Cheryl Cole

3.3784615384693 (1625)
Posted by bender 02/26/2009 @ 21:40

Tags : cheryl cole, rock and pop, artists, music, entertainment

News headlines
Star's brother avoids jail - TeleText
The brother of pop star Cheryl Cole has walked free from Newcastle Crown Court after admitting pepper-spraying a man in the face. Former drug addict Andrew Tweedy was given a suspended sentence for attacking Lee Clark last year. The court heard Tweedy...
Cole's barnet is Most Wanted Hairstyle - Times of India
“Cheryl Cole mania is continuing to sweep the UK,” the Daily Star quoted Shakila Ahmed, from poll authors Travelodge , as saying. Meanwhile, Cheryl has reportedly become the latest celeb to have a fake Twitter page set up in her name, which features a...
Sexy Cheryl is a Cheeky Girl - The Sun
By NADIA MENDOZA Newly released GIRLS ALOUD pictures show CHERYL COLE flashing her perfectly pert derriere onstage, rivalling the peachy CHEEKY GIRLS at their own game. The Geordie singer wore the ridiculously short skirt, or should that be belt,...
Cheryl Cole defies foot injury as she launches into raunchy pole ... - Daily Mail
But that didn't stop Cheryl Cole delighting fans last night as she performed a raunchy pole dance routine. The band were at the Sheffield Arena for their Out Of Control 2009 tour and sent the crowds wild as they showed off their adept lap-dance-style...
Cheryl Cole and Ant and Dec boost regional accents in ads - Brand Republic
LONDON - Strong regional accents such as Geordie and Mancunian are more favourably viewed in ads due to the impact of celebrities such as Cheryl Cole and Ant and Dec. People in Manchester and Tyneside respond the most favourably to their own accents,...
Allen denies insulting Cheryl and Ashley Cole - stv.tv
Pop singer Lily Allen has used the social networking site Twitter to deny reports that she insulted X Factor judge Cheryl Cole, her husband Ashley and the Beckhams in a recent interview with a French football magazine. Pop singer Lily Allen has used...
X Factor judge Cheryl Cole wins Best Dressed Celebrity Award - stv.tv
X Factor judge Cheryl Cole has won an award for being Britain's Best Dressed Celebrity. X Factor judge Cheryl Cole has won an award for being Britain's Best Dressed Celebrity. The 25-year-old beat off competition from glamorous rivals like Victoria...
Travelodge Teams up with Trevor Sorbie Salons - Comparecarrentals.co.uk
The guide demonstrates Kate Wingrove creating Cheryl Cole's hairstyle on a model. The “Stylesheet” is a simple one page illustration of the five steps. Both of these guides can be downloaded from the Travelodge website free of charge....
Poll: Cheryl Cole is world's sexiest woman - United Press International
(UPI Photo/Rune Hellestad) LONDON, April 24 (UPI) -- Readers of FHM magazine have voted British singer and reality personality Cheryl Cole the world's sexiest woman. Cole, 25, is a member of the pop group Girls Aloud and an "X Factor" judge....
Tinchy Stryder Wants Cheryl Cole, Akon Collaborations - AngryApe
Tinchy Stryder has his eyes set on a collaboration with Cheryl Cole, he has revealed. The 21-year-old UK rapper has already worked with Taio Cruz and Dappy of N-Dubz on his hit singles, but now he's explained who else he hopes to record with....

Cheryl Cole

Cheryl Ann Cole (née Tweedy, born 30 June 1983) is a British singer and member of the band Girls Aloud. As part of Girls Aloud and as a featuring artist, Cole has had 21 UK Top Ten singles. In 2008, Cole became a judge on the British reality TV show The X Factor. She is married to the Chelsea and England football player Ashley Cole.

Cheryl Tweedy was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England and lived in a suburb called Heaton. She is one of five children - one younger brother, Garry, and two half-brothers - Andrew and Joseph, and one half-sister Gillian.

In addition to dancing, Cheryl won many modelling competitions, including Boots Group's bonniest baby, Mothercare Happy Faces Portrait competition, Best Looking Girl of Newcastle, The Evening Chronicle 'Little Miss & Mister' and Most Attractive Girl at the MetroCentre.She also appeared in two British Gas adverts, an SCS advert, and an Eldon Square Christmas advert with younger brother Garry. Interested in dancing from an early age, Cole joined the Royal Ballet's summer school at the age of nine. She sang, modelled and appeared in recitals on some television shows.

In 2008, Cole was voted number 7 in FHM's 100 sexiest women 2008 poll. In February 2009, Cole appeared on the cover of British Vogue.

Cheryl auditioned for Popstars: The Rivals in 2002, singing S Club 7's "Have You Ever". She was the first person to be chosen for Girls Aloud which has gone on to be one of the most successful British pop groups of the decade.

After taking streetdancing classes during the filming of Passions of Girls Aloud series, Cole was picked to appear in the music video for will.i.am's single "Heartbreaker". She was later asked to sing additional vocals on the track. The song was released in the UK on 5 May 2008, but had already entered the top ten on download sales, peaking at number 4 in the UK Singles Chart.

On 10 June 2008, it was announced Cole would replace Sharon Osbourne as a judge for the fifth series of The X Factor.

