Amberley Lobo delves into the lives of Wretch 32 and Ella Henderson as they go head to head in three rounds.
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Get ready, cos two of the biggest pop stars in the universe
are about to go into battle.
The super smooth Wretch 32 versus the effervescent Ella Henderson.
There can only be one winner, so stay right here.
I'm Amberley Lobo and this is Pop Slam.
Going head-to-head, we've got...
# I keep going to the river to pray... #
# ..something that can wash out the pain... #
The X Factor sensation with a totally outstanding voice
and some totally amazing songwriting skills.
# ..the ghost of you It keeps me awake... #
But how will she match up against the lyrical genius of...
# I found my treasure in you... #
# Bronze, silver, gold No, it's you... #
The North London rapper who's been topping the charts
with his unique style and musical talent.
# Nothing less than that will do... #
This Pop Slam is going to be massive.
So, who's team are you on? Team Ella or Team Wretch?
If you're undecided, then chill out, I've got this.
I'm going to be delving into the lives of these two megastars
to see who has what it takes to win the ultimate prize in pop music,
There's only one way to win the Ambo,
and that's by gaining as many of my Ambo points as possible.
I'll be dishing them out over three slamming rounds of pop-osity...
..where I meet the people who knew the stars back in the day.
Then I check out how hard they've been working.
And finally, I scrutinise their style...
..all before the big moment.
And the winner of the Ambo is...
This might get controversial,
so head to the CBBC website
and have your say by telling us whose team you're on.
This one is way too close to call.
I mean, Ella is one talented lady and she can sure write a tune,
but then there's Wretch 32 and he is way too cool for school.
I'm excited. You guys excited? OK, let's do this.
It's time for Pop Slam.
Round 1, Pop Potential.
This is all about how our stars made it.
# We are fire... #
# We are fire And our love will burn
# The flame will never die
# We are brighter... #
Ella may be a pop phenomenon now...
but before she was a superstar,
she lived in a village next to...
# We will glow... #
This is Grimsby, a town more known for its fish than its music,
and up until 2012, this place hadn't produced any pop stars.
But that was all about to change when one 16-year-old girl
went on the biggest TV show in the country and blew the UK away.
Here's how it all happened.
# Like the sun that saves the night Bursting through... #
Ella's real name is Gabriella Michelle Henderson
and her musical journey started at a very young age.
# And we will glow... #
Gabriella grew up in a village called Tetney
and it was there in her family home that she started singing
at just three years old.
She went on to teach herself how to play the piano
and started to write her own poems.
Take 2 Ambo points for getting started when you were so diddy.
# The flame will never die We are... #
By the time Ella was in primary school,
she was nailing her singing and performing
and because she was so good,
she started taking her music very seriously.
# We will glow... #
Music became a big part of Gabriella's life.
And by the time she was 11,
she decided she needed to hone her musical skills.
So, she got a place...right here
at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts.
It's a long way from Grimsby, 165 miles to be exact.
And you'll never guess what,
I'm going to be meeting Ella's old teacher from back in the day
to get all the juicy goss.
# Now, I'm not talking from experience
# But I think I've found magnificence... #
-Hi, Amberley, come on in.
-Hey! Aw, nice to meet you.
Lovely to meet you.
'This is Louisa Shaw and she used to teach Ella performing arts
'right here at Tring.'
# It's a feeling I appreciate... #
'Tring is a super special performing arts school
'and our Ella was so talented that, when she was 11,
'she actually won a scholarship to come here.'
# I won't be proved wrong... #
What was your first experience of Ella like?
When did you first meet her?
The first time I heard her sing, we were in a small music room
and the minute she started to sing,
the hairs on the back of my neck stood up
and tears sprung to my eyes
and I just thought,
"Oh, gosh, I'm going to have
"to take care of this talent."
# The reason I cry... #
-And how hard-working was she with her singing?
Every spare moment, evenings, weekends,
she was in a studio somewhere singing, practising.
So, she didn't get there just by doing nothing,
she worked really hard to get there.
-Can we see a little bit more of the school?
-Sure, come on, let's go.
# But you're good for me
# And when I'm losing all my energy... #
I actually forgot that this is a boarding school, isn't it?
Yeah, it is.
So, boarding's all a little bit foreign for me,
what was it like for Ella?
It wasn't that easy to start with because she's a real homebird.
She loves her family, she loves her mum,
and so being away from home was tough at the start,
but that's where we come into play,
so hopefully we created a home from home for her here.
