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16 June 1985 |
Consett, County Durham, England
Zoe Birkett (born 16 June 1985, Consett, County Durham, England) is an English singer. She was one of the youngest contestants on the first series of the ITV singing competition Pop Idol in 2001, being only 16 at the time. She released a single, "Treat Me Like a Lady", in 2003, had a successful theatre career and was a contestant in Big Brother in 2014.
Early career and Pop Idol
Birkett began attending stage school when she was just three years old. She had had hopes of being a performer and had previously auditioned unsuccessfully to be in S Club 7, finishing in the final 12. She trained at the Amanda McGlynn Academy in Middlesbrough and the Lorraine Murray Dance School. 
In 2002, Birkett finished fourth on the first series of Pop Idol, behind Will Young, Gareth Gates and Darius Danesh, and being the highest placed female on the show. During the programme, she performed such songs as Whitney Houston's "One Moment in Time", "I Will Always Love You" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)"; Aretha Franklin's "I Say a Little Prayer"; ABBA's "Thank You For the Music" and Judy Garland's "Get Happy". After the show, Birkett was the warm-up act on Pop Idol winners Will Young's and Gareth Gates' tour where she performed in front of 18,000 people. She performed three songs for Pop Idol: The Big Band Album.
Record deal and theatre career
In 2003, Birkett signed a recording contract with 19 Recordings and released one single, "Treat Me Like a Lady", on 13 January 2003. The track was co-written by fellow Pop Idol contestant Sarah Whatmore, but only reached number 12 in the UK Singles Chart on 25 January. This quickly drifted down the chart and faded. Soon after, Birkett was dropped by the record label.
Birkett appeared in Robert C. Kelly's production of In Town Tonight at the Glasgow Kings Theatre and then went on to star in pantomime in her home town of Darlington, along with Big Brother contestant Anthony Hutton. She has more recently toured the country with What A Feeling – a tribute to musicals such as Saturday Night Fever, Fame, Flashdance, Grease and many more – with Noel Sullivan and 1980s pop singer Sinitta. At the time, she was engaged to Pop Idol 2 runner-up Mark Rhodes; however the pair later split up and Birkett began dating her panto co-star Hutton.
In October 2006, she and Sullivan flew to Las Vegas to host a show called Cover Girls in the Golden Nugget Casino. She now lives in Darlington. Birkett starred in Thriller – Live from May to June 2007, playing the lead female role. During 2008, Birkett has appeared in many shows, including West End Rocks, another tribute to musicals such as Fame, Grease and Flashdance. Towards the end of 2008, Zoe toured the UK and Europe with Thriller – Live.
Birkett landed herself a major West End role in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, from March 2009. Birkett left the show in March 2010, along with fellow performer, Kate Gillespie. She was succeeded by Charlotte Riby.
In November 2011, she recorded a version of Eva Cassidy's "You've Changed", for inclusion in the Singers Inc album. As of October 2013 Birkett has taken over the role of Lead Female in Thriller Live, a musical concert dedicated to the music of The Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson.
On 14 July 2014, Birkett entered the Big Brother house as one of three new housemates alongside Biannca Lake and Pavandeep "Pav" Paul. Upon their arrival, the three new housemates were informed that they would have the power to evict one of the existing housemates, but were unaware that the public would also be deciding which of them would be allowed to stay in the house. On 18 July, Birkett was saved from eviction, having received the most votes from the public. She and Pav then voted to evict Danielle McMahon from the house. On Day 58, she was evicted from the Big Brother House.
- Hubbard, Michael (24 January 2003). "Zoe Birkett hopes for Idol success". BBC News. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
- Hubbard, Michael. Zoe Birkett hopes for Idol success, BBC, 24 January 2003. Accessed on 27 May 2008
- "Interview with Zoe Birkett". Londontheatre1.com. 2012-01-20. Retrieved 2014-08-22.
- "iTunes – Music – Treat Me Like a Lady – EP by Zoe Birkett". Itunes.apple.com. 13 January 2003. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- Roberts, David. Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums. Guinness World Records Ltd 17th edition (2004), p. 60 ISBN 0-85112-199-3
- Neil, Beth. Where Are They Now?, Daily Mirror, 30 September 2006. Accessed on 27 May 2008.
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- "Respect La Diva | Olt". Officiallondontheatre.co.uk. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- Bassett, Kate (29 March 2009). "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Palace Theatre, London". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 14 July 2010.
- "Second bite at the reality TV cherry for former Pop Idol star Zoe (From The Northern Echo)". Thenorthernecho.co.uk. 2014-07-15. Retrieved 2014-08-22.