A week before the 2008 series, in a 9 August 2008 interview with Cosmopolitan (magazine) magazine, Cole's fellow judge Dannii Minogue said she believed Cole could bring a new side to the talent show: "One week Cheryl was talking about urban music and telling Simon Cowell 'This is what the show needs; this is where you've been going wrong'." Cheryl was given the Girls category, subsequently ending up as the winning judge, with Alexandra Burke winning the show on 13 December 2008.

On 11 January 2003, Cheryl was involved in an altercation with a nightclub toilet attendant, Sophie Amogbokpa, in "The Drink" nightclub in Guildford (now called "Harper's"). Cole was subsequently charged with racially aggravated assault (she had allegedly called Amogbokpa a "jigaboo") and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. During her trial Cheryl claimed she acted in self defence (claiming she had been punched first) and denied using racially abusive language. The jury found her guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, but cleared her of racially aggravated assault. The judge sentenced her to 120 hours of community service and ordered her to pay her victim £500 in compensation, as well as £3,000 prosecution costs.

In July 2006, Tweedy married footballer Ashley Cole in Barnet, North West London.

Cheryl Cole has become the title of various songs by various singers. In 2007, Lily Allen included a song entitled Cheryl Tweedy on her debut single Smile. In 2009, Jack Lucien stated in a blog that he had written a song about Cole for his new album.

To the top



Lily Allen

Lily Allen

Lily Rose Beatrice Allen (born 2 May 1985) is an English singer-songwriter. Best known for her songs "Smile", "LDN", "Littlest Things", "Alfie", "Oh My God", "The Fear" and her Mockney style, Allen is the daughter of actor/musician Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen. Allen also hosts her own BBC Three talk show Lily Allen and Friends.

Her single Smile reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in July 2006. In December 2006, her debut album Alright, Still was voted the third best album of the year by Mixmag. In 2007, it was nominated for the award of Best British Album at the BRIT Awards and for Best New Artist at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. The album was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award in the category of "Best Alternative Music Album". Alright, Still has sold over 3,300,000 copies worldwide.

A second album entitled It's Not Me, It's You was released in the UK on 9 February 2009 and the United States on 10 February 2009. In the UK the album debuted at number 1, while the first single from the album ‘’The Fear’’ was number 1 in its first four weeks on the charts. In the United States the album debuted at the number 5 position.

Allen's non-career activities have been the subject of extensive press coverage in both in the tabloid and mainstream media. In 2006 and 2007 Allen made comments critical of other musicians. 2008 saw public incidents that were described as rude, embarrassing or alcohol-fuelled. Allen used her MySpace blog to criticize press coverage and defend and criticize her own behaviour.

Allen was born in Hammersmith, west London, daughter of Welsh-born comedian/actor Keith Allen and English, Portsmouth-born, film producer Alison Owen. She and her family eventually settled in the North London borough of Islington. She has an older sister, Sarah; a younger brother, Alfie Owen-Allen (who was the subject of her song Alfie); and a younger sister Rebecca. She also has a number of half-siblings. Lily Allen lived for a while with comedian Harry Enfield while her mother dated him. She is the god-daughter of Wild Colonials vocalist Angela McCluskey. The late Clash guitarist Joe Strummer is also referred to as a godparent. While not literally true, Strummer was close to and mentored Allen.

In 1988, at the age of 3, Allen appeared on The Comic Strip Presents... episode The Yob, which her father had co-written. When Allen was four years old, her father left the family. Allen claims to have grown up with her mother in a working class environment, living in a council house environment for most of her childhood. This seems at odds with the fact that she attended some of the UK's costliest public schools; Allen attended 13 schools in all, including Prince Charles's junior alma mater, Hill House School, Millfield and Bedales School, and was expelled from several of them for drinking, and smoking.

Allen told Loveline that, when she was 11, she was singing an Oasis tune in the school playground when a teacher overheard her and told her she had talent and suggested she do something with it. She took singing lessons with the teacher. She sang at a school play and claimed that the audience was brought to tears at the sight of a troubled young girl doing something good. At that point Allen said she knew that music was something she needed to do either as a lifelong vocation or to get it out of her system. Allen played piano to grade 5 standard and achieved grade 8 in singing. She also played violin, guitar and trumpet as well as being a member of a chamber choir. Her first solo was In the Bleak Midwinter. According to The Sunday Times the only school that seemed to have a positive impact on her was Cavendish, an all-girl Catholic school located in Camden Town. At Cavendish, Allen played a boy in a production of The Railway Children and sang Baby Mine in Dumbo.

Allen made an appearance as a lady-in-waiting in the 1998 film Elizabeth, co-produced by her mother. She dropped out of school at age fifteen, not wanting to "spend a third of her life preparing to work for the next third of her life, to set herself up with a pension for the next third of her life." After her family went to Ibiza on holiday, Allen told her mother that she was staying with friends but remained in Sant Antoni de Portmany instead. She earned money by working at a Plastic Fantastic record store and dealing in ecstasy.

At the age of 17, Allen became a member of the Groucho Club and in her free time she listened to artists such as The Specials, T.Rex and Happy Mondays.

Allen met her first manager, George Lamb, in Ibiza when he saved her from several assailants and sent her home. Allen was rejected by several labels, which she attributed to her drinking and being the daughter of Keith Allen. Lily eventually used her father's connections to get signed to London Records a part of the Warner Music in 2002. When the executive who had signed her left, the label lost interest and she left without releasing the folk songs many of which were written by her father.

