X Factor ‘AXED’: A look back at the show’s iconic celebrity performances

In its heyday, The X Factor became as well-known for its superstar final collaborations as it did for its rags-to-riches contestants and glamorous judges.

As the plug is reportedly pulled on X Factor following 17 years of chart-topping hits, Christmas number ones and catfights – MailOnline takes a look back at the most glittering celebrity performances from the iconic reality show….

X FACTOR 2008 – BEYONCE AND ALEXANDRA BURKE

WOW: Megastar Beyonce collaborated with Alexandra Burke at the X Factor 2008 final – wowing fans all over the world.

The 2008 final saw X Factor bosses secure their biggest celebrity collaborator to date when Destiny’s Child legend Beyonce Knowles teamed up with ultimate winner Alexandra Burke for an unforgettable duet of Listen.

Alexandra, then 19 and a Beyonce super-fan, was facing off against boyband JLS in the final, and shocked and amazed fans when she tearfully announced the Crazy In Love hitmaker would join her on-stage.

What followed saw vocal powerhouses Beyonce and Alexandra cement their place in X Factor history – with a sobbing Alexandra going on to win the show over JLS (who had duetted with Irish boyband Westlife.)

Beyonce was reportedly paid an eye-popping £1million to perform on the night. 

 X FACTOR 2009 – GEORGE MICHAEL AND JOE MCELDERRY

Winner: George Michael and Joe McElderry performed Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me at the X Factor final 2009

Winner: George Michael and Joe McElderry performed Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me at the X Factor final 2009

The following year’s series saw the music legends continuing to flock to the reality show when George Michael joined eventual winner Joe McElderry on stage for a duet of Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.

Joe, then 18, who had proclaimed the Wham! hitmaker was his inspiration, was in awe as George joined him on-stage for the powerful duet – with Joe going on to win the title over Olly Murs, who duetted with Robbie Williams.  

George said after the performance: ‘I think he rose to the occasion. 

‘I think he’s got a great future but Iwish good luck to all three contestants. They are under an amazing amount of pressure. Theyhave to do this and meet people like us on the same night. ‘

George tragically died in 2016 aged 53. 

X FACTOR 2009 – ROBBIE WILLIAMS AND OLLY MURS

He's The One! Olly Murs and Robbie Williams joined forces to perform Angels at the X Factor 2009 final

He’s The One! Olly Murs and Robbie Williams joined forces to perform Angels at the X Factor 2009 final

That same night, Olly Murs, now a successful singer and The Voice judge, realised one of his dreams when he duetted with the iconic Take That singer for a duet of Angels. 

Despite a slight technical hiccup at the start when Robbie began singing too early, Robbie made up for the blunder by throwing his arms repeatedly around the then 25-year-old as they belted out the song and then praising him to the hilt after they had finished.

Robbie then led the audience in a round of ‘Olly, Olly, Olly’

Olly gushed after the performance: ‘That was fantastic. He’s an absolute legend.’

 X FACTOR 2010 – ROBBIE WILLIAMS AND ONE DIRECTION 

Before the fame: Robbie was back at the 2010 final to perform She's The One with One Direction

Before the fame: Robbie was back at the 2010 final to perform She’s The One with One Direction

Although they would soon become one of the most successful recording artists in history, back in 2010, One Direction were one of four acts vying to become X Factor champions on final night (alongside Matt Cardle, Rebecca Ferguson and Cher Lloyd.)

The band collaborated with X Factor friend Robbie Williams for a sweet rendition of She’s The One on the night.

Robbie showed his support for One Direction, proclaiming: ‘Vote, come on the lads!’ after the performance, before having a group huddle with the boys. 

Although they lost to Matt Cardle – the quintet have cemented their place in recording history with record sales of more than 70million worldwide.

X FACTOR 2010 – RIHANNA AND MATT CARDLE

2010: Global superstar Rihanna and eventual series winner Matt Cardle set tongues wagging with their sizzling duet to her hit, Unfaithful

2010: Global superstar Rihanna and eventual series winner Matt Cardle set tongues wagging with their sizzling duet to her hit, Unfaithful

Global superstar Rihanna and eventual series winner Matt Cardle set tongues wagging with their sizzling duet to her hit, Unfaithful.

