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The ninth UK series of The X Factor began on ITV on 18 August 2012 and ended on 9 December 2012. The live shows starting on 6 October 2012. The twelve chosen finalists were James Arthur, Rylan Clark, Jahméne Douglas, Jade Ellis, Ella Henderson, Lucy Spraggan, Melanie Masson, Carolynne Poole, Kye Sones, District3, MK1 and Union J. Before the start of the live shows, one previously eliminated act from each category was chosen as a wildcard, with Christopher Maloney, from the over 28s, being voted in by the public as the thirteenth finalist.

Nicole Scherzinger mentored the boys (Arthur, Clark and Douglas), Tulisa Contostavlos mentored the girls (Ellis, Henderson and Spraggan), Gary Barlow mentored the over 28s (Masson, Poole, Sones and Maloney) and Louis Walsh mentored the groups (District3, MK1 and Union J). Arthur won the show on 9 December, with Douglas as the runner-up and Maloney in third place.

Within four-and-a-half months of the final, Arthur,[1] Douglas,[2] Henderson,[3][4] Maloney,[5] Union J[6] and Spraggan[7] had all been signed to record labels.


The boys were mentored by Nicole Scherzinger.

The "Boys" category was mentored by Nicole Scherzinger. All three acts in the category reached the quarter-final, the first time this has happened in the history of The X Factor. Contestants in this category are males aged 16 to 27. The six candidates at judges' houses were: James Arthur, Adam Burridge, Rylan Clark, Jahméne Douglas, Nathan Fagan-Gayle and Jake Quickenden. Scherzinger chose:

James Arthur

James Arthur

James Andrew Arthur (born 2 March 1988) is a guitarist, singer and rapper from Saltburn, Teesside.[8] He stunned judges at his audition with a heartfelt rendition of judge Tulisa Contostavlos's "Young", before explaining his traumatic past, including spells in care and time spent on the streets after break-ups within his family. After the second live show, Arthur suffered from an anxiety attack backstage. Whilst being treated at the studio, paramedics determined he did not need to go to hospital, and he was ordered back to his hotel to rest. He later returned for that week's results show.[9] Arthur was in the bottom two in week 7 with Ella Henderson, but was saved by the public vote. This was when Tulisa and Walsh voted to send Henderson through to the quarter-final while Scherzinger and Barlow voted to send Arthur through to the quarter-final. The result went to deadlock and Arthur advanced to the quarter-final. Arthur is the first winner to be in the bottom two during the live shows. Arthur was the first followed by Matt Terry in 2016. Coincidentally they were both mentored by Nicole Scherzinger. He then made it to the final and won on 9 December. His winner's single is a cover of Shontelle's "Impossible". On 11 January 2013, Arthur confirmed that he had signed a record deal with Simon Cowell's record label Syco Music.[1]

Rylan Clark

Ross Richard "Rylan" Clark[10] (born 25 October 1988) is an actor and model from Corringham, Essex. As well as being a finalist on Katie Price's Signed by Katie Price, Clark appeared as a performer in several Take That and Westlife tribute bands before his first audition. He was also Ron Weasley's body double in the Harry Potter films and had a minor role in Love, Actually. There was controversy in the first week of the live shows after being saved by the public vote in the final showdown over fellow contestant Carolynne Poole, much to the disgust of her mentor, Gary Barlow, who stormed off stage and later dubbed Clark as a "joke act" and "talentless". In week two, Clark persisted to wind Barlow up by first performing part of Barlow's "Back for Good", and then by claiming that he had booked Barlow a cab in advance in case he stormed off stage again (to which Barlow responded "That's funny cause I've had yours on hold for two weeks."). Despite the controversy, Clark was put through to week three on the public vote.[11] In week 5, Clark was in the bottom two again, this time with Kye Sones, but was again saved. This was when Barlow and Walsh voted to eliminate Clark while Scherzinger and Tulisa, who had the casting vote, voted to eliminate Sones. Tulisa sent the result to deadlock and Sones was eliminated. He revealed on The Xtra Factor that his psychic told him he would make it to week 7 of the competition before leaving.[12] However, he was put through to the quarter-final by the public vote. He was eliminated in the quarter-final after being in the final showdown against Union J.

After his elimination from The X Factor, Clark participated in the eleventh series on Celebrity Big Brother in January 2013, becoming the winner of the show on 25 January as well as being the bookies favourite to win from the start. He now presents the Big Brother spin-off show Big Brother's Bit on the Side.

