The X Factor UK Winners: Where are they now?

The X Factor; one of the UK’s most talked about shows, has been on our TV screens for the past 13 years.

Aimed at finding the next pop sensation, the show has definitely done well, with a huge amount of contestants going on to achieve their dreams.

We’ve seen One Direction, Olly Murs and Ella Henderson and so many more reach stardom from the show, but what about the winners?

Whilst they receive an eye-watering £1million contract with Syco, they aren’t guaranteed a successful career. So let’s take a look at all of The X Factor’s previous winners, to see what they’ve accomplished since.

Steve Brookstein (2004)

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Steve was the very first X Factor winner and is a prime example that not everybody gets the career they maybe hoped for. Despite his winner’s song and his debut album, Heart and Soul, going to number 1 on the charts, Brookstein was dropped by his label just eight months through his contract.

Since then, Steve has repeatedly attacked both The X Factor and Simon Cowell over his treatment on the show. He’s also released two albums, however, both failed to chart.

Shayne Ward (2005)

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Shayne Ward won the second series of X Factor. His debut single, That’s My Goal, became one of the UK’s fastest sellings singles of all time.

The success didn’t stop there, his albums Shayne Ward and Breathless charted at no.1 and no.2 respectively. In 2011, following poor sales of his third album, Shayne was dropped from Syco.

Since leaving, he has released an independent album titled Closer. In 2015, he joined the cast of Coronation Street as Aidan Connor.

Leona Lewis (2006)

Watch Leona Lewis Perform 'Memory' From Cats 1

Leona won the show back in 2006 and has received overwhelming success.

Her first original single, Bleeding Love, was number one for seven weeks and also topped the charts in countries such as; Australia, France and the USA.

Since then, she’s released five successful albums, thirteen top 40 singles and is now worth around an estimated £18million.

In 2014, Lewis had parted ways with Syco and soon moved to Island Records where she recorded and released her fifth album, I Am.

In 2016, Leona and Island Records had also parted ways due to ‘something that didn’t click’.

Leon Jackson (2007)

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Scottish lad, Leon Jackson, won the fourth series, with his victory being described as ‘the biggest shock in the history of reality TV betting’.

His first single release became Christmas number 1, whereas his album reached No 4. Due to ‘poor’ album sales, Jackson was dropped from his label.

After this, he was announced as the ‘Second biggest reality TV flop’ in a popular poll and vowed to never perform his debut single, branding his success a curse.

However, he’s stuck to writing and producing new songs and had an acoustic tour this year.

Alexandra Burke (2008)

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After beating JLS to become the winner of X Factor’s fifth series, Burke’s winner single, a cover of Hallelujah became Christmas number 1.

Her debut album also reached number 1 and featured four UK number one singles.

Later in 2012, Burke released ‘Elephant’ as her comeback single, and released her second album, Heartbreak on Hold, which failed to reach the top 10. She soon parted ways with Syco and has released 3 EP’s.

Currently, Burke is now a lead role of Deloris Van Cartier in an all new UK tour production of Sister Act The Musical.

Joe McElderry (2009)

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX Shutterstock (4970044b) Joe McElderry Celebrities at ITV studios, London, Britain - 18 Aug 2015

Joe won the Sixth series of X Factor in 2009. His first single ‘The Climb’ topped British charts.

Since then, Joe has released three successful albums, but in 2011, he was dropped from Syco. He then went on to winning the second series of Popstar To Operastar.

Following this, McElderry released his fourth album Here’s What I Believe. He’s also had numerous theatre and TV roles and appearances.

Matt Cardle (2010)

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Matt won The X Factor in 2010 with 44.61% of the vote. His winner’s single, When We Collide, earned him a Christmas No.1 and sold 1 million copies. His debut album reached No.2 and spent 16 consecutive weeks in the top 40.

In 2012, Cardle announced he had parted ways with his label, saying “I asked Sony to let me go and they said okay.” His second album, Fire, debuted at number 8 on the official charts, and his third reached the top 20.

Matt is said to be releasing another album soon.

Little Mix (2011)

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Little Mix are officially the most successful winning act from X Factor. The girl group have gone on to release three hit albums whilst also breaking records and achieving international fame.

They’ve just released a brand new single, titled ‘Shout Out To My Ex’, appearing on charts across the globe. Their fourth album, Glory Days, is to be released November 18th.

James Arthur (2012)

credit: OfficialCharts.com

James won the show in 2012. His debut single, Impossible, topped the UK charts and has sold a huge 1.3 million copies and 2.5 million worldwide.

His follow-up single, ‘You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You’, reached No.2, along with his debut album.

Following a series of controversy, Syco dropped James from their label in 2014. A year later James signed a new deal with Columbia Records to release his second album ‘Back From The Edge’.

His new single, Say You Won’t Let Go, has topped UK charts and has led to him resigning with Syco.

Sam Bailey (2013)

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Sam won the tenth series of X Factor. Following her win, her winner’s single, a cover of Demi Lovato’s Skyscraper, reached No.1.

Bailey released her debut album, The Power of Love, which also topped the charts. In 2015, Sam announced she had parted ways with Syco.

Since then, she’s toured holiday sites across the UK, appeared in musicals and released her self-funded second album, Sing My Heart Out, which entered at No.21.

Ben Haenow (2014)

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Ben won The X Factor in 2014, beating Fleur East. Following his win, his debut single, a cover of OneRepublic’s ‘Something I Need‘ debuted at number one on the UK singles charts.

His self-titled debut album reached the top 10, whilst his first post-X Factor single, Second Hand Heart, featuring Kelly Clarkson peaked at No.21. On 28 January 2016, Haenow confirmed that he and Syco had parted ways by way of mutual agreement.

Louisa Johnson (2015)

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Louisa won the twelfth series in 2015. Her winner’s single, Forever Young, entered at number nine on the charts and became the lowest ever position for a debut single from an X Factor winner.

In May 2016, she released a song with Clean Bandit called ‘Tears’. Johnson will release her solo debut single, “So Good”, on 28 October 2016 and her album is expected to come later this year.


With 13 winners altogether, who’s your favourite winner and why? Tweet us @CelebMix!

The X Factor UK airs Saturday and Sunday 8:00pm on ITV.

Written by CelebMix