Allen studied horticulture with the intention of becoming a florist, but changed her mind and returned to music. She began writing songs, and her manager introduced her to production duo Future Cut in 2004. They worked in a small studio in the basement of an office building. In 2005, Allen was signed to Regal Records; they gave her £25,000 to produce an album, though they were unable to provide much support for it due to their preoccupation with other releases such as Coldplay's X&Y and Gorillaz's Demon Days.

Allen created an account on MySpace and began posting demos in November 2005. The demos attracted thousands of listeners, and 500 limited edition 7" vinyl singles of LDN were rush-released, reselling for as much as £40. Allen also produced two mixtapes — My First Mixtape and My Second Mixtape — to promote her work: they included tracks by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Dizzee Rascal, and Ludacris. As she accumulated tens of thousands of MySpace friends, The Observer Music Monthly (OMM), a magazine published in The Observer, took interest. Few people outside of her label's A&R department knew who she was, so the label was slow in responding to publications wanting to report about her.

In March 2006, OMM included an article about Allen's success through MySpace. She received her first major mainstream coverage, appearing in the magazine's cover story two months later. The success of her songs convinced her label to allow her more creative control over the album and to use some of the songs that she had written instead of forcing her to work with mainstream producers. Allen decided to work with producers Greg Kurstin and Mark Ronson, finishing the rest of the album in two weeks.

The social networking site was the primary hub for messages of support and condolence following her January 2008 miscarriage. Allen received a 2008 NME Award nomination for the category of "Best Band Blog". As of 9 February 2009, Allen's songs have been downloaded from her MySpace page more than 32 million times.

As of 9 February 2009, Allen had more than 448,000 MySpace friends. She was the fifth most popular musical act of the 2008 according to the social networking site.

Allen used her MySpace blog regularly to discuss personal issues and the controversies surrounding her. By February 2009 she had stopped the practice because "It's boring when people just pick stuff up and write about it. People get hurt, people get upset".

Allen's debut album, Alright, Still, was released as a limited-edition 12" vinyl in the UK on 3 July 2006; the full CD release followed in the UK and the rest of Europe on 17 July 2006. The album features between 11 and 14 tracks (depending on the edition), most of which were previewed on her MySpace page, including the single Smile (the first song she wrote with Future Cut), LDN, Knock 'Em Out, and Alfie. Friday Night, co-written with Jonny Bull, was also included, alongside Littlest Things produced by Mark Ronson, help earn Ronson a "Producer of the Year - Non Classical" 2008 Grammy Award.

In September 2006, Smile was made available on the United States version of Apple Inc.'s iTunes Store. By December 2006, her music video for Smile had been played on various music channels as well as the song getting a little airplay. Entertainment Weekly named Alright, Still as one of the top 10 albums of 2006 despite the fact that it had not yet been released in the U.S. Allen also did several promotional ads for MTV as their Discover and Download artist of the month for January 2007.

On the week ending on 28 January 2007, British artists made chart history taking all top 10 places in the Official UK Albums chart for the first time since the chart was established in 1956, according to British record labels trade association the BPI, the album Alright, Still was number nine that week.

The album was released in the United States on 30 January 2007, landing at 20 on the Billboard Album Charts. Allen won a 2008 BMI songwriting award for Smile. Smile was the first single. The U.S. version contains three additional tracks: Nan, You're A Window Shopper, Blank Expression (on the iTunes version) and a new remix of Smile by Mark Ronson.

On 5 March 2007, Alfie was released. It reached 15 in the UK Singles-Chart. She sang on the Mark Ronson-produced Kaiser Chiefs' song Oh My God.

By January 2009 the album had sold 960,000 copies in the United Kingdom and 520,000 copies in the United States.

Allen said that she cringes when she listens to this album because it reminds her that she was a "sort of over-excitable teenager who desperately wanted attention." when she wrote it.

In April 2008, Allen said she was heading in a "new direction". She posted two new song demos on her MySpace page and planned to release a mixtape to give her fans an idea of what the new direction was. Allen said the new direction was undertaken because: "I did a retro thing last time, and since I did that, a lot of other people did it too. I wanted to separate myself from the group and move forward". For this reason, Allen choose not not to work with Mark Ronson on It's Not Me, It's You.

Allen posted on her MySpace page a partial clip of a song, originally called both "Guess Who Batman" and "Get With the Brogram", but was eventually entitled "Fuck You". The song was originally written about The British National Party but ended up being about George W. Bush Allen had also posted early versions of "The Fear" (then titled "I Don't Know"), "I Could Say", and "Who'd Have Known". By 19 August, there were between 250,000 and one million plays for each song from the album that she has made available to listen to on her MySpace page.

Allen receives most of her music related income from touring and spin-off deals. She receives no income from sales.

The album was released on 9 February 2009 in the United Kingdom and the following day in the United States. The album debuted at the number 1 position in the United Kingdom and Canada, number 2 in Europe,and number 5 in the United States..

The first single from the album The Fear was released digitally on 9 December 2008 and released on CD on 26 January 2009. It entered the chart at number 136 on limited edition and was number 1 for the first four weeks after its official release. This single also topped the first ever Mobile Downloads Chart which is based on sales of full-track downloads to mobile phones in the United Kingdom. The video for the single was released 4 December. Three weeks before its release the single was in top 20 on Nielsen Music Control's U.K. Radio Airplay. In the United States on 12 January, the single was "worked" to Triple A Radio formats then Top 40. The song is based on Allen’s fear that the world will become a sterile place where everything is sponsored. The single is described as an electropop track that discusses celebrity culture.