# But you're good for me... #
-And here we have her dorm.
I have never been in a real-life dorm before.
So, is this the kind of dorm that Ella would have stayed in?
This is exactly the kind of dorm that Ella would have stayed in.
Oh, it's amazing. And what do they get up to in the dorms?
Are there little performances and stuff?
Oh, all sorts of stuff, all sorts of antics go on.
And did Ella ever get in trouble or was she a good student?
She was pretty good. I think she was quite cheeky
but she managed to keep it low-key so she didn't get in trouble.
Ella may have been a tad cheeky but she also worked hard,
so hard, in fact, that in her GCSEs she got an A in music
and A*s for drama and English lit.
Take 3 Ambo points for acing your exams.
# Mmm, hard work Mmm... #
Ella may have been nailing it at school but she wanted more.
So in 2012, she decided to audition for the almighty X Factor.
# You think you're missed
# Well, let me tell you this
# The love I felt for you
# Has flown away... #
Ella took a massive risk with her audition
by performing a song that she had written herself.
# ..the line
# I wish you luck in life and goodbye. #
It was a truly magical performance
which captured the hearts of the nation.
But how would it go down with The X Factor judges?
'What we just witnessed was just incredible.'
-APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
Thank you so much. Thank you.
That performance was absolutely out of this world, it really was.
Thank you. APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
Ella had made it. She sailed straight through the live shows
and onto the finals.
Well, actually, no, that's not what happened.
Our Ella got booted off in the seventh week. Say what?!
But thankfully, her journey wasn't over.
Good old Simon Cowell loved her voice so much
that he gave the 16-year-old a record deal
and put her straight to work.
# Oh, no, I won't let you get me... #
Getting signed by Si Cowell, even after leaving The X Factor so early,
really shows just how much potential Ella had.
Have 2 Ambo points for some super impressive talent.
# And goodbye. #
Now, let's check out Wretch 32.
# The mirror can't look me in my eyes, no way
# I float like a ribbon in the sky No plane... #
Before Jermaine Scott, aka Wretch 32,
was rapping to thousands of people
at packed-out gigs...
he was right here in Tottenham, London!
# She'll come back no hasta la vista
# Computer love I mac with my finger
# Baby, I'm a man, not your mister I missed ya... #
This is the very estate Jermaine Scott, aka Wretch 32, grew up on.
Back in the day when he was a kid,
he used to listen to his dad DJ reggae tunes around the house
and practise moonwalking in the kitchen.
Soon, he would go on to make his own music
and become one of the biggest rappers in the UK.
Here's how it all happened.
# I'm fly I am not an insect
# And I'm the life of the party
# Came with Ken but I left with his Barbie... #
It's fair to say that Jermaine was a bit of a scamp
when he was younger and he would often get in trouble at school.
But while he may not have been paying attention in class,
he was paying attention to his music.
When Jermaine was growing up in the early noughties,
there was a music explosion happening in London called grime
and he wanted to be a part of it.
When Jermaine was a teenager, he got involved
and started making music with his mate Wizzy Wow
and I'm going to meet him and get all the goss from those early days.
'Wizzy Wow grew up with Jermaine here on the Tiverton Estate.
'They were both into music and used to produce
'and perform together around North London.'
This was one of their tracks - Be Cool.
# So forget about violence I'd rather be cool... #
And that's Wizzy right there.
-# I'd rather
# Forget about violence I'd rather be cool
# I'm space boy fly I don't know about you... #
Now, Wizzy, you and Wretch go way back. When did you guys first meet?
Basically, I had moved down here
and we've got a basketball court over there.
So I used to go there on my own and play basketball
and then he came along and he was like,
"Apart from playing basketball, what else do you do?"
And I was just like, "Do you know what?
"I just do a bit of producing here and there."
Then he was like, "Look, I'm doing the rapping thing
"so maybe we should just hook up. And you live around here."
And from there on, just stuck by each other.
# I'd rather be cool I said forget about violence
-# I'd rather
-Be cool... #
-And what was a young Wretch 32 like?
-He hasn't changed.
He's still the same. Energetic, fun, lovely guy.
To me, he's like a big brother.
Like, literally, the coolest older brother ever, basically.
# Space boy fly I don't know about you... #
So, how did Jermaine Scott become Wretch 32?
Because he was a wretch.
He was naughty, so that's how he got his name
and 32 was his lucky number.
# I say I got my Nike Kicks and now I want my Vans shoes... #
Did you think he was going to go on to do these amazing things?
Yeah, I always knew.
