MOMENT TO SHINE: Rough Copy members (l-r) Kaz, Sterling and Joey
IN THE words of Nicole Scherzinger south London boy band Rough Copy are the best group to grace the X Factor stage in the show’s history.
And it seems the great British public agrees, helping Gary Barlow’s men sail through to the third week of live shows, which airs tomorrow night on ITV1.
But the band – made up of Kaz, Sterling and Joey – got off to a rocky start.
While their talent was not questioned, in 2012 they were forced to drop out of the show when Kaz’s visa problems prevented him from flying to judge’s houses.
Rough Copy narrowly escaped a similar fate this year.
However, Sterling and Joey auditioned for their mentor in New York as a duo to secure their place, with producers allowing Kaz to rejoin the group.
And during the bootcamp stage, the Croydon singers were also chastised by Sharon Osborne for being "too confident" – a criticism they take with a pinch of salt.
"I think it is hard,” said Sterling Ramsey, 25, when asked about the scrutiny the band has been under.
"But I think people are starting to warm to us now. Yes, we are confident because we have been performing together for years. We can’t go out on stage and be all shy – that’s not us, but we still know that there is more for us to learn."
When it comes to experience, Rough Copy are ahead of the pack.
They have been together for more than five and a half years and have supported bands like 112, Jagged Edge and Blackstreet on UK tours as well as playing gigs and events to help them achieve their dream.
This week Sterling and his bandmates are preparing to take on the Bryan Adams classic Everything I Do for Saturday night’s Movie Week theme, after taking on Phil Collins’ In the air tonight and Backstreet Boys hit I want it that way.
Sterling explained: “With us, we try to do something different and make it our own. We would love do a Boyz II Men song at some point, but we don’t want to be predictable. We can do a typical R&B song with our eyes closed.
“Gary is amazing. He doesn’t pick our songs, we work together. He has been in the business for more than 20 years so any advice he give us we take that.”
Sterling said it would be great to win X Factor, but admitted that every they got to perform on the stage was a great opportunity.
"We are just out there being true to ourselves," added Sterling. “Our dream has always been to do what we do, and have the opportunity to do it for 50 years.
"I would say that we do work hard but when you are passionate about something, it never feels like hard work. You are doing what you love."
Before rushing back to rehearsals, there was just one more burning question: what is with the skirts?
With a laugh, Sterling said: "Yeah – that’s actually me, not the X Factor stylist. I don’t call it a skirt, I call it an overlay. It’s just an additional layer of clothing. It’s nothing new – men have been doing it for centuries; the Scots had the kilt and the Romans wore something similar.
"Kanye [West] wears one. I just like it. Like I said, all of us are just being ourselves. We might be loud. We might get a bit excited, but why wouldn’t we? We’re on one of the biggest TV shows doing what we love to do.
"I hope that in some way we show people who have a similar background to ourselves that it doesn’t matter what your last name is, what might have been in your past, if you believe in your talent you can make something of your life."