By Clare Carswell
FORMER X Factor hopeful Storm Lee Gardner has revealed that judge Simon Cowell is not as nasty as his on-screen persona may suggest.
The Edinburgh-born singer was on the receiving end of some harsh comments from Mr Cowell including being compared to “a singing fly”.
Despite this, Storm Lee said he holds no grudges and has confessed that the pair had a good relationship away from the cameras and described Simon as “a really nice guy”.
He said: “I had some really good chats with Simon.
“Off camera, he is a completely different character and a very nice guy.
“We got on very well, despite all of the press surrounding my name.”
Storm Lee was the only Scottish contestant to reach the finals of the show but was voted two weeks ago.
The 37-year-old has been visiting friends, family and fans in Edinburgh where he grew up, before moving to Los Angeles as a teenager in pursuit of his dream to become a singer.
Storm said he has started writing a debut album, and has even dyed his trademark pink hair back to a more natural shade of brown.
He said: “Bosses wanted me to have a much more glamorous image on the show and I think that the real me was lost in translation.
“The whole thing was very alien to me and it felt like getting a new job – I didn’t want to say ‘no’ to anything.
“I thought it could’ve been a good platform, but there were a lot of divided opinions about me.”
Storm now intends to move back to the UK to establish his music career.
He said: “I made a surprise visit to Glasgow on Friday night to support a Mary’s Meals event, which offers deprived schoolchildren a hot meal every day, then I came to Edinburgh the next day.
“I was completely mobbed on Princes Street by people who wanted a photograph taken or wanted to tell me they had voted to keep me in.
“It was overwhelming.”
He added: “I watched the show for the first time last week and it’s incredible how we are edited.
“It’s weird watching when you know so much about these people behind the scenes.
“It’s a tough, confusing experience.
“Straight after you’re voted off, you have to leave the house.
“You’re ripped away from the friends you’ve made and left to digest everything that’s happened.”
The singer who once came out as gay, revealed that he and fellow X Factor contestant, Katie Waissel were in a relationship.
He said: “We were off for a while, but I think we’re back on now.
“We’ve agreed to wait until after the show, then see.”
Today (Tue) Storm was in London recording a charity Christmas single with the other X Factor finalists.
And, he says, the plan is to perform a few gigs around the UK, including one in Edinburgh.
He is also hoping to play Edinburgh’s, or Glasgow’s Hogmanay celebrations.
He said: “To play in Princes Street Gardens is a dream.
“When I was little I used to break in and sneak up on to that stage at night, then I’d pretend I was performing to a huge crowd.”