AN X FACTOR hopeful who co-owns Hailes Castle has vowed her band will be successful, despite failing to progress in the TV talent show.

Lady Hailes, Irene Malin, joined forces with her sister Elsa to appear on the hit television show in front of judges Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and ex-Spice Girl Mel B.

Auditions started in May when Major, as the sisters from the south-east of England are known, caught the eyes and ears of the show’s producers.

A series of auditions followed before the girls finally performed in front of the X Factor judges in June at Wembley.

Irene, who has appeared in Die Another Day, V Graham Norton and This Morning, said: “We sang Wannabe, the Spice Girls song, and Mel B loved it.

“Then, Simon already thought it was tremendously bad – he just hated us from the beginning.

“Louis Walsh was dancing on his chair and Cheryl just loved, loved, loved us.

“We brought gifts for Eric (Simon’s seven-month-old son) and it is a shame they did not show it.” The duo did enough to go forward to the next phase of the competition and took to the stage in front of both the judges and a crowd of thousands.

Irene said the duo caught the attention of the crowd.

“When Major comes in the room, we get noticed,” she said.

“We said ‘hello Wembley and thanks so much for coming, this is a Major show’.” But their performance of Icona Pop’s Love It did not go down well with the judges.

Louis Walsh, who managed Boyzone and Westlife, asked the two women: “You are two girls, yeah?” Meanwhile, Simon Cowell likened their performance to being in Hell. But Irene said they just laughed about it.

She added: “We did tell them we are not vocalists but the show is the X Factor and you can see on YouTube we are not just about music.

“We have a talk show and are very spontaneous.” Irene’s husband Sam bought Hailes Castle, near East Linton, and on the south side of the River Tyne, which is managed by Historic Scotland, in 2008.

Hailes Castle dates back to the 1200s and was built by the de Gourlays, a family that appeared in East Lothian during the reign of William I. The de Gourlays forfeited Hailes during the Wars of Indepdence with England, which allowed the Hepburns to step in. A subsequent owner, Sir David Dalrymple, purchased Whitehill House, near Edinburgh, in 1709. He renamed it Newhailes in memory of the ancient castle.

Sam told the Courier: “I had an interest in history and in Scottish history.

“I was reading about castles and particularly those in the lowlands of Scotland and it came to my attention that Hailes Castle was up for sale.” Sam and Irene last visited the castle in August and Sam said he tried to visit the area from his south-east England base at least four times a year.

He added: “It’s beautiful on the bank of the River Tyne.

“You drive along the A1 and you can see it in the valley. It’s beautifully set with Traprain Law sitting in the background. There is a feeling of serenity and calmness in its location as well, which we really liked.

“Hailes Castle reminds me of western Canada [where he is originally from]. There are the open spaces and the lack of people and the regional beauty as well.”