With their squeaky-clean image, relentlessly upbeat nature, and pure bubblegum pop sound, brother-and-sister duo the Same Difference became one of the most audience-dividing acts in The X Factor's history. Sean Smith, born in 1985, and sister Sarah, born in 1988, both left home at an early age to pursue their dream of performing. Sean appeared in several pantomimes and landed a job singing on cruise ships, while Sarah attended the Italia Conti Academy, where she finished her diploma. After regularly performing together at a retirement home in their native Portsmouth, the pair entered the fourth series of The X Factor. Although the siblings were initially dismissed by Simon Cowell as "two of the most annoying people I've ever met," the judges were soon won over by their innocent charm and the duo eventually made it to the live stages. The pair were favorites to be booted out in the first show, but thanks to energetic and heavily choreographed performances of songs by the likes of Steps and S Club 7, they surprisingly made it to the final, finishing third behind Rhydian and Leon Jackson. Initially signing to Cowell's Syco label in a one-single deal, rumored to be a cover of High School Musical's "Breaking Free," Sean and Sarah were later offered a £1 million album contract. Featuring new material written by Swedish producers Jörgen Elofsson and Per Westerlund, and cover versions of tracks by Kylie Minogue, Starship, and Irish Popstars winners Six, debut album Pop was set for release at the end of 2008.