Other songs on the album include He Wasn't There, a letter to her father one of three songs about immediate family members. Him is about God and includes her favourite line on the record: "Do you think he's ever been suicidal?/ His favourite band is Creedence Clearwater Revival". Not Fair, a humorous song about a lazy lover, includes the lyrics "feeling pretty damn hard done by, I spent ages giving head". Allen has played the song to the person in question and he did not realise the song was about him. 22 was written about a specific person but ended up as a more general song about females who rely on their looks and find at the age of 30, according to Allen, that "it hits them that they're not doing anything with their lives and it's too late". Who'd Have Known is a pastiche of the Take That song Shine. Take That allowed Allen to use the song on the album but turned down an offer to sing and do a video with Allen.. Chinese references take-away food.

On 23 October, Allen released Everyone's At It the first track from the album for download on her MySpace page. The song appears to be a commentary on the drug culture and is expected to cause controversy. It includes the lyrics "I'm not trying to say that I'm smelling of roses but when will we tire of putting shit up our noses... It's meant to be fun and this just doesn't feel right... So you've got a prescription, and that makes it legal. I find those excuses overwhelmingly feeble… The kids are in danger, they're all getting hurt. From what I can see, everyone's at it.".

An online game, Escape the Fear, was been created by Matmi as part of the viral marketing campaign targeted at people unaware of Allen or the album. Players playing the role of Allen must negotiate a series of obstacles standing in the way of Allen's dreams. Since it's release the game has topped the worldwide viral charts 3 times including the the week of Christmas the most hotly contested week of the year. By 18 February, 2009 the game had been played over two million times.

Allen provided backing vocals on the Basement Jaxx song Lights Go Down (from Crazy Itch Radio) and appears on tracks on Robbie Williams's latest album, Rudebox on the Manu Chao-cover Bongo Bong and Je Ne T'Aime Plus (produced by Mark Ronson) and also on Keep On. She also provides vocals on Rawhide by Jamie T. She performed a duet with rapper Dizzee Rascal on the song Wanna Be that appeared on Rascal's Maths + English album. Rapper Common has also collaborated with Allen.

On 30 June 2008, Allen and Klaxons singer Jamie Reynolds announced they were working on a new song and had completed a cover of Joe Jackson's Steppin Out.

Allen and New Young Pony Club provided backing vocals to the song Never Miss a Beat that appears on the Kaiser Chiefs' album Off With Their Heads. The song was released as a single on 6 October 2008. Allen's voice on the song was described as unrecognisable due to Mark Ronson's production. The album was released on the 13 October. Allen was expected to provide vocals for the track Always Happens like That.

Allen wrote a song for the 2008 Shockwaves Awards entitled From Barry to Billericay about comedian James Corden. She contributed the song She's So Lovely and Naive for the soundtrack of the 2008 British comedy film Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.

Allen presented members of Squeeze with their Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award. Glenn Tilbrook later remarked that he really like Allen's cover of Up the Junction.

On 12 December 2008, Mark Ronson premièred Allen's cover version of Britney Spears's song Womanizer on his radio show. Allen in her MySpace blog said Ronson was supposed to "talk all over it so it wouldn't get ripped". Instead Ronson played the song in its entirety and the cover within days had been heard worldwide causing Allen to get into "serious trouble" with her label.. Allen has played the the song at gigs.

In 2007, she played the newly launched Park Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, replacing M.I.A who had cancelled. Saying "it's big shoes to fill, and we're doing it acoustically so it might sound a bit funny" she ended her set singing a cover of Blondie's Heart of Glass. Allen describes this performance as the highlight of the 2006-2008 period In concert, Allen performed a parody of 50 Cent's Window Shopper, called Nan, You're a Window Shopper, which was commercially released as a B-side to LDN, because approval was not given in time for the Alright, Still release. Nonetheless, the song appears on the U.S. version of the album.

Allen performed to positive reviews when Irving Plaza was rechristened as The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza on 11 April 2007.

Allen cancelled a scheduled appearance at the 2008 Isle of Wight Festival telling festival promoter John Giddings the reason for the cancellation was that her album was behind schedule. Giddings said that the reason given was not acceptable and possibly a lie. Giddings decided not to sue her.

On 29 June 2008, Allen performed at the Glastonbury Festival alongside producer Mark Ronson. An emotional Allen dedicated her performance of Littlest Things to her grandmother who died the night before. On 3 July, in a surprise appearance with Ronson at the Wireless Festival, Allen appeared to perform Littlest Things and Oh My God. She forgot some song lyrics.

Allen's first concert to promote It's Not Me, It's You was held 28 January 2009 at Koko in London. It was her first London gig in 18 months. A few days later she played at a gay nightclub where she dressed up as Britney Spears while playing Womanizer. She also dressed up as The Pink Panther and wore a revealing Little Bo Peep romper suit. On 10 February Allen played the first of three scheduled “secret” shows at New York’s Bowery Ballroom sponsored by MySpace. The New York gig was also sponsored by Turbo Tax. Additional shows are scheduled for Tokyo, and London. In March, Allen will undertake a 9 date tour of Great Britain and Ireland. In April 2009, Allen is scheduled to play 14 United States cities and Toronto. She will be backed by Natalie Portman's Shaved Head.

