Will Young has said that competing on a show like The X Factor or Pop Idol is the perfect apprenticeship for a music career.

His comments come after singer Sting called the X Factor ‘appalling’ and claimed that the contestants are ‘going nowhere’.

The Leave Right Now singer insisted: “I’ve always said I think Pop Idol was the best apprenticeship ever, because you got to learn about what it is to be a pop star.”

He added: “You’ve got live TV, styling, make up, lights, camera work. and singing live under pressure and so weirdly I think for lots of us on that show when we went on tour the nerves never came from ‘are we going to sing in tune?’ cos that’s what we had to do every week, or we wouldn’t have been there.”

The 30-year-old – whose greatest hits album Will Young: The Hits is released on November 16, insists he never tried to shed his reality TV show winner tag.

He said: “I’ve always been proud of it. It’s different then to how it is now. I think there was more of a polarising reaction to it then. And there were definitely occasions where I thought ‘should I walk into this room meekly with my hood up?'”

“But as I’ve got older I think I’ve become more and more proud of what I did on that show. I mean it was terrifying, I don’t think I could do it now, I really know how I managed to do it then.

“But it was because I loved singing so much and wanted to do this and wanted to be where I am now. And that kind of desire can’t be underestimated in anyone, in any career.

“The weird thing for me is I get to see it on TV and see how driven I was, and still am, but it really came out in standing up, week after week, in front of a live audience. It was terrifying, but that’s how much I wanted to sing.”