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Little lad era.

X Factor's Wagner now - inside his home, body transformation and hired for stag dos

By Kyle O'Sullivan

Walking into the home of one of The X Factor's greatest ever contestants is a very surreal experience.

It's been 12 years since the world was introduced to Wagner - and no one has come close to being as entertaining since he burst onto our screens.

With his flamboyant dress sense and long hair, the Brazilian singing sensation had viewers watching in their millions during the peak of the show's success.

It nearly didn't happen as he initially did not make it through to the live shows, but the former PE teacher was given a lifeline when Louis Walsh sensationally brought him back to his over 28s category.

The singer, whose full name is Wagner Fiuza-Carillho, became famous for combining classic songs into one memorable performance, such as She Bangs and Love Shack.

Fast-forward a decade and a bit, and what's most striking about Wagner when you see him in the flesh now is his tiny moustache has been replaced by a massive white beard.

Wagner looked very different back in 2010 (Getty Images)

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Wagner looks drastically different to how he did on The X Factor - and blames the great food they provided and lack of privacy as a reason for putting on weight back in 2010.

"When I went I was skinny. While I was on the show I couldn’t train or jog. I couldn’t go jogging on the street," he tells us.

"I put weight on very easily, as I was eating good food and couldn’t exercise, soon I built up a belly that took me a lot of hard work to get rid of."

Wagner, whose hobbies are body building kand karate, goes to the gym six or seven days a week but has recently been put out of action by an injury.

He suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome which left him unable to clench a fist or tie his shoelaces, but is recovering after having an operation on his hand.

The former PE teacher, who has been living in the UK for 30 years, lives just outside Birmingham with partner Lydia and their two children.

Wagner spoke to The Mirror from his home (SWNS)

While standing beside the golden gates outside his house, a fan drives past honking his horn at the X Factor star, which is indicative of his continued popularity.

"When I went on The X Factor I was only expecting to say I had beee on the show to get jobs singing in pubs," he admits.

"I never thought I was going to become that known. Nearly everyone knows who I am."

Inside Wagner's warm home are a lot of links to his X Factor past, including a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses that he was given by One Direction's Zayn Malik.

Despite his staggering, colourful hat collection, Wagner admits he is more reserved thesedays and always goes dressed in black now.

You also cannot miss his adorable dog Lobo, which means 'wolf' in Portugese, a giant Caucasian Shepherd who Wagner labels "disobedient" but really he is a big softy.

The X Factor star with his adorable dog Lobo (SWNS)

One room in his home is dedicated to music and features a leopard print chair, half a dozen different-sized drums and backgrounds to film personalised video messages for fans.

Wagner is still performing, but not doing as many gigs as before, so has found another source of income through filming himself giving greetings.

He has backgrounds to do everything from birthdays to anniversaries, Mother's Day to Easter, and believes he was "the inventor of this business" before the likes of Cameo came along.

After doing tonnes of video messages for special events for free, his partner Lydia suggested he should start charging but it took him a while to warm to the idea.

"A lot of people say 'you must be desperate and skint'. I was just thinking I’m doing all these requests for free," the singer explains.

"Someone said I was 'scraping the bottom of the barrel'. But soon everybody started paying and understood that was a fair business.

"The UK market was all mine. I was like the people’s messenger. During Christmas sometimes I was doing 60 to 70 videos per day. It was too much, I became a slave to my own videos. It was 365 days a year."

Wagner has different backgrounds for his video messages (SWNS)

Wagner says he is the "British people's messenger" but now he sells less videos than before because there is so much competition.

"Nowadays there are different platforms with thousands of competitors and celebrities," he says. "They are all doing it. The market was only mine and now it’s shared amongst thousands of competitors."

As well as taking video requests, Wagner is also available to be hired out for stag and hen dos, weddings, or club nights.

He says: "It is a wonderful thing. There's nothing better than being loved. Wherever I go people love me and that is a great feeling. I can only be grateful to the British people for the way they have welcomed me."

Wagner also sells merchandise such as t-shirts and mugs, such as one which references Louis' inability to pronounce his name correctly with the words: "It's f***ing VAGNER Louis!!!"

His life is now devoted to his children and partner Lydia, who he met in December 2010 at a gig in Stourbridge, Dudley just weeks after being booted out of X Factor.

Wagner with his partner Lydia and their son (Graham Stone/REX/Shutterstock)
Wagner during his X Factor days (Ken McKay/Rex Features)

They were introduced by one of his former karate students - and Lydia has her own karate club in nearby Kingswinford.

"As soon as I came out of the TV show I met Lydia," explains Wagner, who then told us what made him fall in love. "I would say not only her beauty but also her character.

"She looked to be very honest and innocent, she had no evil. She was such a beautiful soul and I thought, 'I’m lucky, she’s beautiful'."

When asked about their 36-year age gap, Wagner adds: "No, it doesn’t bother me as the spirit doesn’t get old. I only know I’m 66 because it says it on my birth certificate."

The pair are parents to two children, with Wagner admitting words can't describe how "magical" it is being a father, but says it's too early to tell if they will follow in his musical footsteps.

But Wagner will be separated from his family for a while as he told us he is going back to Brazil to start a hair transplant business.

The singer had two separate procedures after going bald in 2013 to transfer healthy hair follicles from the back of the head to the areas that needed them at the Vinci Hair Clinic.

Wagner has been speaking about his future (SWNS)

He became very good friends with owner Salvar Björnsson, who has 40 clinics around the world and is letting Wagner open a new franchise in the north east of Brazil where he grew up.

"So you’re asking me to go back to paradise, palm trees, 12 months of sea, to go and make money? I’m going to be making so much money I’ll be coming back to the UK. I’m only a flight away," he explains.

"Once the clinic is up and running I can employ a manager who speaks English and once I die, Lydia will communicate with the manager and I can die in peace now."

Wagner also spoke about his time on The X Factor, where he got all the way to the quarter finals before having to leave the competition.

He still speaks to some of his fellow contestants, including Sam Bailey, Mary Byrne, Rebecca Ferguson and Tracy Cohen.

Discussing the experience, he says: "When you are on The X Factor you are like a prisoner. You can’t go anywhere because you become their property, their asset for the show.

"At 7am you’d have to get ready to go to the studio, then be recording, go to interviews, the show was massive. Then we’d come back home at 11am. So it was a full time job.

Wagner stood outside his home (SWNS)

"There was some tension amongst the other contestants but I was never tense because I didn’t expect to get that far. I was grateful for every day I was there.

"When a samurai goes to a battle he has no fear because their attitude is 'I’m dead already and the door to my life is my opponent'. So I thought 'I’m out of the show already, if I stay it’s a bonus'."

He says it would be a shame if the "biggest TV show in the UK" is completely finished and believes two factors contributed to its downfall.

"People don’t buy records or CDs anymore so X Factor couldn’t offer that million pound contract for the winner," he explains.

"Also I think because they have to be politically correct now, Simon Cowell had to become Mr Nice Guy. People loved hearing him say ‘you sing like a strangled cat’.

"You can’t say those things anymore as the world is a very boring place. You can say anything too upset somebody."

Do you have a story to share? Email webfeatures@trinitymirror.com

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