The pair stared into one another’s eyes and even embraced onstage – with Matt later confessing he wished he had kissed the star during the song.   

Talking to Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on This Morning, the former painter and decorator Matt admitted their chemistry had been ‘amazing’ and that the performance had been his show highlight.

Phillip said: ‘That duet was the one that had pure energy… I thought you were going to snog!’.

Holly added, ‘I thought so too! I was like, “snog snog!” watching at home!’

To which a laughing Matt confessed: ‘So was I!’

X FACTOR 2010 – CHRISTINA AGUILERA AND REBECCA FERGUSON 

2010: In one of the most star-studded finals yet, America pop queen Christina Aguilera joined runner-up Rebecca Ferguson for a performance of Beautiful

2010: In one of the most star-studded finals yet, America pop queen Christina Aguilera joined runner-up Rebecca Ferguson for a performance of Beautiful

In one of the most star-studded finals yet, America pop queen Christina Aguilera joined runner-up Rebecca Ferguson for a performance of Beautiful.

The duo wowed the crowds with their stellar vocals but Rebecca was unfortunately pipped at the final post by Matt.  

Rebecca later told the Liverpool Echo of Xtina: ‘She’s an amazing artist. I was so starstruck. I still can’t believe I got to sing with her.

‘We rehearsed it through and I was worried I would sing her lyrics so she said we would work it out on stage. She told me to keep eye contact with her.

‘I thought she was really sweet. I liked her. Don’t get me wrong she was a professional but at the same time she didn’t have to record a good luck message for me.’

X FACTOR 2012 – NICOLE SCHERZINGER AND JAHMENE DOUGLAS

Judge Nicole joined forces with Swindon sensation and her mentee Jahmene to perform Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love during the X Factor final.

Technical glitch: Judge Nicole joined forces with her mentee Jahmene to perform Whitney Houston's Greatest Love - but one of their mics failed

Technical glitch: Judge Nicole joined forces with her mentee Jahmene to perform Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love – but one of their mics failed

After figuring out her microphone was not working, Nicole rushed over to Jahmene and took his microphone to continue singing her part, with the two later sharing it to complete the song. 

Both stars showed signs of frustration, but continued and delivered the dramatic ballad pitch-perfect.

Despite the fact the two managed to belt out the song without errors, Nicole did seem upset afterwards by the technical error.   

Dermot O’Leary declared: ‘This is the biggest show in the UK and we can’t afford two working mics?’

‘That’s what a live performance is all about!’

However, Nicole was not impressed, saying: ‘Well it sucks when your mic is not on, but he’s my little angel and to share the stage with him, that’s the reason that I’m here.’

 X FACTOR 2009 – MICHAEL BUBLÉ AND STACEY SOLOMON   

2009: Stacey Solomon's polished performance with the ever-professional Michael Buble won her rapturous applause and a standing ovation from all four judges

2009: Stacey Solomon’s polished performance with the ever-professional Michael Buble won her rapturous applause and a standing ovation from all four judges

Stacey Solomon’s polished performance with the ever-professionalMichael Buble won herrapturous applause and a standing ovation from all four judges.

The then 20-year-old from Dagenham performed in a shimmering red dress and belted out Feeling Good with theCanadian crooner.

Stacey, who looked as if she might have a little crush on the singer, dubbed him, ‘the coolest man I’ve ever met’.

Buble said she ‘absolutely’ had what it takes to go all the way.

‘Can you not tell how much fun we just had there?’ he said when Dermot asked if he had enjoyed working with the Dagenham Diva.

Stacey has since forged a successful presenting and social media career. 

X FACTOR 2009 – PAUL MCCARTNEY WITH OLLY MURS AND JOE MCELDERRY

Icon: Beatles legend Macca made a surprise appearance on stage to sing Drive My Car alongside finalists Olly Murs and Joe McElderry

Icon: Beatles legend Macca made a surprise appearance on stage to sing Drive My Car alongside finalists Olly Murs and Joe McElderry

The Beatles legend made a surprise appearance on stage to sing Drive My Car alongside finalists Olly Murs and Joe McElderry.

