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Same Difference were an English bubblegum pop duo from Portsmouth, England, made up of siblings Sean Smith and Sarah Smith. They came to prominence in 2007 when they finished third in the fourth series of the ITV talent show, The X Factor.

Same Difference
OriginPortsmouth, England
Years active2007–2014
LabelsSyco Music (2007–2009)
PopLife (2010–2012)
London (2013–2014)
MembersSean Smith
Sarah Smith

Their music was targeted mostly at children who are 13 and under. Their debut single, "We R One", was released on 24 November 2008, and their debut album, Pop, followed on 1 December 2008. In November 2009, it was announced that Same Difference had signed a new record deal with PopLife Records, and their second album was released on 7 February 2011.

On 24 December 2014 Same Difference broke the news that they had disbanded but were still considering as to whether to release their third and final album, Superheroes. London Records stated it was fun working with them and that they were disappointed they couldn't share more musical memories together.



The two siblings were brought up in The Dale, Widley, in the Borough of Havant. At the time of their appearance on The X Factor, Sean (born 24 September 1985) was an entertainer in Portsmouth while Sarah (born 4 November 1988) was a student. Sean left home at the age of 17 to perform on cruise ships and appeared in a number of pantomimes. Together, they performed at a local retirement home. Sarah left home at 16 to attend the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts and completed her diploma in 2007 the year they entered The X Factor. Sarah has also worked as a model and acted in the show Genie in the House but claims that singing has always been her big passion. In her VT during the third live show of The X Factor finals, she revealed that she was bullied whilst at Purbrook Park School for being overly interested in singing and that in her head she pictured her tormentors telling her she wasn't good enough. A friend, Harriet Templer, said that she had been witness to the bullying and that these girls were yelling abuse and even attacked her. The school's headmaster, Keith Clark, admitted he was unhappy that the bullying, which was "resolved overnight," had become a big subject on national television.[1]

The X FactorEdit

Same Difference did a song and entered the fourth season of the British talent show The X Factor in 2007. They auditioned in London, where judge Simon Cowell described them as "potentially two of the most annoying people I've ever met." However, he went on to champion the duo as mentor, later calling them "genuinely nice people."[2] During the live shows, the siblings came in for particular criticism from judge Louis Walsh, who described them as "cheesy" and suggested that they would be better suited to children's parties and pantomime. In response to Walsh's comments, Cowell and fellow judges Sharon Osbourne and Dannii Minogue all disagreed, praising Same Difference for their upbeat performances.[3]

They were tipped to be the first to be voted out of the competition but turned out to be a surprise hit of the show, remaining outside the bottom two sing-off places throughout their entire run.

The duo reached the final of the show, largely thanks to their performance of S Club 7's song "Never Had a Dream Come True" which received an enthusiastic reception from the studio audience. They eventually finished in third place; Rhydian Roberts was the runner-up and Leon Jackson was the winner.[4]

Performances on The X FactorEdit

Round Song choice Original artist Theme (if any) Result
Week 1 "Tragedy" Bee Gees/Steps Number ones Safe
Week 2 "Breaking Free" Zac Efron, Vanessa Anne Hudgens and Drew Seeley Songs from films Safe
Week 3 "Reach" S Club 7 Big band Safe
Week 4 "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" Scissor Sisters 21st century hits Safe
Week 5 "Blame It on the Boogie" Michael Jackson / The Jacksons Disco Safe
Week 6 "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" Starship Love songs Safe
Quarter-Final "Any Dream Will Do" From the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Best of British Safe
"Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" Wham!
Semi-Final "Chain Reaction" Diana Ross/Steps "Songs to get you into the final" Safe
"Never Had a Dream Come True" S Club 7
Final "All I Want for Christmas Is You" Mariah Carey Christmas classics 3rd place
"Any Dream Will Do" (sung with Jason Donovan) From the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Duet with guest
"Breaking Free" Zac Efron, Vanessa Anne Hudgens and Drew Seeley Contestants' favourite songs from the series

