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Alistair Griffin

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Championed by Bee Gee Robin Gibb, singer/songwriter Alistair Griffin was the runner-up of the second series of BBC talent show Fame Academy. Born in Middlesbrough in 1977, Griffin began performing at an early age and started busking on the streets of York while studying for his English Literature degree. After graduating, he briefly appeared in a new lineup of late-'90s pop act Ultra and as part of Pulse, and reached the semi-finals of the U.K. search to find the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest entry with the song "Fade Away." The same year he failed to make it past the audition stages of the first series of BBC's answer to Pop Idol, Fame Academy, but after signing a publishing deal with Trevor Horn's company, Perfect Songs, he reached the live finals a year later. Heavily criticized for his "unoriginal" and "boy band-ish" voice and image, he nevertheless gained support from judge Robin Gibb, and ended up as the dark horse of the competition, finishing second place behind Alex Parks. In 2004, he signed a deal with UMTV, scored a number five single with "Bring It On," and released his debut album of the same name, a mixture of original compositions and covers of tracks by John Lennon, The Calling and Bread. Following the disappointing chart position of second single "You And Me Tonight," he was dropped by his label, and spent the next few years fronting various bands, including Albion and Blue Nun. In 2007, he received world-wide attention for his ode to footballer Mark Viduka, based on Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," and in 2010, gained an unexpected third Top 40 hit when his track "Just Drive," was used over footage of the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix. Griffin has also written songs for the likes of Phixx and Cascada, and penned former football manager Terry Venables' 2002 World Cup anthem, "England Crazy." ~ Jon O'Brien

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