X Factor contestants: where are they now? From Hollywood to hit singles to working as a binman

AFTER landing a spot on the X-Factor live shows, contestants are probably anticipating a star-studded music career.

While some have hit the big time with chart-topping albums and critical acclaim, others have happily to returned to life out of the spotlight.

Here we take a look back at some of the show's most memorable stars and see where they are now.

Harry Styles

The hitmaker made a quick impression on the nation when he auditioned in 2010 singing Stevie Wonder's hit Isn't She Lovely?

Although Harry didn't make the cut as a solo artist then, he was grouped up with Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik to form One Direction.

Despite the band not winning the competition, One Direction went on to become one of the best-selling boybands in history with 70million albums sold and seven Brit Awards.

After achieving huge success together, the band went on an indefinite hiatus in 2016, a year after bandmate Zayn left.

Since then, Harry has thrived in the spotlight having released two solo albums, the self-titled, Harry Styles, and his sophomore offering, Fine Line.

Last month, he cemented his music stardom when he picked up his first Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance for Watermelon Sugar.

But music isn't his only passion as Harry has turned his hand to the silver screen and made his acting debut in Chris Nolan's war epic Dunkirk.

He has recently wrapped filming on Olivia Wilde's psychological thriller Don't Worry Darling and is said to start shooting romantic drama My Policeman later this month.

Rebecca Ferguson

The Liverpudlian singer's career kickstarted on the X Factor in 2010 – the same series as One Direction.

The 34-year-old finished the series as the runner-up to Matt Cradle, which made her the first female runner-up on ITV talent show.

Rebecca signed a joint record deal with Syco Records and Epic Records after her stint on the X Factor and released her platinum-selling debut album Heaven in 2011.

The album's single Nothing's Real but Love peaked at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart.

The star's second album Freedom was released in 2013 and contained a duet with John Legend.

Rebecca later released two more albums, Lady Sings the Blues in 2015 and Superwoman in 2016.

However, the music star stepped away from the spotlight for a few years after revealing in a 2018 statement that she felt targeted by high-profile music executives because of her skin colour.

Since then, Rebecca has continued to speak out against discrimination in the music industry and is currently campaigning for a parliamentary review of the music industry.

The starlet has recently revealed she is meeting Culture Secretary Oliver Bowden to discuss greater protection of artists from "bullying" agents and managers.

Cher Lloyd

Cher Lloyd found fame after finishing fourth on the seventh series of The X Factor in 2010 – the same year Rebecca.

The singer was quickly signed to Simon Cowell's Syco Music following her stint and hit the ground running with her debut single, Swagger Jagger, which reached the number one spot in the UK charts in July 2011.

Her second single, With Ur Love reached number four that October.

The singer had some success in the United States with her version of Want U Back in February 2012, reaching the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

However, Cher split from Simon's record label in 2013 and hit out at the music mogul, saying she couldn’t handle the level of "control".

In 2016 she returned to the charts with her single Activated as the lead track from her third album, but to date the record has not been released.

More recently, the 28-year-old released songs Lost and One Drink Away late last year.

Aside from music, Cher welcomed a daughter Delilah-Rae in 2018 with husband Craig Monk.


Jedward were described by Simon Cowell as "not very good and incredibly annoying" when they auditioned for The X Factor in 2009.

But thanks mainly to Irish judge Louis Walsh, the boys – John and Edward Grimes – made it through to the final 12 contestants and the live shows.

They managed to come third and were immediately taken on by Walsh, before releasing their debut single, a mash-up of David Bowie and Freddie Mercury's Under pressure and Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby.

A very successful tour of Ireland followed plus an ITV2 documentary called Jedward: Let Loose.

To date the twins have released three albums (Planet Jedward, Victory and Young Love), the first two of which went double platinum in Ireland, plus nine singles.

They have also fronted TV shows Jedward's Big Adventure and OMG! Jedward's Dream Factory, while making cameos in Keith Lemon: The Film and Sharknado 3.

The brothers also represented their native Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest twice – first in 2011 with Lipstick and then in 2012 with Waterlline.

In 2011, they came eighth in the final with 119 points. Although their second attempt didn't the right notes, they finished 19th, six places ahead of the UK entry performed by Engelbert Humperdinck.

In more recent times, the brothers have been more vocal about social and political issues online.