Jahméne Douglas

Jahméne Aaron Douglas (born 26 February 1991 in Birmingham[13]) is a former Asda employee from Swindon, Wiltshire. Although Douglas struggled with his confidence at the bootcamp stage of the competition, he managed to advance to judges' houses, where he impressed mentor Nicole Scherzinger with his rendition of David Guetta's "Titanium". Douglas admitted after the second live show ("Love and Heartbreak" week) that he struggled to connect with the song as he had never had a girlfriend, and also had never had a proper kiss.[14] On 8 December, he was the first act to make it safely through to the second night of the live finals. On 9 December he finished as runner-up.

On 19 December, it was announced that Douglas had signed a record deal with Sony Music.[15] On 25 January, it was confirmed that he had signed with RCA Records and would be releasing an album in May.[16] It was later announced that the album would be called Love Never Fails and would be released on 22 July. It was reported on 22 July, two days after the release of his debut album, that it was on track to hit number one in the UK. It was also reported that Douglas would donate some of the profits of the album to domestic abuse campaigns.


The girls were mentored by Tulisa

The "Girls" category was mentored by Tulisa. Contestants in this category are females aged 16 to 27. The six candidates at judges' houses were: Jade Collins, Jade Ellis, Ella Henderson, Amy Mottram, Leanne Robinson and Lucy Spraggan. Contostavlos chose:

Jade Ellis

Jade Ellis (born 1 February 1987) is a bike mechanic from Charlton, London.[17] She is openly lesbian and has a seven-year-old daughter, Caiden, whom she raises with her partner.[18] Ellis studied musical theatre at Plumstead Manor School Sixth Form until 2004, but had no experience of performing in public before auditioning for the show.[] She auditioned singing Maverick Sabre's "I Need".[] Ellis was eliminated by the judges in week 4 of the competition, losing out to Union J in the sing-off.

On 24 July 2013, it was announced that Ellis had been signed to EFTManagement.[19]

Ella Henderson

Gabriella Michelle "Ella" Henderson[20] (born 12 January 1996)[21] is a student from Grimsby, Lincolnshire.[22] She had to miss her first audition due to the date of the audition clashing with one of her GCSE exams, and thus was invited back for a second audition at a later date. In her first audition, she performed her own composition "Missed", which her grandfather inspired her to write. Henderson had been tipped as the winner of the series, with many noting that she was an outright favourite from the start.[23] However, she was controversially eliminated by the public vote in week 7 when she and Arthur, who later went on to win, were in the bottom two. Tulisa and Walsh voted to send Henderson through to the quarter-final while Scherzinger and Barlow voted to send Arthur through to the quarter-final which meant the result went to deadlock.

In an interview on Ireland's The Saturday Night Show on 15 December, she revealed that she had signed a record deal with Sony Music.[3][4] On 22 January 2013, Henderson revealed she had been signed to Simon Cowell's record label Syco Music, and has anticipated work with Emeli Sandé and also Paul Epworth (former collaborations include Adele's multi-platinum 21, Plan B's triple-platinum The Defamation of Strickland Banks, Foster the People's Torches, along with many other notable artists) on her debut album.[24] It has subsequently been revealed that Henderson has been working with another world-renowned songwriter and producer on her forthcoming debut album, Claude Kelly (former collaborations include Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, Jessie J, Michael Jackson, amongst many notable others).[25]

On 23 January 2013, Henderson performed a cover of Cher's "Believe" at the 18th National Television Awards.[26] On 28 January 2013, it was announced that she was part of Disney's web safety campaign.[27]

On 8 April 2013, she uploaded a rough demo version of a new song "Waiting" to SoundCloud. On 9 June, she performed with Labrinth on the song "Beneath Your Beautiful" as a special guest at the Capital Summertime Ball. On 14 October, she uploaded a live version of a new song "Five Tattoos" to her Vevo channel, and a week later a live version of a mash-up of Drake's "Hold On, We're Going Home" and John Newman's "Love Me Again". Henderson's debut single "Ghost" will be released in April 2014 and her debut album "Chapter One" in Autumn 2014.[28][29][30][needs update]

Lucy Spraggan

Lucy Spraggan (born 21 July 1991) is a musician and songwriter from Buxton, Derbyshire. Prior to her audition, she released her own self-independent album, Top Room at the Zoo, and performed regularly at Live and Unsigned events. Dubbed as "Derbyshire's answer to Victoria Wood", Spraggan performed three original songs on the show, one of which later went on to chart at number 11 on the UK Singles Chart. Spraggan was left distraught after the death of her grandmother at the start of week two, but later went on to perform Kanye West's "Gold Digger" in her grandmother's honour. She got thrown out of her hotel after she and Rylan were messing around drunk.[31] On 3 November, Spraggan decided to leave the competition, saying she was too ill to continue.[32][33] On 27 March 2013, Lucy announced via Twitter that she had in fact been signed to Columbia Records, and that she has already begun work on her upcoming debut album.[7]

Over 28s

The over 28s were mentored by Gary Barlow.

