X Factor winner Sam Bailey: I voted for myself every week

“Why would you not vote for yourself?” asks the reigning champion – “that vote could change everything"

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Last year’s X Factor winner Sam Bailey has been tweeting several of this year’s contestants telling them to rest their voices and take it easy between shows, and she’s got another tip too – vote for yourself.

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“I voted for myself. Every week on the Saturday night I used to vote for myself,” Bailey tells RadioTimes.com. “Why wouldn’t you? If you want to get through, you’ll vote for yourself.

“I bet all the people on the show now do it, but they just don’t admit it,” she adds. “Why would you not vote for yourself? That vote could change everything.”

Given Bailey won last year’s show with more than one million votes under the mentorship of judge (and now godmother to her daughter Miley) Sharon Osbourne, it might be a piece of advice this year’s contestants should take on board.

Surprisingly, Bailey also spread the voting-love to fellow finalist Nicholas “Nicky” McDonald from Louis Walsh’s category.

“I voted for Nicky as well. I voted for Nicky the week before the semi-final and then I voted for him again. I didn’t vote for anyone in the final – I didn’t have time, I was just concentrating – but I did vote for Nicky a couple of times, yeah.”

The singer, who has just released her autobiography and will tour her Power of Love album next year, says it’s strange to sit at home and watch the show this time around.

“I want to jump down the TV. So much so I think I’m going to go at the weekend just to see everyone. It’ll be really nice to walk down that corridor and also to see some of those contestants and just say ‘good luck’. I did it last year. I never thought for a second I would.”

And while Bailey admits she’s “gutted” Paul Akister went home in last weekend’s dramatic deadlock, it’s Stereo Kicks and Ben Haenow she wants to see in the final. “James Graham [from Stereo Kicks] has an amazing voice. I could listen to him all day [and] I definitely love Ben, I loved his Highway to Hell.”

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The X Factor continues on Saturdays and Sundays at 8:00pm on ITV