Singer Sami Brookes says despite being in the glare of publicity, life as a X Factor finalist is far from glamorous.
The Rhyl card shop worker said contestants are up at 05:00 BST and head to the studio, rehearsing new songs and dance routines all day.
And in the evenings she and other finalists pop to a local supermarket to buy dinner and are in bed by 01:00 BST.
She said she has already been advised to keep a low profile in public to avoid incidents with enthusiastic fans.
"It's for safety," she said.
But Ms Brookes, 31, said her supermarket jaunts with fellow contestant and Louis Walsh mentee Jonny Robinson are a welcome break from the hectic pace.
"I don't want to be in this business to be a celebrity," she said.
"I want to sing and get into musicals," said Ms Brookes, who studied health and social care at Llandrillo College, Rhos on Sea, to become a youth social worker in case her ambitions to become a professional singer failed.
"It's not glamorous like you see on the TV," she said.
'Five a day'
"It's a killer. It's long days but I'm doing it for a reason and you have got to be prepared to work hard.
"It has been my dream to be on the show," said Ms Brookes who had been performing at pubs and clubs around Denbighshire, Flintshire and Cheshire before being picked to appear in the ITV show.
Although performing to a TV audience of millions now, the former Rhyl High School pupil admitted she had never previously performed further from home than Chester.
That is because she does not drive and relied on friends to take her, using the nominal fees she received to "pay their fuel bill and buy them a burger afterwards".
She said the support she has received from people in Rhyl on X Factor has been "amazing" and she hopes to win more support from around Wales as a Welsh finalist.
One day she hopes to perform in stage musicals, such as her favourite, Blood Brothers, which she has seen eight times.
And to do that she said she is determined to work hard in the TV competition.
To perform at her best she has been told to stay in good health, to eat healthy food and not to drink alcohol to keep her in good voice.
She joked about only enjoying a "sherry at Christmas" and says eating five fruit and vegetables a day was something she had never done previously.
Despite the relentless pace, Ms Brookes said she felt "the luckiest girl in the world", not least because she got to go backstage after watching Priscilla the Musical with mentor Louis Walsh earlier this week.