I always knew from the first time I heard him on the radio.
I just knew that he was going to be the special artist.
I always had faith in him.
# I'll be your superhero but just for the night
# Confuse my ego but just for the night... #
Wizzy is awesome.
Here's 3 Ambo points to Wretch 32
for working it hard back in the day.
# Superman style bring you to space
# Choose a man like me think we're the same
# Under links in a chain, babe... #
Wretch wanted to push himself harder,
so he started making his own mix tapes
and even recorded a studio album, using his own money,
# Whoever told you I'm not that guy
# Whoever told you that I'm not that fly... #
Wretch was starting to get noticed by music industry peeps,
including the uber-cool BBC 1Xtra DJ
who I decided to pay a little visit to.
Good to see you, babe.
First things first, are these things live?
No, luckily all the feeders are down,
we are not on air, so you can chill in the studio.
That's great because I wanted to chat about Wretch 32.
Yeah, let's go.
Where were you when you first heard Wretch?
I used to work in a record shop in Soho, West London.
He used to come into the shop all the time
and he'd be like, "Yeah, I've got a CD for you, Cam.
"Please, can you take time out to just listen to it?"
And as soon as I pressed play on this guy's CD, I was like,
"Well, this is kind of good. Whoa, it's getting better.
"Whoa, like, this is the kind of music I'm looking for."
# Never made what's easy hard... #
So, I was like, "You know what, Wretch?
"I'm going to give you a couple of spot plays."
You know, just to keep him excited.
Played the tracks, got a mad response.
# Since I've been going in Scared of coming out... #
Did you think, though, when you brought him in here,
that he was going to explode and going to go massive?
The thing is, the whole scene at the time was really exciting.
So we knew that urban music and particularly grime and rap
was in a good place, but what Wretch did was kind of...
brought a bit of calmness and storytelling,
a bit more musicality to grime and hip-hop.
And I knew that once that crosses over to other people
outside of our scene, it's really going to have a big impact.
# I know wrong from right I'ma keep it tight... #
Standing out from the crowd and getting picked up by a 1Xtra DJ
is a pretty good going.
Take 4 Ambo points.
# When I go hard There's nobody else on my level... #
Wretch was on the grind and he was getting his music out there.
He was all over London.
On the radio, releasing mix tape after mix tape
and even rapping on other people's songs.
# When I go in, when I go hard It's over, over... #
By 2009, Wretch's hard work was paying off,
and even before being signed to a record label,
he made it onto the BBC Introducing stage at the Radio 1 Big Weekend.
# Listen, I am not with you no more
# You're no good for me You're just bringing me down
# My sun shines in the rain while you're giving me
# I once cried and complained now I'm kicking out... #
In 2010, it all happened.
Wretch 32 finally got a record deal
and he even got nominated for the BBC Sound of 2011.
The lucky number 32 had finally paid off.
Wretch was here to stay.
What an incredible journey.
Have 2 Ambo points for moving out of the underground
and into the mainstream.
And that takes us to the end of Round 1.
Let's have a look at the scores.
Wretch and Ella have both shown
some outstanding pop potential
with some amazing journeys,
but Wretch 32 is just in the lead.
We've seen how our stars made it,
now let's see how hard they've been working.
It's time for Round 2.
Round 2 - Pop Success.
This is all about what our stars have been up to
to make sure they stay at the top of the charts.
First up - Ella Henderson.
# I'll wear your winter coat
# The one you love to wear... #
Although Ella didn't win The X Factor,
as soon as she appeared on the show,
she won over some of the biggest names in the business.
# The moments waking up... #
Singing legend Adele tweeted Ella after watching her
on The X Factor auditions, saying...
# That holds me in the night... #
Having a celeb fan base even before you've released any music
is pretty special.
3 Ambo points coming atcha!
But what about Wretch 32?
# When I got introduced to ya
# I knew I'd be true to ya
# Everyone wanted a piece
# You whispered to me That's sweet
# Cos it's me you love. #
After being in the underground for so long,
old Wretch here proved he had pop power when his first proper album
had three top five singles, including this one.
# Don't Go! #
# Don't leave. #
Don't Go hit the top spot in the UK charts in 2011.
It was a great track.
Take 2 Ambo points, Mr 32.
# Get by
# To get by... #
Number 1 singles - yeah, they're good. But Wretch has also
been crowned MTV UK MC of the Year in 2011 and 2012.
Not only that, he's also pretty much won
every Urban Music Award there is.