The "Over 28s" category was mentored by Gary Barlow. Contestants in this category are either gender aged 28 and over. The six candidates at judges' houses were: Nicola Marie Bloor, Chris Maloney, Melanie Masson, Carolynne Poole, Brad Shackleton and Kye Sones. Barlow chose:

Christopher Maloney

Christopher Michael "Chris" Maloney (born 26 December 1977) is a former call centre operative from Mullingar Co.Westmeath. At his audition, he struggled with his nerves, but managed to overcome them when he advanced into the live shows[34] as this year's wild card winner, beating Times Red, Amy Mottram and Adam Burridge to win the final spot in the live shows. He had major support from celebrities such as Jane McDonald and Marcus Collins, and despite being dubbed a "cabaret" and "cruise ship" singer by Walsh, Christopher Maloney advanced on the public vote nine times being the highest voting contestant seven times out of the nine.

In March 2013, Maloney came out as gay in an interview with Now magazine.[35] In an interview with the Ireland Echo in April 2013, Christopher Maloney confirmed that he had signed a record deal with Tristar Records.[5] On 27 October 2013, he released his debut single "My Heart Belongs to You",[36] but it failed to make the top 100 of the UK Singles Chart.[37] On 5 January 2016, it was announced that Christopher Maloney would be participating on the seventeenth series of Celebrity Big Brother.

Melanie Masson

Melanie Masson (born 25 July 1968) is a children's entertainer and mother-of-two from Cathcart, Glasgow and lives in North London. Known as Fairy Flutterby in her home town, Melanie had previously performed in many bands and had a small amount of experience in the music industry before auditioning for the show. In 1996, Masson released a single titled "Love Is the Power" through EMI (who had signed her to a development deal), and in 2007, she was featured on Wi-Fi's cover of "Be Without You" by Mary J. Blige. Compared by many to Janis Joplin, Masson was eliminated in week 2 after the judges failed to decide between her and District3, and the result went to deadlock, where she received the fewest public votes.

Masson revealed that she has already held talks over a deal that will see her cut her first album.[38] It will be released in early 2014.[39][needs update]

Carolynne Poole

Carolynne Poole

Carolynne Poole (née Good; born 5 August 1980) is an actress, singer, songwriter and television personality from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.[40] She appeared on the second series of Fame Academy, where she placed third, and played the role of Thalia, the girlfriend of recurring character Justin Gallagher, in Emmerdale.

Poole previously auditioned for the eighth series of The X Factor, but was eliminated at Walsh's judges' houses. This year, Barlow put her through to the live shows. In week 1, she sang her own rendition of Nicki Minaj's "Starships". Despite receiving positive comments from the judges, she ended up being placed in the bottom two with Rylan Clark. The result went to deadlock after Walsh controversially changed his mind, and Poole was eliminated after receiving the fewest public votes.[41]

Kye Sones

Anthony Gorry and Kye Sones from Diagram of the Heart.

Kye Elliott Sones (born 14 August 1982 in Hammersmith)[42] is a former chimney sweep and musician from Pinner, London.[43] Prior to his audition, Sones previously fronted an electropop band Diagram of the Heart. He has been friends with presenter and DJ Fearne Cotton since they were 11, and Cotton chose Sones to be the godfather of her son Rex.[44]

Sones impressed the judges at his audition, where he sang a mash-up of "Save the World" and "R.I.P.", but struggled at judges' houses.[45] He was in the bottom two in weeks 3 and 5. Both times the result went to deadlock and Sones was saved by the public vote in week 3, but was eliminated in week 5 of the competition after being in the bottom two with Rylan Clark.

On 2 September 2013, Sones announced his debut EP, Seven. He worked with Ben Collier, Gabrielle Aplin, Tim Bran, Nicky D'Silva and Iain James.[46] It was released on 16 September 2013.[47]


The groups were mentored by Louis Walsh.

