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    Scarlet Harlots

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    The competition, an X-Factor like show where unsigned bands perform in front of a judging panel of music industry experts, guarantees the winners a record deal, masses of publicity and a nationwide tour.

    Scarlet Harlots were one of 7,500 groups from around the country who applied over the summer of 2008 - and have now reached the final three.

    They were actually eliminated by the judges at one stage but a wild card stipulation in the rules allowed one band to be brought back via public vote.

    Thousands made the call to bring back the Scarlets and the Birmingham lads find themselves in the finals on Sunday 25th January 2009.

    "I just want to thank everyone who's voted for us so far," says guitarist and vocalist Geoffrey Foulkes. "Me and the lads really appreciate it.

    "We honestly didn't think we'd get this far. The whole strategy was just to go on the show just to get a bit more publicity so we could get a few more people at our gigs in Birmingham. Whatever happens, it's been all good experience and brilliant for the band."

    The Harlots have bagged lot of publicity. Their myspace plays alone are bordering on 10,000 a day.

    Regardless of whether Scarlet Harlots win the competition, weekly exposure on national television has only helped the band, who first performed as relative unknowns on BBC WM Introducing in October 2007.

    "It's really changed things," says Geoffrey. "Now we're in the music business and dealing with publicists, photographers and a lot of press. Playing live in a TV studio is a lot of pressure. But it's the kind of thing you wanted when you first started playing guitar as a kid so it's like a dream really.

    "I've been recognised in the street more than you'd think. I was quite surprised. I'm used to going up to people I see and telling them that I like their work, appreciate what they're doing. Having it happen to yourself is really humbling. It's really nice."

    Scarlet Harlots will battle two other bands during the live final on 25th January for the dream prize - a record deal with Universal, album releases and a national tour.

    The winners will be determined purely by audience votes.

    "It's a major Universal contract, like any other contract they have with any other artist like Amy Winehouse or Duffy. It's life changing."

    The final of Orange Unsigned Act airs on Sunday 25th Jaunary 2009 on Channel 4.

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