Whatever happened to the X Factor Winners?

Posted 30/08/2013 by BrightHouse Team

If your weekends have been feeling a little bit low on glamour, drama and power-ballads recently, you’ll probably be as excited as we are to learn that this Saturday sees the launch show of the much anticipated  season of the X Factor.

Tulisa is out and queen of mean Sharon Osbourne is back in, working alongside her beloved Louis Walsh, plus Nicole Scherzinger and  Gary Barlow to hopefully discover a bright new star for the future – once we've got through the ever-hilarious auditions stages, anyway.

We all know Leona Lewis went on to international stardom after winning the show, but whatever happened to all of the other X Factor champions? We thought we’d take a look back at the chart fortunes of the nine artists who have lifted the winner’s trophy so far. Who went on to greater things, and who sank without trace?

X Factor Steve Brookstein

LOSER: Steve Brookstein (2004)

Steve Brookstein’s post X Factor career got off to a shaky start when Sharon Osbourne memorably accused him of being ‘a phony’ during the finals. He won anyway, and his debut single – a cover of ‘Against All Odds’ by Phil Collins – topped the charts, as did his debut album. However, no further hits were forthcoming and he was quickly dropped by his record label. His second album 40,000 Things was released independently and reached the heady heights of  #165 in the UK album charts. These days he’s playing low-key gigs and reportedly working on this third album. The world holds its breath…

X Factor Shayne Ward

WINNER: Shayne Ward (2005)

Second winner Shane Ward’s career got off to a better start than his predecessor – his winner’s single ‘That’s My Goal’ sold over 1.3 million copies, making it one of the biggest selling UK singles of all time. Two multi-platinum albums and a string of successful singles followed, the biggest of which being ‘No Promises’ and ‘If That’s OK With U’ which both reached #2 in the charts.

In recent years the hits have dried up a bit, with his third album Obsession failing to crack the top ten. However, he recently toured the UK in the musical Rock Of Ages and earlier this year he appeared as a contestant on ITV’s Dancing With The Stars.


X Factor Leona Lewis

WINNER: Leona Lewis (2006)

The ultimate X Factor success story, Leona Lewis wowed the nation with her spectacular vocal ability in 2006. Unlike previous winners, Lewis was given time to work with top American producers for her debut album, and her single ‘Bleeding Love’ went to #1 not just in the UK but all over the world, including three weeks at #1 in America.

In 2008 she scored another huge #1 with her cover of Snow Patrol’s ‘Run’. Since then she’s released three albums and toured all over the globe. She’s currently working on her first ever Christmas album, due for release later this year.




X Factor Leon Jackson

LOSER: Leon Jackson (2007)

Leona was always going to be a tough act to follow, and poor Leon Jackson never really stood a chance. The nervous Scottish crooner was a surprise winner against Welsh Opera singer Rhydian Roberts. His debut single – a cover of ‘When You Believe’, originally a hit for Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey – did go to #1, but subsequent releases sank without trace. After his third single ‘Creative’ only got to #94 in the charts, he was dropped by his label. He’s since described winning the show as ‘a curse’ and no longer performs his winner’s single at gigs.





X Factor Alexandra Burke

WINNER: Alexandra Burke (2008)

Alexandra Burke’s stunning duet with Beyonce in the 2008 X Factor Finals helped her to a narrow victory over boyband JLS. Like Leona, after releasing her winner’s single ‘Hallelujah’ (which sold over 1.2 million copies in the UK), she was shipped off to America to work with some industry heavyweights.

Her single ‘Bad Boys’ went straight to #1, and more hits followed – including 'All Night Long', 'Broken Heels' and another chart topper with ‘Start Without You’ in 2010. Her debut album Overcome sold over half a million copies in the UK. Her second album didn’t quite hit the same heights, but she’s currently working on new material in the USA, and was recently invited to perform in New York with soul legend Chaka Khan.

X Factor Joe McElderry

WINNER: Joe McElderry (2009)

A shy teenager with an impressive voice, Joe McElderry won the hearts of the viewing public in 2009, beating Olly Murs and Stacey Solomon to the 2009 winner’s crown. However, his first single – a cover of ‘The Climb’ by Miley Cyrus – became the subject of a campaign to stop X Factor winners from hogging the Christmas #1 spot. ‘Killing In The Name’ by Rage Against The Machine became the alternative choice, and kept him off the festive top spot – although he did climb to number one the following week.

His next single ‘Ambitions’ only reached #6, and he was another male winner to find himself without a record label. However, he made a comeback when he won the second series of Popstar to Operastar, and his second album Classics went Platinum in 2011. He’s since released two more top ten albums, and is working on his fifth collection at the moment.

X Factor Matt Cardle

WINNER: Matt Cardle (2010)

Former plumber Matt Cardle was a popular winner in 2010 thanks to his haunting vocals and close friendship with mentor Dannii Minogue. His cover of ‘When We Collide’, a.k.a. ‘Many of Horror’ by Biffy Clyro, spent three weeks at #1 and reclaimed the X Factor’s iron grip on the Christmas number one spot. Unfortunately his next single ‘Run For Your Life’ was a complete dud, but after a few years in the wilderness he’s recently scored a comeback in the unlikely form of a successful duet with Spice Girl Melanie C.





X Factor Little Mix

WINNERS: Little Mix (2011)

The first ever group to win the X Factor, girl group Little Mix went to number one with their version of ‘Cannonball]’ in 2011, and then again with their own song ‘Wings’ in 2012. They’re also the first X Factor winners since Leona to crack America, where their debut album DNA reached #4 in the US album charts.




X Factor James Arthur

Winner? James Arthur (2012)

The jury is still out on last year’s winner James Arthur, who hasn’t yet released a follow up to his cover of ‘Impossible’ by Shontelle, which topped the charts for 3 weeks after his victory. However, while he’s been working hard on his debut album, ‘Impossible’ has taken  on a life of its own, hitting the charts all over the world, including platinum sales in Germany. Could it be that the tattooed singer from Middlesbrough is the new David Hasselhoff?

Will you be watching? 

Are you looking forward to the new X Factor series? What do you think about the return of Sharon O? And who’s your favourite previous winner? Let us know all your thoughts in the comments section…


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