The "Groups" category was mentored by Louis Walsh. Contestants in this category are duos or vocal groups and all members must be aged 16 or over. The seven candidates at judges' houses were: District3 (formerly GMD3), Duke, Mitsotu, MK1, Poisonous Twin, Times Red and Union J (formerly Triple J). Rough Copy were initially through to judges' houses but had to back out due to visa issues, and so Times Red and Union J were brought back in their place. Walsh chose:


District3 (formerly GMD3) were a three-piece harmony vocal band made up of Daniel Thomas "Dan" Ferrari-Lane (born 7 April 1993) from Porthcawl, Michael Curtis "Micky" Parsons (born 25 August 1994) from Cleethorpes and Gregory Simon "Greg" West (born 22 July 1994) from Essex.[48] They first met each other as schoolmates in Sylvia Young Theatre School. In 2007, they left the school and decided to form the band. They were managed by Jayne Collins, who also managed The Wanted.[49]

District3 auditioned in London under the name GMD3, performing "I'll Make Love to You" and "Can't Buy Me Love".[50][51] The band was put through to bootcamp round. For the first stage of bootcamp, they teamed up with Triple J (now Union J) and performed Maroon 5's "Moves like Jagger". The judges were unable to decide between GMD3 and Triple J when it came down to the final spot, so both groups had to compete in an a cappella sing-off, where GMD3 performed "Bless the Broken Road". Afterwards, Barlow announced that GMD3 had won the sing-off and they were put through to judges' houses.

At judges' houses, they performed their bootcamp sing-off song, "Bless the Broken Road", and "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars in front of mentor Walsh and guest mentor Sharon Osbourne. Osbourne commented that she disliked the name GMD3 as "it sounds like a virus - which does not say anything about them".[52] They were put through to the live shows by Walsh as one of the final three in the "groups" category. On 1 October, GMD3 announced that they would change their name after receiving Osbourne's criticism, as well as a dispute with an American pipeline of the same name.[53] Members of the public could suggest new names, and on 5 October, the band announced their new name, District3.[54][55][56]

In week 1 of the live shows, District3 performed their own arrangement of "The Best" and were put through by the public vote. In week 2, they were in the bottom two with Melanie Masson after performing "I Swear". They performed "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" for survival. Walsh and Tulisa voted to save them while Barlow and Scherzinger voted to eliminate them. The result went to deadlock and Masson received fewer votes, and District3 were saved. In week 3, they performed a medley of "Beggin'" and "Turn Up the Music". In week 4, they performed a mash-up of "Every Breath You Take" and "Beautiful Monster", which received negative comments, but they were not in the bottom 2. In week 5, they performed "Dynamite", which again received negative comments, but again they were not in the bottom two. After two consecutive weeks of poor feedback from the judges on their performances,[57] District3 performed "Tears in Heaven" in week 6.[57] The performance brought Scherzinger to tears; she stated "it has a deep personal meaning for me right now, today, so thank you for sharing that with us".[58] They were in the final showdown for the second time along with Union J, and performed "Just the Way You Are" for survival.[59] Walsh refused to cast his vote against any of his acts, while Barlow and Scherzinger voted to eliminate District3,[59] meaning they were eliminated with majority votes from the judges. Contostavlos, despite not being required to vote, revealed that she would have voted to save District3.[59]

On 18 August 2013, District3 released their self-titled debut EP, consisting of seven songs.[60] However, just seven weeks later, the band announced that they had disbanded. In a statement on their official Twitter, they said "It's impossible to express our appreciation to you in one message, but 3EEKS, all around the world, you have been more than everything we could ever have asked for. The support you have given us has been overwhelming, which only makes it harder to tell you that we have decided to bring our time as District 3 to an end."[61]


MK1 are a hip-hop duo (and former trio) consisting of Charlotte "Charlie" Rundle, 20, and Simeon "Sim" Dixon, 25, both from Hackney, London. Singer/producer William "Will" Baker was formerly in the group as well. In July 2011, they uploaded a song called "Money or Luck" to YouTube. This has gathered over 177,000 views.[62] In April 2012, they uploaded another song called "Anybody Out There", which has since garnered over 400,000 views.[63]

MK1 performed a mash-up of Tinie Tempah's "Written in the Stars" and Emeli Sandé's "Read All About It (Pt. III)" at their audition. Rundle and Dixon impressed the judges, but they were told by judges Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos that if they wished to advance, they would need to get rid of Baker. The trio deliberated, and Baker agreed to leave the group under the condition that he received 33% of all future profits made by Rundle and Dixon.[64]

MK1 then advanced to bootcamp as a duo, and went through to judges' houses, where they were mentored by Louis Walsh. After performing "Dub Be Good to Me" by Beats International, they impressed Walsh and guest mentor Sharon Osbourne sufficiently to be put through to the live shows of the competition, making them the first urban act ever to achieve this feat.[65] They were voted out of the competition by the public in week 3, after landing in the final showdown with Kye Sones and the result going to deadlock for the third consecutive week.