Earlier this week, Jedward took aim at Simon Cowell in an epic Twitter takedown and labelled the music mogul "nothing but a bad facelift".

Matt Cardle

The singer had the world at his feet when he won the X Factor in 2010.

But after debut album Letters, he parted company with SyCo in 2012 claiming his management were too busy with 1D.

In November 2017 The Sun revealed that Matt had signed a new deal with Sony and was set to release his fourth studio album Time To Be Alive.

Following a spell in rehab battling an addiction to prescription drugs, he reinvented himself on the stage and won the Best West End Debut award for his role beside Beverley Knight in Memphis in 2015.

Reflecting on his addiction battle, Matt revealed to The Sun in 2018 that he was addicted to a cocktail of drugs and a functioning alcoholic.

At the time, he said he was “eating” a daily mix of prescription pills Valium and Tramadol and snorting illegal drugs.

Now, Matt is looking happy and healthy as he continues to make music and most recently released his song We're The Butterflies on his Instagram late last month.


The singer appeared on the 2009 series of the X Factor alongside Stacey and Olly Murs where he came in fourth place.

He was considered as an entry for the 2017 Eurovision song contest with the song original song Light Up The World.

But ultimately his competitor Lucie Jones was picked to sing in the final with Never Give Up on You.

He now works for the People's Postcode Lottery as an Ambassador.


Amelia Lily first found fame when she competed in the eighth series of The X Factor in 2011.

Following her appearance on the show, she landed a £500,000 record deal with Sony and released three singles, peaking at number two in 2012 with You Bring Me Joy.

After X Factor and a singing career, Amelia Lily performed as The Narrator on the UK tour of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

In 2015, Amelia was on the UK tour and eventual West End production of Green Day musical, American Idiot.

Playing Whatsername, the only lead female in the show, Amelia performed as the love interest to the lead character,

During her time on the show, EastEnders star Aaron Sidwell and singer Newton Faulkner starred opposite her.

In the summer of 2017 she entered Celebrity Big Brother and eventually finished as runner-up to winner Sarah Harding.

And in 2019 she was back on our screen screens after joining the boozy cast of Geordie Shore.


The singer caused a stir on The X Factor as the wild child singer kicked off in 2011 for his rock and roll lifestyle.

Just six years later, he admitted he’d blown £200,000 of his fortune on booze and turned his back on fame to work on a building site for £7.50 an hour.

The X Factor hopeful, who later claimed to have more than 300 notches on his bedpost, revealed his bum is tattooed with the names of seven girls he'd slept with when he auditioned for the show at 18.

The singer later appeared on Celebs Go Dating and shortly after he met his now wife Bianca Murphy, whom he married in May 2018.

The singer appears to have calmed his bad boy ways since becoming a father in 2019.

The couple, who now live in Australia, named their firstborn Frankie Cocozza, because both Frankie Senior's own father and grandfather also share the name.


The 2005 runner-up lost out to Shayne Ward, and last month revealed that he has returned to his old line of work as a binman.

Andy revealed that he had been forced to return to his old line of work after showbiz work dried up in the pandemic.

Andy, who was named the Singing Binman on X Factor, says he has returned to help the community.

"I'm literally singing out there as I was during the X Factor show. I'm back to being the official singing binman, which is kind of cool," he told Metro.

"I'm just enjoying keeping my feet on the ground."


Notorious Wagner, who was the oldest finalist, initially didn’t make it to the 2010 live shows, but he was later given the wildcard by his mentor Louis Walsh, subsequently joining the Over 28s.

While he put on a fun-filled performance week-to-week, Wagner had several run-ins with his fellow X Factor contestants, prompting him to leave the house that they shared while on the talent show.

Since then, the former PE teacher has never had the need to return to his old profession because public appearances and sponsorships continue to make Wagner a steady living.

In 2017, Wagner told This Morning that he was the proud father of a three-year-old daughter and five-year-old son, so fatherhood must definitely be keeping the entertainer busy when he’s not working.

Plus in recent years Wagner has taken to encouraging his fans to get in touch with him via his official Facebook page, which he mans himself.

He takes orders for custom made videos, and all you need to do is drop him a message.

They don’t break the bank either. If you want him to wish a pal Happy Birthday for you, it’ll set you back £8.50.

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