Every year millions tune into the X Factor and we are no exception. We all love the cringewrothy auditions (ok... and the good ones too!) The X Factor is back on our screens, but where are the previous winners now? Did the show really pave the way to success for the winning contenders?

Series 1 (2004): Steve Brookstein

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Steve was the very first winner of the X Factor and went on to release his number 1 album Heart and Soul. He was dropped by his label after just eight months, but continues to make music. In 2014 he released a book entitled Getting Over The X.

 

Series 2 (2005): Shayne Ward

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Shayne was the first artist from the X Factor to bag the coveted Christmas number 1 spot with an original song. He released two successful albums, but was dropped after poor sales from his third album Obsession. He went on to appear in Dancing on Ice, starred in the West End and has just joined the cast of Corrie!

 

Series 3 (2006): Leona Lewis

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Series three winner Leona made it to Christmas number 1 in 2006, selling more copies that week than the rest of the top 40 combined. Since then she’s had a multitude of hits – both singles and albums – and conqurered America. She’s set to release her fifth studio album in September.

 

 Series 4 (2007): Leon Jackson

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Leon’s arrangement of When You Believe reached Christmas number 1 after he won the X Factor in 2007. But his debut album only reached number 4 in the charts. He was dropped from his label and developed a more acoustic sound. It’s thought Leon is still writing and recording music.

 

Series 5 (2008): Alexandra Burke

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Another X Factor winner with number 1 singles and an album that reached poll position too. Alexandra still writes and records music and did a stint in the West End’s production of the Bodyguard.

 

Series 6 (2009): Joe McElderry

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Joe was pipped to the post by Rage Aganist the Machine for the Christmas number 1 slot in 2009. His debut album reached number 3, but his contract wasn’t renewed in 2011. He’s since appeared on reality TV shows Popstar to Operstar and The Jump. He’s currently doing a regional tour of the UK with his music.

 

Series 7 (2010): Matt Cardle

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Matt’s debut album stayed in the charts for 16 weeks and he landed the number 1 spot with a cover of Biffy Clyro’s Many of Horror. His later singles were less succesful and he parted ways with his record company in 2012. He’s since released two more albums and is starring in the musical Memphis in the West End.

 

Series 8 (2011): Little Mix

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For a band put together by the X Factor, and the only group to win the show, Little Mix have been hugely successful. Their debut single – a cover of Damien Rice’s Cannonball – reached number 1 and they’ve released three successful albums. The band have also cracked America and are due to tour the UK in 2016.

 

Series 9 (2012): James Arthur

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James’ first single and album reached number 1 and 2 respectively. He later became embroiled in a controversy about song lyrics and a backlash ensued. He was dropped by his record label in early 2014, yet is still working on music and did a UK tour earlier this year.

 

Series 10 (2013): Sam Bailey

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After her X Factor success, Sam had both a number one hit single and album. She went on to write her autobiography and tour with her music. She parted ways with her record label in February 2015.

 

Series 11 (2014): Ben Haenow

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Ben’s first single Something I Need was Christmas number 1 last year and the winner then embarked on the X Factor tour. We’re still waiting for the release of his first album!

 

Which of these X Factor winners is your favourite?