A session singer for many years, Maria Lawson was best known for being on the receiving end of one of reality TV's most controversial musical eliminations. Born in London in 1975, Lawson was a capable mid-level singer before appearing on ITV's The X Factor, where despite a passionate performance of Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" and a soulful interpretation of James Blunt's "You're Beautiful," she failed to make the cut. The elimination did land the singer a record deal with the Phonogenic branch of Sony BMG Records, however, and Lawson released her eponymous debut album in 2006, followed by her second album, Emotional Rollercoaster, in 2008. ~ Jon O'Brien
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