He also performed Bond theme, Live and Let Die on the extremely star-studded night. 

Macca previously told the Mirror in 2009:’I watch The X Factor because my kids watch it.

“They have it on the TV and when I come in the room it’s like, ‘What is this?’ The show is like a road accident – you don’t want to see it, but you do.

‘You find yourself watching it each week to see who is going to be kicked out I was surprised [Jedward] didn’t stay in for longer as they were really popular,” he said. “They couldn’t really sing though – but they were watchable.’

 OTHER CELEBRITY PERFORMANCES…

 X FACTOR 2009 – JUDGE CHERYL MAKES SOLO PERFORMANCE DEBUT

Back then: Cheryl Cole's much-hyped debut solo performance of Fight For This Love in 2009 helped The X Factor pull in a record audience of nearly 15million

Back then: Cheryl Cole’s much-hyped debut solo performance of Fight For This Love in 2009 helped The X Factor pull in a record audience of nearly 15million

Cheryl Cole’s much-hyped debut solo performance of Fight For This Love helped The X Factor pull in a record audience of nearly 15million.

The Girls Aloud singer, then 26, had battled extreme nerves ahead of the routine, even bursting into tears at one point in the previous day’s show. 

However, the star, who admitted to miming some parts of the track, cemented her place in the history books with her iconic military outfit and the performance of the chart-topping single.

The performance kickstarted her wildly successful solo career away from the girlband, with Cheryl returning to the show on numerous occasions to perform.

X FACTOR  2008 – BRITNEY SPEARS 

Icon:  Britney performed hit Womanizer on the show in 2008

Icon:  Britney performed hit Womanizer on the show in 2008

Such was the anticipation over icon Britney’s guest appearance on the X Factor that it attracted the series’s highest audience of 12.8million. 

She mimed to her new hit Womanizer on the ITV show, apparently because she wanted to concentrate fully on her dance routine.

A spokesman for the show insisted that there had been ‘some live vocals’.

However, one of the American’s aides told the Mail at the time: ‘Everyone knows Britney’s performances are about the dancing and performing.

‘Just as she would have mimed five years ago, she also mimed on the show on Saturday.’  

Dermot O’Leary was left baffled after he asked her what she made of the five acts, who each performed one of her hits.

After he handed her his microphone – hers appeared to be switched off completely – she said: ‘Yes, awesome, thank-you. Amazing, I met so many different people, the place is beautiful.’ 

X FACTOR 2009 – WHITNEY HOUSTON   

2009: The legendary singer made a UK stage comeback when she performed new single Million Dollar Bill

2009: The legendary singer made a UK stage comeback when she performed new single Million Dollar Bill

The legendary singer made a UK stage comeback when she performed new single Million Dollar Bill. 

The star was returning to the stage after years away from the spotlight battling a drug addiction 

Her performance followed a masterclass session with the 11 acts, where she and music mogul Clive Davis listened to their rehearsals and advised them on their singing.

When asked about her directness with the contestants during her masterclass session, Whitney looked at Simon Cowell as she said: ‘Yeah, is that why you call me Lippy?’

Pulling faces as she grimaced at the judge, she continued: ‘Simon calls me Lippy ’cause I say what’s on my mind just like he does.’

The iconic singer died aged 48 in 2012. 

 X Factor ‘AXED’ after 17 years! Simon Cowell ‘pulls plug’ on ITV talent show because he doesn’t want it to ‘become a bit of a joke’ 

Simon Cowell, 61, is said to have pulled the plug on the ITV talent show – which launched in 2004 and last aired in 2018 – because he doesn’t want it to ‘become a bit of a joke.’ 

While around the world the format is still successful, it seems the music mogul has accepted in the UK ‘it has become slightly stale’ and so has reportedly decided to ‘shelve it’ for five years, but sources are claiming it’s now ‘unlikely’ to ever return.  

A show insider told The Sun: ‘Globally, it is still a phenomenon and rakes in millions every year. But in the UK, there is no question it has become slightly stale.