On 26 July 2013, MK1 premiered their debut single "Let Go" and announced that it would be released through Shamazing Ltd on 4 August 2013.[66][67] The song failed to chart, however. On 10 November, the duo tweeted "On route to nottingham for studio !!! See yah tomorrow London !!! #MK1Album". This was followed later by a picture of them in the studio, with the caption "Ohhhh yehhhh studio time !!! #MK1Album".

Union J

Union J (formerly Triple J) are a four-piece boy band. The band auditioned as a trio consisting of Joshua Thomas John "Josh" Cuthbert, Jamie Paul "JJ" Hamblett and James William "Jaymi" Hensley.[68] Hensley and Cuthbert initially met at the Sylvia Young Theatre School, while Hamblett, a former jockey, was added to their group by former manager Julian White, and they named themselves Triple J due to each of them sharing the same initial. Their audition was shown in a montage entitled "Hot Hunks" rather than shown as its own segment, so that they could be portrayed as auditioning directly before soloist George Paul Shelley. Triple J sang Rihanna's "We Found Love", while Shelley sang an acoustic guitar version of Britney Spears' "Toxic". Both acts received "yes" votes from all judges present (Contostavlos, Walsh, Barlow, and Rita Ora for Triple J; only Contostavlos, Walsh, and Barlow were present for Shelley's audition).

At bootcamp, Shelley performed Labrinth's "Earthquake" with female contestants Charlie Cammish and Meg O'Neill as part of a mixed group, but was not selected for judges' houses. Triple J sang with GMD3 (later District3) for their group challenge and, as the last event of bootcamp, both groups battled for a place at judges' houses, with GMD3 taking the last slated groups slot. However, after fellow contestants Rough Copy had to withdraw from the show, Triple J's manager, Blair Dreelan, who had previously signed Shelley as a solo act, was called by the show's producers with an invitation to send Triple J to judges' houses if Shelley were added to the group. Three days before the flight to Las Vegas, Shelley was added to the group and they were renamed Union J.[69][70]Caroline Flack showed footage on The Xtra Factor which suggests that the inclusion of Shelley was her idea.[]

Union J's judges' houses performance of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" earned them a spot in the live shows. They immediately proved the most popular act among social media users, garnering 46% of all social media chatter about The X Factor as soon as they were announced as attending judges' houses.[71] By week 2, they were earning around 200,000 mentions per week.[71]

In the first week of the live shows, Union J earned the fourth most votes after Christopher Maloney, Jahméne Douglas and Ella Henderson. In week 4, Union J were in the bottom two with Jade Ellis, but were saved by Barlow, Scherzinger, and Walsh (they also received more votes than Ellis). They were in the bottom two again in week 6 against District3 and were saved by the judges, with both Barlow and Scherzinger choosing Union J and Walsh refusing to vote since both acts were in his category (Union J also received more votes than District3). On the night of the week 7 live shows, after Saturday's performance of "Call Me Maybe", Hensley officially came out as gay in The Sun, which he then credited on Sunday night as being because he had been sure they would be voted out, and he wanted to leave the competition "honest and himself". They were not in the bottom two, however. They were in the bottom two for the third time in quarter-final, and were saved by Walsh, Barlow and Contostavlos over Rylan Clark (they also received more votes than Clark). On 2 December, they were eliminated in the semi-final, and it was later revealed that Christopher Maloney only beat them to the final by 0.6% of the public vote.[72]

At a gig in Cardiff on 15 December, Union J announced that they had signed a deal with Sony Music.[6] Their debut single was recorded in January 2013 in London and is scheduled for release in June 2013.[73] On 28 January 2013, it was confirmed that the Sony subsidiary they had signed with was RCA Records.[74] On 24 February 2013, Hensley took part in BBC Radio 1's "Coming Out Documentary", where he discussed both coming to terms with his own sexuality at age fourteen, and his public decision to come out whilst on The X Factor.[75] On 8 April 2013, the group announced details of their debut single, "Carry You". The track will be released in Ireland and United Kingdom on 2 June 2013,[76] while their debut studio album will follow in Autumn 2013.[77] The single received its radio premiere through Capital FM and BBC Radio 1 on 22 April 2013, and its accompanying music video was released on 29 April.


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