I'm talking Artist of the Year,
Best Hip-Hop, Best Single, Best Video...
Yeah, he does all right.
I'm kidding, you're amazing. Come here!
# Don't go leave me. #
MC of the Year two years running. Hot property.
Take another 2 Ambo points.
But Wretch isn't the only
hot property round here.
# I keep going to the river to pray. #
Ella's got her celebrity fan base,
but she's also got a solid regular fan base too.
They call themselves the Ella Stars,
and it is they who helped her first ever single, Ghost,
go straight to number 1.
# I keep going to the river to pray. #
It didn't just go to number 1.
With help from the Ella Stars,
Ghost was one of the biggest songs of 2014.
# I'm sleeping all these demons away
# But your ghost, the ghost of you It keeps me awake. #
Have 5 ambo points for this belter of a pop song.
And I'm going to throw in another
2 Ambo point for having
such awesome fans.
Ella has lots of fans, and sometimes they like to send us some fan mail.
Nice of them.
Although, sometimes it might not be so nice. Let me show you.
# Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo... #
"Hi, my name is Ella Henderson.
"Oh, would you look at that - 7.16, time for my fan mail.
"Lots of it! This one, let me just get in there and just
"open it. It's so big and... Uh!
"Just get my... Uh. Oh!
"Would you look at that? It's a little pair of socks.
"I'll put them on my feet.
"They will go just nice with my clothes. Ah!"
"What's that smell?
"Oh, are you serious?! These have been worn!
"Oh, somebody get these off me.
"Oh! Oh! Get these off me!
"Oh, Mum! Aaaah!"
That's right, apparently, somebody sent Ella some old, smelly socks.
And she thought it was disgusting.
Sorry, Ella. I'll send you some clean ones next time.
# Going to the river to pray
# Cos I need something that can wash out the pain. #
And while Ella has been enjoying her fan mail...
..Wretch 32 has been keeping his fans entertained
with some stomping live performances.
# Flying around the globe I'm a do it so big
# Ain't that hard to tell that my spirit wrote this. #
Festivals are a pretty big deal,
and when it comes to totally owning them, Wretch 32 is where it's at.
Let me stat you.
He's played everywhere from Wireless, Leeds, Reading,
V Festival, iTunes, SW4 and the almighty Glastonbury!
Have 2 Ambo Points for really working the festival scene.
# Everything became so clear. #
Wretch loves to take centre stage, but...
This guy isn't afraid to share the limelight.
He loves collaborating and has made music with Ed Sheeran, Example
and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.
# I'm tryin' to keep the peace
# We've become a nightmare Ruinin' my sleep
# Pain in my right ear Sayin' f... me
# Till I throw a spanner in the works and they leak
# Oh, what a dream. #
I think Wretch deserves some love for sharing the love
with his fellow musicians.
Have 1 Ambo point.
And that brings us to the end of Round 2.
We've had Pop Success coming
out our of ears with these two!
But Ella Henderson
is just in the lead.
If you don't agree, get on the CBBC website
and have your say.
We found out how our pop royalty made it big and how successful
they've been. It's now time to see how glam they've become
in Round 3.
Round 3 - Pop Style.
This is all about our celebrity's lives.
Clothes, cars, pets or whatever else they choose to splash their cash on.
First up, Ella Henderson.
# Mirror man
# No-one can love you better than a mirror can
# No. #
Ella's style has come a long way.
And who better to tell me all about it than
her stylist from The X Factor, Frank Strachan.
# Oh, yeah! #
Now, Frank, you worked with Ella back on The X Factor.
What was her style like back then?
She was only 16, so in a way,
she was getting used to
how she should dress to perform.
So we were kind of testing things out every week
and trying on, like, rails and rails of clothes.
# Trouble's coming for you. #
There was this one time when we were...
We'd gone into a department store to try on dresses.
I pulled this whole rail of clothes for her.
We're in this changing room together.
And she just started singing.
And then I started crying cos it just felt so emotional
in this little space. Then she started laughing, like,
"You're totally ridiculous. Why are you crying?"
But her voice is so powerful and... Yeah, she's a very talented girl.
# To walk before you run. #
So, what is her signature look?
Daytime Ella is
like a cute little leather jacket, trousers.
She wears a lot of jumpsuits.
Red carpet, she's often in
long black gown with sort of big gold statement jewellery.
# To the kind that let me down. #
I'm awarding 3 Ambo points
to Ella Henderson for some great
daytime and night-time style.
But what about Wretch 32?
# Retro boy! #
Wretch is full of swag. Fashion swag, that is.