What!? X Factor has reportedly been axed after 17 years (Simon Cowell, 61, Pictured in 2017)

What!? X Factor has reportedly been axed after 17 years (Simon Cowell, 61, Pictured in 2017)

‘Simon remains at the top of his game and knows how to make a hit. He owns the rights to the show, and it’s his call — not ITV’s — whether or not he drops it.   

‘Clearly the last thing he wants is for X Factor to fizzle out with a whimper and become a bit of a joke — especially in contrast to the show in its pomp.’ 

The source explained there is the option for Simon to return the talent show in 2023, which would see auditions take place next summer.

Why? Simon is said to have pulled the plug on the ITV talent show because he doesn't want it to 'become a bit of a joke' (Pictured in 2005 with judges Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh)

Why? Simon is said to have pulled the plug on the ITV talent show because he doesn’t want it to ‘become a bit of a joke’ (Pictured in 2005 with judges Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh)

Businessman: While around the world the format is still successful, it seems that the music mogul has accepted that in the UK 'it has become slightly stale' (Pictured in 2019)

Businessman: While around the world the format is still successful, it seems that the music mogul has accepted that in the UK ‘it has become slightly stale’ (Pictured in 2019)

MailOnline has contacted Fremantle for comment. An ITV spokseperson told MailOnline: ‘There are no current plans for the next series of The X Factor at this stage.’ 

In the wake of the news, former X Factor stars Jedward and Katie Waissel reacted to with glee. 

The Irish twins, who shot to fame on the show in 2008, penned: ‘Xfactor has been axed Mission Complete’, while Katie, who appeared in 2010, shared the MailOnline’s news alert and wrote: ‘Journey for justice’.  

Happy: Jedward delighted in the news and branded the announcement 'Mission Complete'

Happy: Jedward delighted in the news and branded the announcement ‘Mission Complete’

Happy: Katie, who appeared in 2010, shared the MailOnline's news alert and wrote: 'Journey for justice'

Happy: Katie, who appeared in 2010, shared the MailOnline’s news alert and wrote: ‘Journey for justice’

 In March, Dermot O’Leary, 47, told new! magazine of the X Factor: ‘I can’t see it coming back this year. If it does come back, it’ll be 2022 – maybe 2023.’ 

The presenter admitted he is missing filming the show, which launched in 2004, adding: ‘You do miss it, definitely. You work with people for the best part of 10 years and you become a really tight team.  

Iconic: Simon launched X Factor in in 2004 and last aired in 2018

Iconic: Simon launched X Factor in in 2004 and last aired in 2018

‘And you do miss the buzz of a Saturday night show. There’s something great about it.’ 

The father-of-one has hosted the show since 2007, taking over from former host Kate Thornton, who was at the helm from 2004–2006.    

Dermot has hosted every series since, aside from in 2015 where he was replaced with former contestant Olly Murs and the late Love Island presenter Caroline Flack. 

Its last traditional series of X Factor aired back in 2018, with judges Simon, Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field on the judging panel. 

Dalton Harris, mentored by former One Direction star Louis, won the series, with Scarlett finishing in second place and Anthony Russell taking third.     

Simon then brought one-off series The X Factor: Celebrity to screens in 2019, which saw famous faces showcase their vocal talents.

Megan McKenna was crowned the winner of the show and landed a record contract with Simon’s major music label, Syco. 

The X Factor was then halted in 2020 when coronavirus hit, rendering it impossible to produce the show, which involves mass gatherings for open public auditions. 

Original series: Its last traditional series to air on ITV was back in 2018, where Louis Tomlinson (R) won the series with his act Dalton Harris

Original series: Its last traditional series to air on ITV was back in 2018, where Louis Tomlinson (R) won the series with his act Dalton Harris

Winner: Simon brought one-off series The X Factor: Celebrity to screens in 2019, which was won by Megan McKenna who then landed a record contract with Simon's music label Syco

Winner: Simon brought one-off series The X Factor: Celebrity to screens in 2019, which was won by Megan McKenna who then landed a record contract with Simon’s music label Syco 

 Part of X Factor’s appeal has always been the array of famous faces recruited by Simon to sit with him on the judging panel.  

Louis Walsh sat along Simon for a whopping 13 years, from 2004 to 2018 before stepping away from X Factor. 

