Curse of the X Factor

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The X Factor is the biggest show on TV at the moment with around 15 million viewers regularly turning on each week to watch the acts battle it out for possible international superstardom and a record deal from Simon Cowell. However, it has recently been revealed contestants no longer need to win the show to get a deal, because the latest four finalists have all been given deals by Mr Cowell himself.

Which raises the question, what is the point in winning? There is certainly a lot more pressure and expectation on the shoulders of X Factor winners. Looking at the recent history of X Factor over the last couple of years there are several examples of runner up contestants out performing winners. Recent comparisons can be made between Olly Murs, Diana Vickers and X Factor winner Joe McElddery. Both Murs and Vickers albums have out performed McElddery's.

Another runner up this time from 2008, who has become hugely popular, is JLS. They have sold millions of singles and won numerous awards. Their careers seem to have no ceiling and could far out stretch previous winners such as, Steve Brookstein, Shayne Ward and Leon Jackson.

Looking at winners is X Factor all it's cracked up to be or is it a curse? Steve Brookstein won the first series of X Factor in 2004 beating group G4. After the show he signed with Sony BMG released one single called 'Against All Odds', but did not release a second single and was dropped by the label within the first year.

Shayne Ward won the second series in 2005, he obtained a Christmas number 1 with 'That's My Goal'. He later went on to release two albums, but unfortunately developed some vocal cord nodules which were successfully treated. He is currently on the come back trail and is apparently very popular in Korea.

In terms of sales the winners have been hugely successful. But very few have been able to garner really successful careers at least in terms of expectation. Leona Lewis who won the show in 2006 is by far the most successful. She has sold well over 4.5 million records worldwide and has received critical acclaim in the US. Her fifth British single, Run, became the fastest selling digital release of all time, selling 69,244 in just two days.

X Factor series 4 saw Leon Jackson win, he released a number 1 single called 'When You Believe' and a second singled 'Don't Call This Love' which did not perform quite as well. He was later dropped by Sony BMG and has not done much since apart from tour with fellow X Factor contestants, Same Difference.

Alexandra Burke won the show in 2008 her first single 'Hallelujah' sold 105,000 units in one day and went on to sell over 1 million singles. She is arguably the second most successful winner, she has enjoyed several number 1 hits and has been nominated for various Brit and MOBO awards.

Joe McElderry's career unfortunately started off disappointingly having been subjected to an anti X Factor Christmas number 1 petition, which resulted in Rage against the Machine taking the top spot. His first album 'Wide Awake' released by Syco Music reached number 3, but he has since struggled to reproduce similar success.

The X Factor is undoubtedly one of the most successful shows to ever hit our televisions. But with last series still leaving a bitter taste of bickering, scandals, Wagner and the revelation that Simon Cowell has awarded four contestants record deals on our taste buds, has The X Factor lost its integrity?

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