Post X FactorEdit

2008: Debut AlbumEdit

After leaving the show, Same Difference initially signed a one-single contract with Simon Cowell's label Syco. During the X Factor Live tour the pair confirmed that their intended debut single was a cover of "Breaking Free" from High School Musical, which they had performed in the live shows of The X Factor.[5] An original B-side to the single was also planned, entitled "The Miracle". The tracks were recorded in Poland in early March 2008.[citation needed]

In April 2008 it was reported their original one-single deal had been replaced by a better full album deal, still with Syco, rumoured to be worth around £1 million. This was to give them the chance to work with a variety of writers and producers including Mike Stock and Pete Waterman and some of the writers behind Leona Lewis and High School Musical.[6]

On 19 July 2008 they headlined the "My First Festival" show at Legoland Windsor, appearing alongside Chico, Fireman Sam, Angelina Ballerina, Bob the Builder, and The Groovie Movie Band.[7] They also performed many gigs at various places throughout 2008, mainly at Butlins, summer events and festivals and Christmas light switch-ons.

Sarah and Sean made many television appearances after leaving the show, including spots on Blue Peter, Basil's Swap Shop, GMTV and Noel's Christmas Presents. They also made several appearances on the children's television channel Nickelodeon. On 22 November 2008 they returned to The X Factor as special guests and performed their debut single "We R One". On Sunday 14 December 2008 Same Difference appeared as guests on CITV kids' show Toonattik.

Following a deal with Syco, Same Difference-themed dolls were to feature on girls' fashion website Stardoll, joining such notables as Heidi Klum, Avril Lavigne and Britney Spears.[8]

In a newsletter sent to their fans, the duo confirmed that their debut single, "We R One", would be released on the Syco Music/Sony BMG label on 24 November 2008.[9] It was written by J Elofsson and P Westerlund, produced, recorded and mixed by Quiz & Larossi for XL Talent, and published by Universal Music Publishing AB: Elofsongs.[10] It was also confirmed on their official website that their album, released on 1 December 2008, would be called Pop.

One of the new tracks recorded for the album and a potential single[needs update] is a cover of the Stock Aitken Waterman-penned hit "Turn It Into Love". The song was originally recorded by Kylie Minogue for her first album and was released in Japan where it was Number 1 for 10 weeks. Hazell Dean released it in the UK in 1988, where it reached number 21. Later it was covered in Japanese by the group Wink.

Another of the new tracks recorded for their debut album, "I Need A House", was previously recorded by Swedish popstar Marie Serneholt and released as a single in 2006.[11]

2009–11: Rest Is History & New LabelEdit

Same Difference announced a 21-date UK tour for March and April 2009, but this was subsequently cancelled. Instead, the duo decided to co-headline a 21-date joint tour with fellow X Factor graduate Leon Jackson. Same Difference co-headlined the joint tour at Ipswich and Birmingham. They also played a solo one-off concert in Portsmouth.

It was announced in The Sun on 3 April 2009 that Same Difference had been dropped by record label Syco following disappointing sales of their debut album (a month after a similar fate befell Leon Jackson).[12] The lack of sales was partially blamed on the demise of Woolworths, a major supplier of music for younger children.[13]

Following their departure from Syco the pair also decided to leave Modest Management, and whilst under the guidance of Jamie Wilson at Heights Management the duo signed a new management deal with Wayne Russell at Do One Music Group. It was under Russell’s management that they signed a new album deal with PopLife Records, whilst Wilson negotiated the deal and also co-organized and coordinated a 66-date UK tour of Pontins Holiday Parks. The Duo are now represented solely by Heights Management.

In December 2009 Same Difference announced on their Facebook Group the launch of their new-look website,[14] sporting a quirky new look. The first single from their new album, "Shine On Forever (Photo Frame)", was released on 29 August 2010,[15] with music video directed by Lauren Pushkin[16] and produced by PMA Digital.[17] "Shine On Forever (Photo Frame)" entered the official UK Top 100 at Number 100 on 5 September 2010. The duo released their second album, The Rest Is History, on 7 February 2011.

On 10 September 2011, Same Difference announced on their Facebook and Twitter pages their "Same Difference Pop Academy", a course on singing and dancing for young fans. The course begins in October in Portsmouth.