Lily announced in an interview with 4Music, that she will be doing a promo tour in the United Kingdom and Ireland, before reaching America, Toronto, Japan, Australia and other countries, and will return with a full UK tour for the album, and will possibly, tour America and other countries again.

She has been confirmed for the Oxygen Festival and return trip to the T In The Park festival.

Allen signed a one series contract to present her own BBC Three TV show entitled Lily Allen and Friends based on the social networking phenomenon that helped to launch her music career. The singer asked her MySpace friends to suggest the name for the show. The guests on the first show that aired in February 2008 were Cuba Gooding Junior and David Mitchell, and later guests included Mark Ronson, Joanna Page, James Corden, Lauren Laverne, Roisin Murphy, Louis Walsh, and Danny Dyer. The show received a 2% share of the total multi-channel audience share despite a high-profile nationwide marketing campaign. Her third show received a 2.7% share. Allen was quoted in a British tabloid as rating the show "probably five out of 10” and said "I made a lot of money out of it".

The BBC was criticized by several teacher unions for a video shown on Lily Allen and Friends that apparently showed a student running up from behind and pulling down his teachers trousers. The unions said broadcasting this clip was irresponsible and greatly added to the teacher's embarrassment. While introducing the clip Allen called it "kegging" and said "It's very childish, but very funny".

Allen performed for Jools Holland's Hootenanny his 2008 New Years Eve Show. In February 2009, she performed The Fear on GMTV. In the United States she appeared on The Today Show on 10 February and was scheduled to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show,The Tonight Show,and Ellen DeGeneres Show later in the month.

In a May 2007 MySpace blog, Allen wrote that she was "fat, ugly and shitter than Winehouse".

In her blog, Allen blamed the paparazzi for smashing the windows of her car. She wrote that her friend was cut when she sat in the car and that she was angered and upset by what she called a scary situation.

On 23 May 2008, in her MySpace blog, Allen responded to press reporting about her personal life. She denied specific reports about her relationships and behaviour as well as negative characterisations of her personality. She confirmed she likes to swim topless and drink saying this is not embarrassing behaviour for a 23 year old. She said the reporting was sexist and that sometimes she wonders if the journalists are still living in the 1950s.

A man described as a close friend of Allen's and another male were allegedly kidnapped in August 2008 and held for a week before being rescued by the Metropolitan Police. Three men pleaded not guilty to various charges related to the incident on 27 November. Allen thanked the police and gave details of the plot at the 2008 GQ Awards. Former Scotland Yard chief John O'Connor called Allen's releasing the details of the alleged plot "outrageous" saying it may jeopardise the case. The friend involved is also alleged to be upset with Allen's revelations.

Allen was cautioned for common assault in March 2007 after an altercation with the paparazzi. A blown up framed copy of the caution is hung in her home. The following August. Allen was detained at Los Angeles International Airport for five hours and questioned over the incident. At that time her U.S. visa was revoked. On 8 October 2008, her visa was reinstated.

On 2 February, 2009 six youths were arrested after allegedly pelting Allen with snowballs at London's Primrose Hill. Allen was rescued by her bodyguard after a fun day in the snow turned nasty. A man was badly beaten during the incident.

Allen has "Google blog alert on myself, and a Google news alert" on herself which she reads daily. She noted that "if there's anyone to sue, I'll forward it to my lawyer.". Allen claimed her biographical article in Wikipedia is riddled with lies. She disputed claims that were made in the article that she had Kawasaki disease, has paintings by Damien Hirst in her bedroom or ever was a size 12.

As a teenager, Allen spent four weeks at The Priory clinic under 24 hour watch after she took an overdose and tried to cut her wrists. It is claimed that she was distraught over a breakup with her first boyfriend about whom the song Smile was written.

In November 2007, the singer revealed that she has been diagnosed with a heart murmur. The singer sparked concern when she shed 19lbs (8.6kg) in six weeks. Allen explained the weight loss as being the result of cutting back on the "crap" she was eating and going to the gym three times a week to do a "hardcore routine" as a reaction to the diagnosis.

On 16 January 2008, she suffered a miscarriage after returning from holiday with her baby's father, Ed Simons of The Chemical Brothers. The child would have been the first for both parties. Allen said that her miscarriage was "toughest thing I've had to go through in my life" and that it put her in a "very, very dark place". Following the miscarriage, Allen spent three weeks in a psychiatric clinic. Allen was quoted as saying that attending counselling sessions with a therapist has been very helpful for her. While she was in the clinic, Allen lost her position as a juror for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Although the organisation said she resigned, Allen claims she was fired for not attending meetings. In January 2009, Allen told Billboard Magazine "As soon as I feel remotely depressed, I'm checked into a clinic and having intensive therapy". Allen confirmed she has used hypnosis to try to lose weight.

Allen is hetrosexual.

Allen dated Ed Simons of The Chemical Brothers from September 2007 until early 2008. They broke up shortly after Allen suffered her miscarriage.

Allen claims her romantic and sexual life has been inhibited by her fame. She stated that, if she has someone over to her home, she is paranoid about leaving home with him because after being photographed by the paparazzi she has to “justify” a relationship that is not yet understood. When Allen meets a person who is not in show business she wonders "Are they going to walk out of here and be straight on their phone?" Another fear is that the other party is in the relationship for the purpose of getting his picture taken with Allen.

