Coming fourth in a TV talent contest doesn't consign you to the bargain bin - as we saw with Pop Idol's Zoe Birkett, chart success is still possible. Ainslie, the quirky terror from the BBC's Fame Academy, will be hoping so as he releases his debut, Keep Me A Secret.
A world away from the recent bland, middle-of-the-road offering from the Academy's eventual winner David Sneddon, it reminds us that it was always Ainslie who injected life into the Academy, and whose music seemed the most distinctive and engaging. Ainslie's TV performances, including his especially energetic take on The Pretenders' Don't Get Me Wrong, gathered the playful and charming 23-year-old Scot legions of fans.
Obvious comparisons with The Cure's Robert Smith are borne out on Keep Me A Secret - from Ainslie's vowel sounds to his breathing, it's all there. The song itself reminds of The Cure's Friday I'm In Love, albeit with a few more hooks. Yet Ainslie's vocals sound sincere, full of energy and - crucially - individual, when compared to those of his contemporaries.
Fellow Academy students Malachi and Sinead (fresh from her own no.2 success) offer able assistance with backing vocals. Sinead even gets out her mandolin and adds some welcome and effective twinkles, giving the track a distinctive feel. Keep Me A Secret has already appeared on the Fame Academy album, but this reworking is definitely edgier.
It comes backed with Don't Get Me Wrong, which serves to remind us of Ainslie's best Academy performance, and it will delight his fans. A third track, Take Out Time, gives vent to big, dirty guitar sounds and a catchy chorus, harking back to early U2 minus The Edge's guitars in its exuberance. Indeed it's a curious choice for a B-side - for with Ainslie's voice at its most distinctive and powerful, it's good enough to be a single itself.
Keep Me A Secret shows Ainslie as a star in his own right, and one who can shake off the reality TV badge on his way to deserved success.