Sharon Osbourne took her place as a judge from 2004 to 2007. She rejoined in 2013, though, and once again in 2016.  

Dannii Minogue first appeared on the judging panel in 2007 and remained there for four series, before leaving in 2011. 

Cheryl was an X Factor judge from 2008 to 2011. She then returned for the 2014 and 2015 series.

Farewell for now: In March, Dermot O'Leary, (right), hinted The X Factor may not return until 2023, saying: 'If it does come back, it'll be 2022 - maybe 2023'

Farewell for now: In March, Dermot O’Leary, (right), hinted The X Factor may not return until 2023, saying: ‘If it does come back, it’ll be 2022 – maybe 2023’

Star line-ip: Part of X Factor's appeal has always been the array of famous faces recruited to sit on the judging panel (pictured Simon, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh in 2006)

Star line-ip: Part of X Factor’s appeal has always been the array of famous faces recruited to sit on the judging panel (pictured Simon, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh in 2006)

Where it all started: Dermot has hosted the show since 2007, taking over from former host Kate Thornton (pictured), who was at the helm from 2004–2006

Where it all started: Dermot has hosted the show since 2007, taking over from former host Kate Thornton (pictured), who was at the helm from 2004–2006

 Tulisa Contostavlos was the youngest X factor judge during her time on the show in 2011 and 2012. 

Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland joined the panel at the same time as Tulisa, in 2011, but only lasted one series. 

From 2011-2013, Take That’s Gary Barlow actually stepped into Simon Cowell’s shoes and replaced him on the judging panel.

Nicole Scherzinger coined the infamous phrase ‘Shermazing’ during her stints on the judging panel from 2012 to 2014, before returning in 2016 and 2017.  

Spice Girl Mel B filled the gap left by Nicole for the 2015 series of X Factor, but Simon decided she was better suited to US audiences and she has since been a judge on America’s Got Talent for five series. 

Part of the furniture: Louis Walsh sat alongside Simon for a whopping 13 years, from 2004 to 2018 before stepping away (pictured with Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue in 2010)

Part of the furniture: Louis Walsh sat alongside Simon for a whopping 13 years, from 2004 to 2018 before stepping away (pictured with Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue in 2010)

On the panel: Cheryl has had two stints on the show, being an X Factor judge from 2008 to 2011. She then returned for the 2014 and 2015 series (pictured with Simon in 2010)

On the panel: Cheryl has had two stints on the show, being an X Factor judge from 2008 to 2011. She then returned for the 2014 and 2015 series (pictured with Simon in 2010)

New faces: N-Dubz's Tulisa Contostavlos joined the panel for 2011 and 2012 with Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland also appearing in 2011 (pictured with Louis and Gary Barlow in 2011)

New faces: N-Dubz’s Tulisa Contostavlos joined the panel for 2011 and 2012 with Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland also appearing in 2011 (pictured with Louis and Gary Barlow in 2011)

 The same year, popstar Rita Ora and BBC Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw sat on the judging panel, but both only lasted a single year.  

In 2018 Louis Tomlinson joined the panel along with Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field.

X Factor 2010-2018: Series ratings overview

2010: 14.3million viewers

2011: 12.41million viewers

2012: 10million viewers

2013: 9.45million viewers

2014: 8.65million viewers

2015: 7.85million viewers

2016: 7.71million viewers

2017: 6.52million viewers

2018: 6.19million viewers

While it’s produced huge stars like 1D, Little Mix, Olly Murs and James Arthur, The X Factor has arguably taking a hit in ratings over the last few years. 

X Factor was hit by its lowest ever ratings when the Celebrity series aired its first live show earlier this year.

The ITV series recorded just 2.96 million viewers at one point, and by the last 15 minutes of the Celebrity special, just 2.99 million viewers were left.

Even with a 3.73 million peak, the ratings paled in comparison to the average viewing figures of 14.13 million that the show pulled in at its prime in 2010. 

It marked the lowest ratings since the franchise began in 2004, but sources claim The X Factor still remains the highest watched show for 16 to 34 year olds.

The apparent decision to axe the show comes hot on the heels of former contestants hitting out against the British music industry for ‘exploiting’ and treating them like ‘cattle’ since their overnight rise to fame. 