In December 2008, Allen was quoted in a British tabloid as saying "What I really want out of my life is to have children". Allen was also quoted as saying despite enjoying her music career she "certainly wouldn’t want" to mix her music career and motherhood.

Allen claimed a long term estrangement from her older sister ended when the sister realized the song Back To The Start from It's Not Me, It's You was about her. Allen was jealous of her older sister. A temporary rift occurred with her brother Alfie over her song Alfie. Allen worries that other rifts will occurs over other songs she has written about family members on It's Not Me, It's You.

According to The Sunday Times, Allen is surrounded by and socialises with people who tend to be twice her age, a trait she has enjoyed since childhood.

Allen has told various interviewers that as a teenager she experimented with drugs, used ecstasy at age 14, and is a former cocaine user. In August 2008, Allen said "I'm not gonna say I'm never gonna do drugs again. I just know I'm not a good person on drugs".

Allen was a smoker before she gave up the habit during her pregnancy.

In November 2008, Allen briefly stopped drinking alcohol at the suggestion of her therapist and because "got f---ing sick of people saying I was drunk all the time". She started to drink again in January 2009 when she started touring.

Allen is reported to enjoy a "special relationship" with Chanel that is said to include borrowing clothes and jewellery and being flown in to sit in the front row of their shows.

Allen won the 2008 Glamour Woman of the Year Awards "Editors Special Award". Allen was nominated for a Highstreet Fashion Award in the category of "Best Dressed Celebrity". In a readers poll for the weekly British style magazine Look, Allen was named the ninth best style role model.

Allen has been described by the UK edition of Elle Magazine as a person who is not overly trendy in her fashion choices.

Due to her outspokenness, Allen has been the subject of many controversies. Disparaging remarks about musicians Luke Pritchard of The Kooks, Bob Geldof, Cheryl Cole of Girls Aloud, Amy Winehouse, Kylie Minogue, and Katy Perryhave all garnered minor Press attention. She later expressed that making fun of other pop stars were a result of lack of confidence saying "I felt like 'Oh God, I'm short, fat, ugly and I hate all these people who flaunt their beauty'". Photos of her drunk and topless in the Cannes Film Festival were also widely covered in the Press. Her appearance at the 2008 Glamour Awards of the Year also generated criticism, as she showed up intoxicated with a dress depicting decapitated Bambi figures, and had an on-stage, expletively-laced exchange with Elton John. Allen has shown her third nipple on television. Allen feels like she has become a drunk character in a comic. "I wish my comic character wasn't that, but there's nothing can I do".

On January 19, with an interview to MTV UK, she commented on a feud with Katy Perry saying that nothing's actually going on.

In an interview with Q magazine saying "They’re just tits” Allen revealed she has been flashing people for years partially because of her aversion to bras.

Lily Allen has taken an interest in environmental and social concerns. Allen has been credited with helping inspire a parliamentary rebellion against Prime Minister Gordon Brown when she wrote to all members of Parliament asking them to back an amendment to an energy bill. She records at Studio A which is currently the only solar powered studio in Europe.

Allen has been nominated with nine others for the title of Greenest Star in Playhouse for Disney Playhouse's inaugural Playing for the Planet Awards.

Allen performed at a benefit concert for War Child, an international child protection agency that works with children affected by war. Backed by Keane, Allen sang Smile and Everybody’s Changing. The singer and The Clash guitarist Mick Jones performed The Clash’s song Straight to Hell on a album for the charity Heroes scheduled for release 24 February 2009. Allen is scheduled to travel abroad in February 2009 to investigate how the money she earned for the charity is being used.

Allen spoke in favour of equality for gays in an interview with the Gay Times. Allen became the first female on the cover of that publication in 12 years.

Allen received received support from the animal rights organization PETA after a faux fur coat she was spotted wearing was mistaken for a coat made of real fur.

Allen was included on the NME Cool List for 2006. She was voted the third coolest person of the year in NME Magazine. She ranked "Number One Reason to Love '07" and "Hottest Woman of Pop/R&B." in Blender magazine. Allen was also rated number 10 on BBC Three's list of Most Annoying People of 2006. Allen was voted fourth coolest celebrity in a poll taken of 20,000 teenagers by the social networking website Bebo that was released in December 2008.

Rapper Example has recorded a new version of Smile called Vile, which is an answer song written from the perspective of the ex-boyfriend (although he was never actually Allen's boyfriend). Both songs were then parodied by Chris Moyles on his Radio 1 breakfast show in a song called Piles. LDN has spawned an answer song by rapper Sway DaSafo and a remix by UK grime artist JME.

Allen, in an interview with The Word, said that the Press reports only the negative aspects of drug use saying "I know lots of people that take cocaine three nights a week and get up and go to work everyday, no problem at all". British Shadow Home Secretary, Dominic Grieve, called Allen's comments naive saying "There is no doubt that drugs fuel crime and wreck lives". David Haynes head of the British National Drug Prevention Alliance said Allen's remarks cause harm to young people by affecting an already major drug culture. Her spokesperson responding to the criticism said that Allen does not condone drug use and never said in the interview that she condones drug use or thinks it is a good thing. The spokesperson said Allen sympathizes with those affected by drugs and notes when Allen spots signs of people on drugs it terrifies her.

