X Factor past winners: where are they now?

From Rak-Su to Steve Brookstein, Alexandra Burke and Matt Terry, here's everyone who's won the ITV competition so far

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We’ve still got a long way to go before The X Factor 2018 winner is crowned on 1st December. But as we wait to find out who the 15th winner will be, it’s time to take a look back through the ITV show’s history of former winners.

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When it comes to success, the Boys’ category has proved most successful with five previous winners, while head judge Simon Cowell also has five wins to his name.

But whoever the winning act will be this year, they’ll join a long list of champs, from last year’s victors Rak-Su to series one’s Steve Brookstein…

Here’s your guide to ALL the former winners on The X Factor – and what they did next…

2017 winner: Rak-Su

The Watford-based boyband mentored by judge Simon Cowell beat Grace Davies in last year’s final. After winning, the four boys – Ashley Fongho, Jamaal Shurland, Mustafa Rahimtulla and Myles Stephenson – released original song Dimelo, which hit number two in the UK charts.

In February 2018, Rak-Su also released a self-titled EP, which featured original tracks Mamacita, Mona Lisa and I’m Feeling You. In July they supported Little Mix, the only other group ever to win The X Factor, on their Summer Hits Tour 2018.

2016 winner: Matt Terry

After beating Saara Aalto and 5 After Midnight in the final, Terry released debut single When Christmas Comes Around, which peaked at number three in the charts. He also featured in Enrique Iglesias song Súbeme la Radio, which was a top 10 hit.

However, Terry didn’t see as much success with his debut album Trouble, which only achieved a chart position of 29. The Thing About Love, a single from the album, only peaked at number 51.

2015: Louisa Johnson

At the age of 17, Johnson became the youngest ever winner on the show, beating duo Reggie N Bollie in the final. Since then she’s featured in Clean Bandit single Tears and worked with Olly Murs.

2014: Ben Haenow

After coming top in the competition, Haenow scored a Christmas number one with a cover of One Republic’s Something I Need. His second single saw him duet with American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson.

2013: Sam Bailey

Sam Callahan, Luke Friend and Tamera Foster: Bailey beat them all to be crowned champion.

After picking up a Christmas number one with a cover of Demi Lovato’s Skyscraper, Bailey’s debut album The Power Of Love also topped the charts. She has since moved into musical theatre and acting, and starred in the likes of the Fat Friends musical.

2012: James Arthur

Arthur was declared the winner of the show’s ninth series, with Jahmene Douglas finishing as runner-up. He achieved a number one hit with Impossible (originally sung by Shontelle).

After a series of controversies, he parted ways with Simon Cowell’s Syco records, before eventually being re-signed in 2016.

2011: Little Mix

The first group to win the show, Little Mix – consisting of Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jesy Nelson – became one of X Factor’s most successful champions.

They have released four studio albums (all of which charted in the top 4) and four number one singles.

2010: Matt Cardle

Cardle may have come out top in the final, but it’s runners-up One Direction that became that year’s most successful act – and X Factor’s biggest export. While the boyband produced five albums and a future X Factor judge in Louis Tomlinson, Cardle soon parted ways with Syco. He has since moved into musical theatre and starred in Strictly Ballroom.

2009: Joe McElderry

You probably remember McElderry most from his bid to become Christmas number one, which was thwarted by a campaign to get Rage Against the Machine’s Killing In The Name Of to the top spot. He’s since played the lead role in musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

2008: Alexandra Burke

Beating JLS in the final and even singing a duet with Beyoncé, Burke enjoyed a Christmas number one single with a cover of Hallelujah.

She has since moved to the stage, starring in the Sister Act musical and The Bodyguard. And, of course, Burke participated in the 2017 series of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. She made it to the final, only to be beaten by Joe McFadden.

2007: Leon Jackson

Jackson was the shock winner of the series, beating Rhydian Roberts. He went on to score Christmas number one with a cover of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston’s When You Believe, but was later dropped by Syco.

2006: Leona Lewis

After her win against Ray Quinn, Leona Lewis’s winning single A Moment Like This spent four weeks at number one. She went on to crack the American market and has released five solo albums.

2005: Shayne Ward

Another winner with a number one hit, Ward topped the charts with Christmas single That’s My Goal. After releasing four studio albums, Ward turned to acting and was cast in Coronation Street in 2015.

2004: Steve Brookstein

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He might have been the show’s first champion, but 2004 winner Steve Brookstein has since openly criticised the show on Twitter and in his book Getting Over the X.


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