MOST X Factor finalists have a showbiz life expectancy of a fruit fly.

But not Ray Quinn.

While the 23-year-old looks younger there's a maturity about the young man from Liverpool, who sang Sinatra songs on The X Factor, coming second to Leona Lewis in 2006.

And this adult approach will give Ray the chance to remain in showbiz for the long haul.

Added to that, he has a range of talents which make him attractive to producers in television and theatre.

Next week he's appearing in Glasgow, starring in Little Voice at the Theatre Royal.

Ray plays Billy, the shy young BT worker – played in the film version by Ewan McGregor – who coaxes the reclusive Little Voice out of her room, and helps reveal her singing talent.

"This is a straight play, and it's something very different for me," he says, smiling.

"I've done quite a few musical theatre shows, and I always seem to have an American accent. It's quite nice to play someone who comes from the north west of England.

"Normally, I'd be the brash over-confident one, the likes of Danny Zuko in Grease.

"But this is not a musical, it's a play. And it's really nice for me to try to be the actor and play a quiet and different role."

After X Factor, Ray released an album of swing songs, which went platinum, and had a sell-out UK tour.

Since that point he's gone on to appear in a range of West End shows such as Legally Blonde and Dirty Dancing.

"Music was always something I loved," he said. "I trained in musical theatre from the age of three and when I was eight I got my first job in Brookside.

"It was fantastic and I learned so much from pros who were there for years. I learned from the best.

"A lot of Brookside actors even today are still working. It shows the talent on that programme and it was an honour to be part of that."

Ray didn't fear being perennially associated with the likes of Sinatra and Bobby Darin?

"Not at all," he says.

"The whole X Factor thing was a lovely stepping stone for me. And I love the variety of showbiz. I never said I'd stick to one thing and I've worked on a few varied shows up until now."

And of course he was the Dancing on Ice winner in 2009.

It's fair to say Ray defies convention in that he seems to be incredibly sorted and sensible. He's not gone down the pop route of tattoos and drugs and groupies.

INDEED, he is married to his West End co-star Emma Stephens (they met in Grease when Emma played Sandy) and tied the knot in a beach wedding in Barbados.

They have a nine-month old baby, Harry.

And the fact he's working away from home a great deal is the only blot on his personal landscape.

"I'm in a Travelodge right now," he says, with a grin.

"This is the showbiz world people don't get to hear about. It can be tough doing what you do.

"You can wait months for the next job but I've been really lucky in that I've worked solidly for the last seven years.

"But I do miss my wife and baby. I've been on the road for 20 weeks now and the challenge is to see them as often as possible.

"The thing is, I love my personal life. I'm incredibly happy. I get to do the job I love and it's all for my wife and son.

"But at the end of the year I'm going to be playing Peter Pan at the Liverpool Empire and my wife is playing Wendy. That will be really fantastic."

Meantime, there's the Little Voice run to finish. Did he watch the show to pick up hints on how to play Billy?

"I'd seen the film," he says of the movie starring Jane Horrocks as LV and McGregor. But the writer Jim Cartwright wanted a fresh look on it, to start from scratch.

"He wanted it to be as new, so that's the way we went with it.

"And I have to say, it's been going well. Most of the venues, have given us standing ovations."

Is he looking forward to Glasgow?

"You know I'm not even sure if I've been to Glasgow," he says, half-laughing and half- embarrassed.

"I've done so many shows in the past seven years it's all been a bit of a blur. But I'm sure it's an amazing city."

n Little Voice, Theatre Royal, June 3-8, also stars Beverley Callard as Little Voice's controlling mum Mari and Jess Robinson as LV.