Ross Richard Clark-Neal (né Clark; born 25 October 1988), known professionally as Rylan Clark-Neal, is an English singer, television presenter, narrator and model. After finishing in fifth place in the ninth series of The X Factor, he went on to win Celebrity Big Brother 11. Later that year, he presented Big Brother's Bit on the Side, This Morning and The Xtra Factor. He is also the host of the revived editions of Supermarket Sweep and Ready Steady Cook.
Early and personal life
Clark-Neal was born Ross Richard Clark on 25 October 1988 in Stepney, East London, to mother Linda Clark.
In 2007, he applied for Big Brother 8, but, "the day I was going in, it got taken away from me because it got leaked to the press. It was devastating."
Clark-Neal has been a part-time model since he was 16. It was during his early modelling career that he adopted the stage name "Rylan"; his modelling agency, finding his name boring, named him Kielan, but sent his royalty cheque to "Mr K Clark", which meant that without divulging his real name, he could not cash that cheque, and never received his £126. He then went into a branch of WHSmith and pulled out the name "Rylan" from the R section of a baby name book. He was in several Take That and Westlife tribute bands in Ibiza, and was also part of a Spanish boy band called 4bidden until 2010.
In September 2014, Clark-Neal got engaged to Big Brother 14 housemate Dan Neal. On 7 November 2015, the couple got married.
2010–2011: Television appearances
In 2010, Clark-Neal appeared in four episodes of the BBC series John Bishop's Britain. Clark-Neal was then a finalist on Sky Living modelling series Signed by Katie Price.
2012: The X Factor
In May 2012, Clark-Neal auditioned for the ninth series of The X Factor at The O2 Arena in London, in front of Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow, Tulisa and guest judge Rita Ora. He performed a dance version of Des'ree's "Kissing You". Barlow said afterwards: "Rylan, love your personality, hate your voice, really strange song choice as well." Walsh also admitted that he was "a bit worried". Barlow gave Clark-Neal a "no", but Ora, Tulisa and Walsh all decided to say "yes" and put him through to bootcamp.
At bootcamp, Clark-Neal sang The Pussycat Dolls' "Don't Cha", with former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, now a judge. After his performance, Barlow admitted: "[I] think he's going to haunt me throughout this competition." Barlow was reluctant to send Clark-Neal through to judges' houses, but the other three judges were in favour of him advancing. Clark-Neal was eventually put through into the boys category with Scherzinger as his mentor. At judges' houses in Dubai, Clark-Neal performed a stripped-back rendition of Rihanna's "We Found Love" in front of Scherzinger and Ne-Yo. Scherzinger later put Clark-Neal through to live shows as one of her final three along with James Arthur and Jahméne Douglas. She told him: "Rylan, it's such a big risk... but I have to take it, and you are in my final three.", and then Clark-Neal appeared to have an immense breakdown.
Clark-Neal sang "Gold" by Spandau Ballet in the first week of the live shows, and was in the bottom two with Carolynne Poole the following night. Scherzinger voted to save Clark as he was her own act, while Barlow and Tulisa voted to save Poole, based on the final showdown performance. Walsh, who had the casting vote, voted to save Clark and send the result to deadlock, in which Clark had received more public votes than Poole and was saved, much to the disgust of Barlow, who stormed off stage and later called Clark-Neal a "joke act" and "talentless".
In week 2, Clark-Neal persisted to wind Barlow up by first performing part of Barlow's "Back for Good", and then claiming afterwards that he had booked him a cab in advance in case he stormed off stage again, to which Barlow responded "That's funny [because] I've had yours on hold for two weeks." That week, Clark-Neal was put through to week three on the public vote. In week 5, he was in the bottom two again with Kye Sones, but was saved by the public vote. This followed after Barlow and Walsh voted to eliminate Clark while Scherzinger and Tulisa, who had the casting vote, voted to eliminate Sones. Tulisa sent the result to deadlock and Sones was eliminated. In week 7, Clark revealed on The Xtra Factor that his psychic had told him he would reach week 7 of the competition before leaving, but the following night he advanced to the quarter-final by the public vote.
|The X Factor performances and results|
|First audition||Free choice||"Kissing You"||Through to bootcamp|
|Bootcamp – stage 1||Group performance||"Respect"
||Through to stage 2|
|Bootcamp – stage 2||Solo performance||"Don't Cha"||Through to judges' houses|
|Judges' houses||Free choice||"We Found Love"||Through to live shows|
|Live show 1||Heroes||"Gold"||Bottom two (12th)|
|Final showdown||"One Night Only"||Saved (Deadlock)|
|Live show 2||Love and heartbreak||"Back for Good" / "Groove Is in the Heart" / "Gangnam Style" / "Pump Up the Jam"||Safe (3rd)|
|Live show 3||Club classics||"On the Floor" / "Don't Stop the Music" / "I See You Baby"||Safe (4th)|
|Live show 4||Halloween||"Toxic" / "Horny" / "Poison"||Safe (7th)|
|Live show 5||Number-ones||"Hung Up" / "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)"||Bottom two (7th)|
|Final showdown||"Kissing You"||Saved (Deadlock)|
|Live show 6||Best of British||"Say You'll Be There" / "Who Do You Think You Are" / "Wannabe" / "Spice Up Your Life"||Safe (5th)|
|Live show 7||Guilty pleasures||"Girls on Film" / "When Will I Be Famous?"||Safe (3rd)|
|Quarter-Final||Songs by ABBA||"Mamma Mia"||Bottom two (5th)|
|Motown songs||"Baby Love" / "Stop! In the Name of Love" / "You Keep Me Hangin' On"|
Celebrity Big Brother
Clark-Neal became a housemate in the eleventh series of Celebrity Big Brother in January 2013. He was the second celebrity to enter the Big Brother House. On launch night, he and Italian jockey Frankie Dettori selected which celebrities would join them in the House and who would be banished to the Basement. It was revealed mid-way through the series that, contrary to the show's rules of staying in the Big Brother House throughout the series, Clark-Neal had been leaving the house each Sunday to rehearse for The X Factor Live Tour, which began a day after the live final on 25 January. He made it to the final five with Neil "Razor" Ruddock, Claire Richards, Ryan Moloney and Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt (Heidi & Spencer being counted as a single housemate). Clark-Neal was announced as the winner during the live final, after which he broke down into tears.
