Actor. While attending the Merseyside Dance and Drama College, Quinn auditioned for the ITV amateur talent showcase The X Factor in 2006. Judge Simon Cowell initially deemed him unfit to succeed to the semifinal round in the 16-to-24 age category but later changed his mind, and Quinn eventually made it to the final round of three, losing to Leona Lewis. Cowell nevertheless offered Quinn a record contract and in early 2007 he traveled to Los Angeles to cut his self-titled Sony BMG debut, a collection of swing-era classics including "My Way" and "Ain't That a Kick in the Head." The album debuted atop the U.K. pop charts and earned the baby-faced Quinn a £100,000 sponsorship deal with Wella Hair Products.