2010 X Factor star Rebecca Ferguson, 35, has called for an urgent parliamentary inquiry to help protect young and emerging artists and an independent tribunal to hold those responsible for poor treatment within the industry to account. 

Her fellow contestant Cher Lloyd, 27, and double act Jedward, both 29, who appeared on the show the previous year, have also hit out at the industry and claimed they were also poorly treated.

Katie, earlier this year, claimed she was sexually assaulted by somebody on the X Factor team, years after appearing on the show.

The singer, 35, alleged the incident happened in the US when she met the person to talk about recording work.  

The singer said if she could change the past, she would never have appeared on the singing contest in 2010. 

Big shoes to fill: From 2011-2013, Take That's Gary Barlow stepped into Simon Cowell's shoes and Nicole Scherzinger also joined the show in 2012 (pictured with Sharon and Louis in 2013)

Big shoes to fill: From 2011-2013, Take That’s Gary Barlow stepped into Simon Cowell’s shoes and Nicole Scherzinger also joined the show in 2012 (pictured with Sharon and Louis in 2013) 

Pros: Spice Girl Mel B filled the gap left by Nicole for the 2015 series of X Factor, but was later moved to the US version of the show (pictured with Louis, Cheryl and Simon in a promo snap)

Pros: Spice Girl Mel B filled the gap left by Nicole for the 2015 series of X Factor, but was later moved to the US version of the show (pictured with Louis, Cheryl and Simon in a promo snap)

A spokesperson for Syco Entertainment said at the time: ‘We were made aware via the media of Katie’s claims in Autumn 2017 and we immediately contacted her and began an investigation. 

‘We were naturally shocked at the allegations and wanted to do anything we could to help – so we asked her to lodge a complaint with us and detail the allegations for that purpose. In the interim we suspended the accused. 

‘Despite a number of requests to Katie asking her to detail the claims to us, she chose not to make a complaint over his behaviour. As a result, and without other evidence to the contrary, we were obliged to accept his denial of the claims. 

Experts: The last traditional series of X Factor aired back in 2018, with judges Simon, Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field on the judging panel (pictured in 2018)

Experts: The last traditional series of X Factor aired back in 2018, with judges Simon, Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field on the judging panel (pictured in 2018)

Backlash: The apparent decision to axe the show comes hot on the heels of former contestants hitting out against the British music industry for 'exploiting' them (pictured Katie Waissel)

Backlash: The apparent decision to axe the show comes hot on the heels of former contestants hitting out against the British music industry for ‘exploiting’ them (pictured Katie Waissel)

  ‘We, of course, remain ready and keen to investigate her claims if she so chooses to detail them to us and even though the alleged perpetrator no longer works for either Syco or Sony Music.’   

While some X Factor stars went on to earn millions in the spotlight, many of the show’s winners have failed or been dumped from their record labels as their careers floundered. 

The show’s biggest success was One Direction- made up of Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik- before the band went on an indefinite hiatus at the peak of their success in 2016. 

Huge success: JLS came second in 2008, but went on to make the most money, selling more than 10million records

Huge success: JLS came second in 2008, but went on to make the most money, selling more than 10million records

Biggest winners: One Direction came third on the X-Factor in 2010 but are by far the most successful act to emerge from the show

Biggest winners: One Direction came third on the X-Factor in 2010 but are by far the most successful act to emerge from the show

Louisa Johnson, now 23, became The X Factor’s youngest ever winner when she was crowned champion of the 2015 series of the TV talent show. 

Jesy Nelson has recently quit girl band Little Mix – who won the show in 2011 – to help her mental health after the pressure of being in the group started to take its ‘toll’ on her. 

James Arthur shot to fame after competing on the 2012 edition of The X Factor, which he went on to win. 

Olly Murs was runner-up in 2009’s X Factor and has had an incredibly successful career in music since finding fame on the show.  

