Kelly Rowland arguably had the toughest choice on last weekend’s X Factor, having to narrow 8 talented 16-24 year-old girls to a final 4. With Jade the shock loser, she took Janet Devlin, Misha Bryan, Amelia Lily and underdog Sophie Habibis through. As everyone gets geared up for the first live show this weekend, will any of them manage to better these ultimate 10 X Factor females? (N.B. Girls who were entered into the Over 25s category aren’t counted here – separate list to follow…)
10. Chenai Zinyuku (Season 2)
Here is the girl who beat Alexandra Burke to a spot in the live shows back in 2005′s second season. The rendition below of ‘Closest Thing To Crazy’ may not be among the greats, but her performance of Elvis Presley’s ‘Always On My Mind’ was spine-tingling. She was the only girl chosen by Louis Walsh for the 16-24s category.
9. Cassie Compton (Season 1)
Cassie’s gone on to have a successful musical theatre career since coming 5th in the very first season in 2004, including a role as Nessarose in ‘Wicked’. Mentored by Sharon Osbourne, she won hearts with performances of ‘All By Myself’, ‘Hero’ and ‘Alfie’; and though the big notes sounded a bit better at the time, she was a young developing singer with a big heart. Look how innocent the show looks in this clip!! AND WATCH SHARON OSBOURNE GO IN THE JUDGES’ COMMENTS!
8. Cher Lloyd (Season 7)
Earmarked as a potential winner after her initial ‘Turn My Swag On’ audition (“You are riiiight up my street,” cooed Cheryl Cole), Cher’s popularity nose-dived come the live shows, particularly once original hate figure Katie Waissel was shown the door. But she’s a performer, and she certainly stood out – something that can’t be said for a lot of acts. No-one ever touched Matt Cardle in the public voting figures from Week 2 onwards, but Cher came 2nd in Week 4 with this performance:
7. Lucie Jones (Season 6)
Simon Cowell was not a very popular man when he took Lucie Jones and Jedward’s sing-off to deadlock, resulting in the Welsh lass being sent packing prematurely. Lucie had an impressive set of pipes that rookie Cheryl Cole didn’t quite make the most of in the live shows (a Leona song? REALLY?), and now she’s putting them to good use by earning oodles of acclaim in the musical theatre world.
6. Laura White (Season 5)
There was a media storm when Laura White was sent packing in Week 5, when many expected to see her in the final. Her impressive range and delicious tone made her an early favourite, but the judges weren’t the ones to blame for the public not bothering to vote. Since leaving the show Laura has released an infectious Top 40 single and promised an album is “coming soon”.
5. Stacey Solomon (Season 6)
Essex mum Stacey won the hearts of pretty much every single viewer when she took part in the show’s 2009 run. Losing to Joe McElderry and Olly Murs in the final, she has since gone on to win ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here’ and has finally (FINALLY!) signed a record deal. Her album is expected at some point in 2012.
4. Diana Vickers (Season 5)
Before Katie Waissel and Janet Devlin there was the original X Factor ‘Quirky Girl’, Diana Vickers. Many viewers weren’t fans, and her absence in Mariah Carey week due to illness made unfair “IT’S A FIX!” claims far too easy, but D-Vix had the last laugh when she landed an award-winning West End role, and saw her debut single and album hit the No1 spot.
3. Rebecca Ferguson (Season 7)
OK, so Rebecca didn’t exactly mix it up week after week. But seeing her jump around shouting about “the club” would have been a total waste of talent – she was brilliant at what she did and her rendition of ‘Make You Feel My Love’ is one of the best in the show’s history. She signed a record deal after coming 2nd, and will release her first single and album next month. EXCITING.
2. Alexandra Burke (Season 5)
Alex failed in Season 2 to reach the live finals (see No10), but she bought it home three years later by taking the top spot from JLS and, uh, Eoghan Quigg. She may be taking her sweet time with Album No2, but she’s already notched up 3 UK No1 singles and a No1 album. What’s more, ‘Hallelujah’ is the most listenable winner’s single to date.
1. Leona Lewis (Season 3)
Who else?! Leona is the earliest X Factor winner still in posession of a record deal, and her second single Bleeding Love’ is considered one of the best (if not THE best) in the history of the show’s alumni. Leona was also the first – and, still, only – winner to go global, enjoying a fair amount of success in the USA as well as on home turf. Will anyone ever match her success?