In late September 2011, Same Difference submitted an entry, "Music", to the Swiss national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2012.[18] (Although Eurovision entrants are usually from the country they represent, the rules do not actually require this, and, in particular, Switzerland has previously entered several non-Swiss acts into the competition.). The bid failed, along with a separate one from Series 2 UK X Factor contestant Maria Lawson.

2012–2014: Superheroes and splitEdit

In spring 2012 Same Difference confirmed they had begun recording their third album, they stated that they had matured and a new sound would feature on their new album. On 6 January 2013 London Records and Same Difference confirmed they had agreed a new record deal.

On 24 December 2014 Same Difference broke the news that they had disbanded but were still considering as to whether to release their third and final album, Superheroes. London Records stated it was fun working with them and that they were disappointed they couldn't share more musical memories together.

Sean Smith solo careerEdit

After Same Difference disbanded Sean performed in the title role of Aladdin from 11–30 December 2015 at the Stiwt Theatre in Wrexham alongside Alex Reid (fighter).[19]

He then went on to perform in a lead role in the touring UK production of 'That's Entertainment' from 4 April - 8 October 2016 performing alongside artists such as Jane McDonald & The Overtones. [20]

Sean signed to Energise Records as a solo artist, and released his debut solo single ‘Turn Me On’ on 23 September 2016. The single was written by Nalle Ahlstedt & Christian Ingebrigtsen from A1 (band). It became the labels fastest selling physical single, and the music video amassed over 26,000 views in its first 3 weeks of release. The remix EP which featured a remix by Paul Varney reached number 15 on the UK iTunes dance album chart. [21]

On 17 November 2016 Sean performed the single live for the first time at the Portsmouth Christmas Lights switch on. [22][better source needed][23]

The single was also performed live at the James Bulger Black Tie & Tiara Ball in Liverpool on 18 March 2017. [24][better source needed][25]

Sean appeared in the title role of Aladdin at the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool from 8 December 2016 – 8 January 2017 starring alongside Natasha Hamilton, Jordan Davies (television personality) & Mark Byron. [19]

In February 2017 Sean signed a new management deal with SP Music Management. [26]

Sean released his second solo single ‘Magic’ on 26 May 2017. The track reached number 29 on the UK iTunes dance singles chart. [26] On 22 May 2017 Sean appeared on the ITV show Loose Women to promote 'Magic' and unveil his new look. [27][better source needed][28]

On 3 June 2017 Sean performed a live set at Oxford Pride which included his single Turn Me On & the Andy Sikorski Remix of Magic. [29][better source needed][30]

Sean's third solo single ‘Fire’ was released on 2 November 2017. The track reached number 4 on the UK iTunes vocal album chart and number 20 on the UK iTunes vocal singles chart.[26]

Sean has recorded a duet with Australian singer ‘Peter Wilson (singer)’. They have covered the track ‘Verona (song)’ which was originally performed by singers ‘Koit Toome’ and ‘Laura Põldvere’ when they represented Estonia in the ‘Eurovision Song Contest 2017’. The single was produced by Matt Pop and released on 16 August 2018 going on to enter the iTunes Charts in 12 Countries.[26]

Sean appeared in Sleeping Beauty playing Prince Charming at the Capitol Theatre in Horsham from 14 December 2018 – 6 January 2019 starring alongside Ben Ofodu.

Sean released the single ‘Do or Die’ on 28 February 2019. The single reached number #3 on the UK iTunes Vocal Singles Chart.[26]

Sean played Tin Man in 'The Wizard Of Oz' at The Epstein in Liverpool from 11-27 April 2019.