In 2009 Allen is the subject of cover stories for both Spin Magazine and Q Magazine.

To the top



The X Factor (UK)

XFactorTitles.jpg

The X Factor is a British television music talent show contested by aspiring pop singers drawn from public auditions. It is broadcast on Saturday evenings on the ITV Network in the UK and on TV3 in the Republic of Ireland, with spin-off "behind-the-scenes" shows The Xtra Factor and The X Factor 24/7 screened on ITV2 and TV3. The five series of the show to date have all aired from August/September through to December. The show is produced by FremantleMedia's talkbackTHAMES and Simon Cowell's production company SYCOtv and is currently sponsored by The Carphone Warehouse. The "X Factor" of the title refers to the undefinable "something" that makes for star quality.

In the initial televised audition phase of the show, contestants sing in front of the X Factor judges in the hope of getting through to the "boot camp". After a further selection process, the judges are each given a category to mentor and the chosen finalists then progress to the second phase of the competition in which the public vote on live performances. The current judges are: record label owner and music executive Simon Cowell, pop singer and actress Dannii Minogue, music manager Louis Walsh, and Girls Aloud member Cheryl Cole.

The X Factor is the biggest television talent competition in Europe, with 182,000 auditioning for series 5. The prize is a £1,000,000 (sterling) recording contract with record labels Sony BMG and Syco (the latter being creator and judge Simon Cowell's record label), in addition to the publicity that appearance in the later stages of the show itself generates, not only for the winner but also for other highly ranked contestants. The show has proved hugely popular with audiences, with the series 5 final attracting 13.5 million UK viewers (approximately a 55% share). There have been five winners to date: Steve Brookstein, Shayne Ward, Leona Lewis, Leon Jackson and Alexandra Burke respectively. The winner's first single is usually released in the run-up to Christmas in a bid to become the UK's Christmas number one single. As of series 5, each winner's single has entered the UK Singles Chart at number one, four of them being number one at Christmas (see music releases by X Factor contestants).

Versions of The X Factor have also appeared in a number of other countries. The show has become successful throughout the world, most notably in Denmark, Spain, Colombia, Portugal and India.

The first series of The X Factor began in September 2004 and ran to December 2004. It was hugely popular and a second series ran from August to December 2005 . A celebrity special edition The X Factor: Battle of the Stars was shown from May to June 2006. The third series, sponsored by mobile phone manufacturer Nokia, aired from 19 August 2006 and concluded on 16 December 2006. The X Factor producers and creator/judge Simon Cowell subsequently cancelled the show's contract with Nokia, and on 19 June 2007 it was confirmed that mobile phone retailer and ex-Big Brother sponsor The Carphone Warehouse would sponsor series 4. Series 4 began broadcasting on 18 August 2007 and the show was given another three-year contract with ITV, so should run at least until series 7 in 2010. Series 5 ran from August to December 2008, again sponsored by The Carphone Warehouse.

Simon Cowell and ITV have confirmed that series 6 of The X Factor will run from August to December 2009.

Others: Ben Mills, The MacDonald Brothers, Eton Road, Robert Allen, Nikitta Angus, Ashley McKenzie, Kerry McGregor, Dionne Mitchell, 4Sure, The Unconventionals.

Others: Chris Moyles, The Chefs (Jean-Christophe Novelli, Aldo Zilli, Paul Rankin and Ross Burden), Nikki Sanderson, James Hewitt and Rebecca Loos, Michelle Marsh, Gillian McKeith, Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee.

Others: Journey South, Brenda Edwards, Chico Slimani, The Conway Sisters, Nicholas Dorsett, Maria Lawson, Chenai Zinyuku, Phillip Magee, 4Tune, Addictiv Ladies.

Others: Tabby Callaghan, Rowetta Satchell, Cassie Compton, Voices With Soul, 2 To Go, Verity Keays, Roberta Howett.

The show is primarily concerned with identifying singing talent, though appearance, personality, stage presence and dance routines are also an important element of many performances. The single most important attribute that the judges are seeking, however, is the ability to appeal to a mass market of pop fans.

A round of first auditions is held in front of producers months before the show is aired, either by application and appointment, or at "open" auditions that anyone can attend. These auditions, held at various venues around the UK, attract very large crowds. The auditions themselves are not televised, but shots of crowds waving and "judges' cars" arriving are filmed and later spliced in with the televised auditions shot later in the year. Selected candidates are invited back to one or more further auditions in front of the producers, and, if successful, finally called back to audition in front of the judges.

A selection of the auditions in front of the judges – usually the best, the worst and the most bizarre (described by judge Louis Walsh as "the good, the bad and the ugly") – are broadcast over the first few weeks of the show. Each act enters the audition room, often after waiting for hours, and delivers a stand-up unaccompanied performance of their chosen song to the judges. If a majority of the judges (two in series 1–3 or three in series 4) say "yes" then the act goes through to the next stage, otherwise the act is sent home. Much like the earlier Pop Idol, many acts face harsh criticism from the judges, especially from Simon Cowell.

Over 50,000 people auditioned for series 1 of The X Factor, around 75,000 for series 2 and around 100,000 for series 3. The number of applicants for series 4 reached 150,000. A record 182,000 people auditioned for series 5.