Surprise success: Despite being a novelty act, Jedward have made millions since not winning the show

Surprise success: Despite being a novelty act, Jedward have made millions since not winning the show

History makers: Little Mix were crowned the winners of The X Factor in 2011 when they become the first band to ever win the show in its history

History makers: Little Mix were crowned the winners of The X Factor in 2011 when they become the first band to ever win the show in its history

Shayne Ward won the X-Factor 15 years ago, its second series. After a triumphant music career, he joined ITV soap Coronation Street where he played Aidan Connor until 2018.

Jedward – aka twins John and Edward Grimes – starred on X Factor in 2009, finishing third. Despite being a novelty act, they have gone on to release three albums. 

Alexandra Burke’s big breakthrough came on X Factor in 2008, after she beat JLS in the final and her debut single, Hallelujah, sold 105,000 copies in a day.    

 

 

 

THE X FACTOR: WHERE ARE THE CONTESTANTS NOW?

One Direction: Post-X Factor, the group became one of the best-selling boy bands of all time

One Direction: Post-X Factor, the group became one of the best-selling boy bands of all time

ONE DIRECTION

Ages: 27-29

Year they appeared: 2010

Where did they finish?: Third place

What are they up to now?: 1D went on to worldwide fame and became one of the best-selling boy bands of all time, selling 70 million records worldwide. Zayn Malik left the group in 2015 and the rest of the band parted ways in 2016. All members are now soloists.

Little Mix: They were the first group to ever win the show, tutored by Tulisa, and have since sky-rocketed to fame

Little Mix: They were the first group to ever win the show, tutored by Tulisa, and have since sky-rocketed to fame

 LITTLE MIX

Ages: 28-30

Year they appeared: 2011  

Where did they finish?: Winners 

What are they up to now?: After becoming the first-ever group to win the show, Little Mix sold over 60 million records worldwide, making them one of the biggest selling girl groups of all time. Six albums later, Jesy Nelson left in 2020, with the other three still continuing in the band.

Shayne Ward: The 2005 winner of the X Factor went on to star in Coronation Street

Shayne Ward: The 2005 winner of the X Factor went on to star in Coronation Street 

SHAYNE WARD

Age: 36

Year they appeared: 2005

Where did they finish?: Winner

What are they up to now?: After releasing a hit album and several singers after his The X Factor win, Shayne went on to pursue an acting career and starred as Aidan Connor in Coronation Street from 2015 to 2018. 

Rhydian Roberts: The 2007 X Factor runner-up, losing out to Steve Brookstein

Rhydian Roberts: The 2007 X Factor runner-up, losing out to Steve Brookstein 

 RHYDIAN ROBERTS

Age: 38

Year they appeared: 2007

Where did they finish?: Second place

What are they up to now?: Rhydian has released several albums since The X Factor and has gone on many tours. He has also does a lot of pantomime work.   

Diana Vickers: Diana reached the semi-finals of the singing competition in 2008

Diana Vickers: Diana reached the semi-finals of the singing competition in 2008 

DIANA VICKERS

Age: 29 

Year they appeared: 2008

Where did they finish?: Semi-finalist

What are they up to now?: Diana had a number-one debut single, Once, in 2010. She has also released two albums. The singer has gone on to pursue an acting career – starring in TV show, Give Out Girls, and movie, The Perfect Wave.   

Jedward: The twins with iconic hairstyles forged successful careers in the limelight

Jedward: The twins with iconic hairstyles forged successful careers in the limelight

JEDWARD

Ages: 29 

Year they appeared: 2009

Where did they finish?: Sixth place 

What are they up to now?: The duo have released three albums, including the hit single Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby). They also represented Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011 and 2012. They have gone on to have TV careers, presenting their own children’s television series and appearing on Celebrity Big Brother. 

James Arthur: 2012 X Factor winner James Arthur still regularly appears in the charts

James Arthur: 2012 X Factor winner James Arthur still regularly appears in the charts 

JAMES ARTHUR

Ages: 33

Year they appeared: 2012

Where did they finish?: Winner  

What are they up to now?: He released a number-one single, Impossible, after his win. He has gone on to release a self-titled album as well as several singles. In 2018, he returned to The X Factor to due with Anne-Marie.