If you think his lyrics are smooth, then check out his threads.
# Yeah, I've got a good heart
# I was born on beat That's a good start. #
This is celeb stylist Ayishat,
who has actually worked with Wretch in the past.
And I'm going to meet her for chats to get all the fashion goss.
Let's talk Wretch 32.
Would you say he's one of the most fashionable men in music?
I would definitely say he's one of the most fashionable men in music.
Not only because of his outward style,
but he's got the most fashionable attitude.
# We don't follow no crowd
# They follow us. #
He calls it keeping it G.
So keeping it G means getting it exactly right.
He likes to keep it quite smart,
quite clean and very minimal.
Although he likes to have at least one piece that really sticks out,
that's quite unique.
# Yeah, I've got a good vibe. #
You obviously worked with Wretch on his music video 6 Words.
What was that like to style?
6 Words was a great video to style.
# Yeah, I'm a good guy. #
And I may have things from the video to show you.
Stop talking, start showing.
-So keen, so keen.
-Is this from the video?
-Yeah, this is from the video. This is the hat
that he wore to kind of fix a hair situation we had going on.
# And the only plan's to stay scatty. #
This is good. I feel like it's squashed my hair now,
-so I have to walk out with it.
-Oh, dear. I think you might have to.
-But you're working it. It really goes in the look.
-It's wretched me.
I'm going to go stretch the jeans, keep the hat on. Thank you so much.
-See you later.
This man has some serious style!
For strutting your stuff like a good 'un,
I'm going to award you
3 Ambo Points.
Wretch might be too cool for school...
# Cos we found strength in each other's arms. #
..but what about Ella?
# This love, and we made it our... #
Ella's musical style may be quite serious,
but she also has a silly side.
When she was recording her first album, her boss, Simon Cowell,
booked a big-time producer to come and meet her.
While she was waiting, she got a little bit bored and decided to see
how many baby carrots she could to fit into her mouth,
as you do. She managed to get ten in before the producer
walked in to catch her drooling from the mouth.
Ugh! Not the best way to make a first impression.
Ella, you flaming galah!
Ten carrots in your mouth? You could have choked!
I'm going to take off 1 Ambo point
for that one.
Now, I have no idea if Wretch likes his baby carrots...
# Is there a light of mine It's like my peace of mind. #
But I do know he loves his soaps.
# Let me shine, let me fly. #
Wretch is one of the coolest rappers in the UK,
and what do the coolest rappers do in their spare time?
Go on Hollyoaks, obvs!
Scenes for Hollyoaks were filmed with Wretch at one of his gigs,
when some of the actors dramatically stormed
the stage as part of the Hollyoaks story line.
# Wanna be alive Not just employed. #
The acting skills didn't stop there.
Oh, sorry, Mr Sloth, we're...
Check out Wretch playing a pilot in a Radio 1 Extra sketch with
Professor Green and Charlie Sloth.
Where to, Mr Sloth?
-I need to get to Birmingham, ASAP.
-Right away, Mr Sloth.
The sky really is the limit for this man.
Have 2 Ambo points for some awesome acting style.
Just fly the plane!
-Certainly, Mr Sloth.
And that brings us to the end of Round 3.
Wretch, Ella, it's been fun, but let's get serious.
The moment is upon us.
Let's find out who has won the Ambo...
right after we take a look back at what we've learned.
Wretch and Ella are two very different pop stars,
but we've seen that they've both worked hard,
have released some killer tunes and have some super smooth style.
Both are awesome, but which will win the Ambo?
Ladies and gentlemen, it's the moment we've all been waiting for.
I've personally counted the Ambo points
and haven't tinkered with them at all.
And the winner of the Ambo is...
Either way, it's Wretch 32! Ella, I will see you in Grimbo.
Get out of here, girl.
Wretch, bring it in. How are you feeling?
You know what? Save it. Let's just see you in action.
# One life, two children Three times... #
How good was that?!
Uh! There's plenty more where that came from.
Make double sure you guys tune in next time to see more
of your favourite pop stars battle it out to win the Ambo.
# No, it's you
# I've found my treasure in you
# I can't sing But I wrote you a song, yeah. #
Wretch 32 and Ella Henderson go head to head in a Pop Slam! Amberley Lobo delves deep into the lives of the two stars and meets the people who know them best. Over three rounds, Amberley looks at how they made it big, how hard they have been working and how glamorous their lifestyles have become. Only one act can walk away with the biggest award in pop music, the Ambo.