Sean was the lead vocalist on the 'Beware The Bear' track ‘Show Me Love’ which was featured on the BBC2 drama ‘Mother Father Son’ starring Richard Gere. The single was released on 23 May 2019 through SP Music.[26]

Television appearancesEdit

Same Difference were invited again to The X Factor in 2008 to perform their debut single, "We R One". In 2009, they received a minor acting role in CBBC television sitcom Dani's House, in which they played brother and sister "Erik and Erika", two all-time winners of game shows. In 2009 Same Difference appeared in The DPK Gameshow.(Danny, Pearse and Kevin) They also appeared on Celebrity Juice in 2013. In September 2016 Same Difference were interviewed on This Morning. [31]

Other appearancesEdit

Same Difference switched on the Christmas lights in 2009 in the town of Coalville, Leicestershire. They switched on the Christmas lights in Burton upon Trent in November 2010.[32]

They also played Lilac Fairy and Prince Robin at Weston-super-Mare, in the pantomime Sleeping Beauty December to January 2012 – 2013.

Same Difference performed at The Concorde Club in Eastleigh on 26 November 2016.


Studio albumsEdit

Title Album details Chart positions (UK) Certifications
  • Released: December 2008
  • Label: Syco Music
  • Formats: CD, digital download
22 Gold
The Rest Is History
  • Released: February 2011
  • Label: PopLife Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download


Year Single Chart position (UK) Album
2008 "We R One" 13 Pop
2010 "Shine On Forever" 100 The Rest Is History


  1. ^ Can nice guys Same Difference really win The X Factor?, Daily Mail, 14 December 2007
  2. ^ Same Difference out of X Factor, BBC News, 15 December 2007
  3. ^ "The final three groups revealed!". The X Factor. 7 October 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2007.
  4. ^ "Leon Jackson takes X Factor crown". BBC News. 16 December 2007. Retrieved 16 December 2007.
  5. ^ "The X Factor – News – Same Difference sign record deal with Cowell". Digital Spy. 26 December 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  6. ^ X Factor losers get £1m deal, The Sun, 24 April 2008.
  7. ^ Hak, Anneke (13 December 2008). "The X Factor: Where are they now?". Archived from the original on 22 April 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  8. ^ "Stardoll virtual world in deal with pop group Same Difference", New Media Age, 12 November 2008
  9. ^ "Same Difference: 'We R One' – Music Singles Review". Digital Spy. 18 November 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  10. ^ Details from the "We R One" CD single sleevenotes
  11. ^ "Same Difference". Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. ^ "Cowell drops Same Difference", The Sun, 3 April 2009
  13. ^ "Same Difference dropped", The News (Portsmouth), 3 April 2009
  14. ^ "Same Difference – Official". Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  15. ^ [1] Archived 12 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Director, producer & editor". Lauren Pushkin. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  17. ^ "Award winning digital creative agency". PMA Digital. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  18. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest" (in German). Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  19. ^ a b "LHK Productions Panto Season - Theatre & Pantomime Entertainment Worldwide". Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  20. ^ "That's Entertainment - UK Tour Official Website". Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Sean Smith - Official Website". Sean Smith - Official Website. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  22. ^ Sean Smith (17 November 2016). "Sean Smith Turn Me On Live 17/11/2016". Retrieved 4 October 2017 – via YouTube.
  23. ^ "Portsmouth City Centre Sparkler". Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  24. ^ Sean Smith (19 March 2017). "Sean Smith - Turn Me On Live at the James Bulger Black Tie & Tiara Ball". Retrieved 4 October 2017 – via YouTube.
  25. ^ "5ive Reasons Why You Need A Ticket to the JBMT Black Tie & Tiara Ball 2017 - The Guide Liverpool". 4 March 2017. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  26. ^ a b c d e f "Sean Smith". Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  27. ^ Loose Women (11 September 2017). "Same Difference Star Sean's New Look - Loose Women". Retrieved 4 October 2017 – via YouTube.
  28. ^ Newman, Vicki (22 May 2017). "Same Difference's Sean Smith is unrecognisable as he unveils dramatic new look". Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  29. ^ Sean Smith (5 June 2017). "Sean Smith - Live At Oxford Pride". Retrieved 4 October 2017 – via YouTube.
  30. ^ "Oxford Pride 2017". Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  31. ^ This Morning (2 September 2016). "X Factor's Chico And Same Difference - This Morning". Retrieved 4 October 2017 – via YouTube.
  32. ^ "Christmas extravaganza in the marketplace has X Factor". Burton Mail. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2010.

External linksEdit