Honey G: Honey G came fifth in 2016 with her parody act

Honey G: Honey G came fifth in 2016 with her parody act

HONEY G

Age: 40

Year they appeared: 2016

Where did they finish?: Fifth place

What are they up to now?: In December, Honey G revealed that she had been fired from her estate agent job after just 40 days, because her bosses deemed her ‘too famous.’

 

Christopher Maloney: The scouse crooner came third in the 2012 series

Christopher Maloney: The scouse crooner came third in the 2012 series

CHRISTOPHER MALONEY 

Age: 43

Year they appeared: 2012

Where did they finish?: Third place

What are they up to now?: In 2014 Christopher opened a performing arts school in Liverpool, and went on to appear in Celebrity Big Brother in 2016

Wagner: Brazilian-born English singer Wagner came sixth in the 2012 series

Wagner: Brazilian-born English singer Wagner came sixth in the 2012 series

WAGNER

Age: 64

Year they appeared: 2012

Where did they finish?: Sixth place

What are they up to now?: In 2012, Wagner revealed he was having a baby with his then 20-year-old girlfriend.

  

Katie Waissel: The singer took eight place in the 2010 series of The X Factor

Katie Waissel: The singer took eight place in the 2010 series of The X Factor 

KATIE WAISSEL

Age: 35

Year they appeared: 2010

Where did they finish?: Eighth place

What are they up to now?: In July 2018, Katie gave birth to her son Hudson. She describes herself as a writer and brand strategist, and has since trained to be a fitness instructor. 

Sam Bailey: The mother-of-three regularly performs in pantomimes

Sam Bailey: The mother-of-three regularly performs in pantomimes

SAM BAILEY

Age: 43

Year they appeared: 2013

Where did they finish?: Winner

What are they up to now?: The mother-of-three supported Beyoncé on one of her UK tour dates in 2014. Sam regularly performs in pantomimes

Alexandra Burke: The singer won the show in 2008

Alexandra Burke: The singer won the show in 2008 

ALEXANDRA BURKE 

Age: 32

Year they appeared: 2008

Where did they finish?: Winner

What are they up to now?: Alexandra won the show – famously duetting with Beyoncé in the finale. She has since released three studio albums, has competed on Strictly Come Dancing and is starring in the West End in Joseph.

JLS: The boy band made the finale but lost out to Alexandra Burke

JLS: The boy band made the finale but lost out to Alexandra Burke

 JLS

Ages: 33-36

Year they appeared: 2008  

Where did they finish?: Runners-up

What are they up to now?: The band came in second place yet hit the charts less than a year later with debut single Beat Again. They released four albums and and a Greatest Hits in 2013. They split that year but announced a comeback in 2020.

Mart Byrne: Mary made the semi-final

Mart Byrne: Mary made the semi-final 

MARY BYRNE 

Age: 36

Year they appeared: 2010

Where did they finish?: Fifth place

What are they up to now?: Mary went on to record four albums, the most recent released in 2017. In November 2011, she released an autobiography. She still performs and lost five stone last year.

Stacey Solomon: Stacey is now a TV host

Stacey Solomon: Stacey is now a TV host 

 STACEY SOLOMON

Age: 31

Year they appeared: 2009  

Where did they finish?: Third place 

What are they up to now?: Stacey has appeared on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and went on to join the panel at Loose Women. She has since become engaged to fellow TV presenter Joe Swash. In 2021, the BBC commissioned her own home-decluttering series. 

Leona Lewis: The London-born singer won the 2006 series of The X Factor

Leona Lewis: The London-born singer won the 2006 series of The X Factor 

LEONA LEWIS

Age: 36

Year they appeared: 2006

Where did they finish?: Winner

What are they up to now?: After several best-selling singles and singing the theme for blockbuster movie Avatar in 2009, Leona filmed her first TV role for drama The Oath earlier this year. 

Chico: Welsh singer Chico won over critics with his vibrant performances

Chico: Welsh singer Chico won over critics with his vibrant performances

 CHICO

Age: 50

Year they appeared: 2005  

Where did they finish?: Quarter-finals 

What are they up to now?: Chico had a hit single, It’s Chico Time, in 2006. In September 2019, the singer was rushed to hospital after suffering a life-threatening stroke. 

He is now a fitness guru and devoted dad of two.  

 

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