Singer hopes he has key to X Factor success

Dan Lipman (far right) at his X Factor audition

Dan Lipman (far right) at his X Factor audition

A rapper from Hadley Wood is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Stacey Solomon and Katie Waissel after his band made it through to the next round of X Factor.

Dan Lipman, 24, is one-fifth of The Keys, a band dubbed "magnificent" by judge Gary Barlow during the auditions.

The group – an offshoot of one formed by Mr Lipman as a teenager at St Albans school – auditioned for the talent show under a different name last year but were sent home at the Boot Camp stage.

This year, after one of the band members secretly submitted a YouTube audition, The Keys were asked to return and try their luck.

They easily won over the judges with a rendition of the song I need a Dollar by the singer Aloe Blacc.

"It almost didn't happen," said Mr Lipman, whose first band was called North West Three or "NW3" for short.

"We are a London-based band and we all have jobs, but Liverpool was the last audition spot that they had."

Within days of their first performance The Keys had gained 12,000 new followers on Twitter and were being sent messages by complete strangers "especially teenage girls".

"People seem to love us - the public reaction has been crazy," said Mr Lipman, who has worked in sports marketing since graduating from Exeter University.

He said that if the band was sent home it would be his last time on X Factor. "If it doesn't work out I'm looking at going into music management," he said.

"I didn't want to go on X Factor at all this year. It's a lot of stress and once you have had that rejection you don't want to put yourself through it again. But the reaction has just been incredible – my confidence is really boosted."

    Last updated: 1:04pm, September 27 2011