Channel 5 (2013–2018)
On 14 May 2013, as part of a revamp by Channel 5, Clark-Neal and AJ Odudu were announced as the new co-hosts of Big Brother's Bit on the Side, replacing Jamie East and Alice Levine. Emma Willis replaced Brian Dowling as the host of Big Brother. In the 2015 series of Celebrity Big Brother UK vs USA, he also presented Bit on the Side at the weekends; for this series it was renamed Bit on the State Side and filmed in an American style studio. Clark-Neal presented Big Brother's Bit on the Side until the series was cancelled by Channel 5 in 2018.
In October 2015, Clark-Neal co-presented a special edition of Most Haunted Live with Jamie East on Really. It became the highest-rated show the channel had ever seen, outperforming Channel 4 and 5 in its time slot.
In May 2016, Clark-Neal presented his own prime time chat show for Channel 5 called Up Late with Rylan.
Since the tenth series of The X Factor, Clark-Neal has provided all the gossip from the show on This Morning. He also acted as a Hub presenter until its removal from the show in 2014. Since late 2014, he has also been credited as the main relief presenter for the series. He has presented with others including Ruth Langsford, Lorraine Kelly, Dan Neal (his husband), Alison Hammond, Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby, Amanda Holden, Sarah Greene, Geri Halliwell, Gok Wan, Lisa Snowdon, Emma Willis,Rochelle Humes and Eamonn Holmes.
It was confirmed on 1 July 2016 that Clark-Neal would co-host The Xtra Factor Live alongside Matt Edmondson. This will be the second time a former X Factor contestant has co-hosted the series, the first being Olly Murs, who co-hosted from 2011 to 2012.
In January 2017, it was announced that Clark-Neal would present a new daytime game show for ITV called Babushka. He also hosted the non-broadcast pilot for ITV2 panel show Codswallop, however, it was not commissioned for a series.
In December 2017, it was announced that Rylan would be taking a break from his duties with This Morning from the following January for a few months. Clark-Neal returned to This Morning briefly in both April 2018, July 2018 and August 2018 as a main show stand-in presenter.
On 10 July 2019, it was announced that Clark-Neal would present a revived version of Supermarket Sweep. The show began airing on ITV2 on 9 September 2019.
In 2018, it was announced that Clark-Neal would be a regular panellist on Eurovision: You Decide, and remained there until its cancellation in 2020. He also took over Mel Giedroyc's role as co-commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest semi finals alongside Scott Mills. In 2018, he covered for Zoe Ball on BBC Radio 2, and took over her show when she moved to the station's breakfast show in January 2019, now titled Rylan on Saturday. Since January 2019, Rylan has also hosted multiple episodes of The One Show as a stand-in guest presenter.
On 18 April 2019, it was announced that Clark-Neal would begin co-presenting Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two alongside Zoe Ball. In May 2019, Clark-Neal was the spokesperson for the United Kingdom as part of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. On 2 September 2019, it was confirmed that Clark-Neal would host a revived daytime series of Ready Steady Cook on BBC One in 2020.
In February 2014, Clark-Neal made a guest appearance in the Sky 1 comedy series Stella. In 2015, Clark-Neal reached the final of BBC One's Celebrity MasterChef competition.
On 21 January 2016, Clark-Neal announced on his Twitter account that he would release his autobiography titled The Life of Rylan on 30 June 2016. It reached number 1 in The Sunday Times Bestsellers List. He appeared as Ryan, an air steward, in the 2016 film Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. In 2017, he narrated the ITVBe reality series Spa Wars.
In June 2020, it was announced that Clark-Neal would be co-hosting Big Brother: Best Shows Ever with Davina McCall.
Awards and nominations
In 2015, Clark-Neal won The Telegraph's 'LGBT Celebrity of the Year' award.
In 2016 and 2017, he was nominated for a National Television Award in the Best Presenter category, but lost out to Ant & Dec on both occasions.
In May 2016, Rylan's chat show Up Late with Rylan was nominated for a TV Choice Award.
Clark-Neal was named The Sunday Times no. 1 best seller for his debut autobiography, The Life of Rylan, in June 2016.