Olly Murs compares appearing on The X Factor in 2009 to The Hunger Games

Olly Murs has compared his time on The X Factor to the dystopian film and book series The Hunger Games.

The “Heart Skips A Beat” singer appeared on the ITV singing competition in 2009, when he came in second place to Joe McElderry. Stacey Solomon was their fellow finalist.

Appearing on Jessie Ware’s Table Manners podcast on Wednesday (14 December), Murs spoke about his experience on the show and explained that he hasn’t been in much contact with his fellow contestants.

“It was really hard,” the 38-year-old said. “I don’t know why we don’t keep in contact. And it’s a good question. I don’t know why. We just all went off on our own little paths and did our own thing.

“The Hunger Games is a really good way of putting it. We were literally thrown into a house. And it was like each week one person would leave and be like a revolving door. And then it was kind of like, well, I’m still here.”

In The Hunger Games, “tributes” are picked at random every year and forced to compete to the death to represent their area, with only one surviving.

Murs continued: “There was definitely massive amounts of competition between us all. And I got on really well with all of them. But then when I left, I suppose my career went in a different direction to all the other guys because although a lot of them did music, mine just sort of catapulted a bit.”

The singer said that he always thought of himself as “a performer, [but] not necessarily the best singer”, whereas his fellow contestants were “fantastic singers”.

“So I got a bit embarrassed, and I was a bit like, well, do I deserve it or not? I don’t know,” Murs said. “I wish I kept in contact with them more.”

From L-R: ‘X Factor’ contestants Joe McElderry, Stacey Solomon, Danyl Johnson and Olly Murs in 2009 (Getty Images)
From L-R: ‘X Factor’ contestants Joe McElderry, Stacey Solomon, Danyl Johnson and Olly Murs in 2009 (Getty Images)

Murs went on to co-host The Xtra Factor from 2011 to 2012 alongside the late Caroline Flack.

Last month, Murs found himself at the centre of controversy after listeners suggested that the lyrics of his new single “I Hate You When You’re Drunk” were “cruel and misogynistic”.

The singer defended himself while appearing on BBC Breakfast last week, saying that he was “really upset” by the way the lyrics were misunderstood.

“I can’t believe people have taken it that way,” he said. “I think when you see something that’s written, it can look a lot worse. When you listen to the song and you understand the type of artist I am. It was just more in a cheeky, fun way.”