The contestants selected at audition are further refined through a series of performances at "boot camp" (held at a venue such as a country hotel or an arena), and then at the "judges' houses", until a small number eventually progress to the live finals (nine in series 1 and twelve in series 2–5). Judge Louis Walsh revealed in November 2007 that the houses the contestants visit do not actually belong to the judges, but are rented for the purpose.

During these stages, the producers allocate each of the judges a category to mentor. In early series this allocation took place after completion of the auditions and prior to boot camp, but from series 4 all four judges have worked together at the boot camp. They collectively choose 24 acts (6 from each category) for the next round, and only then find out which category they are to mentor. The judges then disband for the "visits to the judges' houses" round, where their six acts are reduced to three for the live shows.

The finals consist of a series of two live shows each Saturday evening, usually with one act eliminated each week. These live shows are filmed in studios in London. In the first few weeks of the finals, each act performs once in the first show in front of a studio audience and the judges. Acts usually sing over a pre-recorded backing track, though sometimes live musicians and backing singers are featured. Dancers are also commonly featured. Acts occasionally accompany themselves on guitar or piano (or mime an accompaniment), though almost always over a backing track.

In the first two series acts usually chose a cover of a pop standard or contemporary hit. In the third series an innovation was introduced whereby each live show had a different theme (for example, Motown), thus increasing the show's similarity to the Pop Idol format. This format continued during the most recent fourth and fifth series. The contestants' songs are chosen according to the theme, and a celebrity guest connected to the theme is invited onto the show. Clips are shown of the guest conversing with the contestants at rehearsal, and the guest also performs in the later results show, immediately before the results are announced. (See the series 3, series 4 and series 5 articles for a full list of themes and guests.) In series 1, much was made of the idea that each performer/mentor combination was free to present the performance however they wanted, including the performer playing live instruments, or the addition of choirs, backing bands, and dancers. Future series placed less emphasis on this element.

After each act has performed, the judges comment on their performance, usually focusing on vocal ability, image and stage presence. Heated disagreements, usually involving judges defending their contestants against criticism, are a regular feature of the show. Once all the acts have appeared, the phone lines open and the viewing public vote on which act they want to keep.

In the results show, screened an hour or so later, the two acts polling the fewest votes are revealed. Both these acts perform again in a "final showdown", and the judges vote on which of the two to send home. In earlier series the bottom two contestants reprised their earlier song, but in series 5 they were able to pick new songs. Ties became possible with the introduction of a fourth judge in series 4. In the event of a tie the show goes to deadlock, and the act who came last in the public vote is sent home. The actual number of votes cast for each act is not revealed, nor even the order; according to a spokesman, "We would never reveal the voting figures during the competition as it could give contestants an unfair advantage and spoil the competition for viewers". In series 3, a twist was introduced in one of the live shows where the act with the fewest votes was automatically eliminated, and the two with the next fewest votes performed in the "final showdown" as normal.

Once the number of contestants has been reduced to four (series 1 and 3) or five (series 2, 4 and 5), the format changes. Each act performs twice in the first show, with the public vote opening after the first performance. The second show reveals which act polled the fewest votes, and they are automatically eliminated from the competition (the judges do not have a vote; their only role is to comment on the performances). In series 1 the acts also reprised one of their songs in the second show.

This continues until only two (series 1 and 3) or three (series 2, 4 and 5) acts remain. These acts go on to appear in the grand final which decides the overall winner by public vote. In past series some of the worst or most bizarre failed auditionees from the early rounds have also returned for a special appearance in the final.

The winner of the competition is awarded a recording contract, stated to be worth £1 million, with Syco in association with Sony BMG. In series 5, this deal consisted of a £150,000 cash advance with the balance covering the costs of recording and marketing. Other highly placed contestants may also be offered recording deals, but this is not guaranteed.

In series 1–3, the premise of The X Factor was that the winner would be managed in the industry by their mentor on the show. With music executive Cowell and managers Osbourne and Walsh as judges/mentors, any of the three would be qualified to do so. Following the appointment of singer Dannii Minogue as a judge in series 4, the same principle could not universally apply. In fact, when Minogue won series 4 with Leon Jackson, a new, outside manager was appointed. It is still believed that if Cowell or Walsh wins a future series then they are entitled to manage their act in the industry.

In series 1–2, the winner's debut album would be released a few months after their victory in the show. The album would contain some new material but would consist largely of cover versions. This format changed with series 3 winner Leona Lewis. Simon Cowell, Lewis's X Factor mentor and newly-appointed manager, said: "We could have gone into the studio for a month, made the record quick, and thrown it out. It would have been the wrong thing to do." The success of Lewis' debut album Spirit ensured that the debut albums of future series winners (with Jackson as an example) would consist more of new material than of cover versions.

From series 1 to 3, the X Factor judges were Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh.

After the third series, Walsh was dropped from the show, being replaced by Brian Friedman and Dannii Minogue. After a week, however, Friedman was re-assigned the role of Creative Director because Simon Cowell believed the judging panel was not working. Walsh then resumed his place on the panel, and the series 4 judging lineup was finally confirmed in June 2007 as Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh and Dannii Minogue.

Speculation surrounded judging lineup changes for series 5, centring on whether or not Sharon Osbourne would return. On 6 June 2008 (six days before filming for series 5 was due to begin), ITV confirmed that Osbourne had left the show, and Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole was confirmed as her replacement four days later. It has been confirmed that a number of other artists and managers had been approached regarding Osbourne's replacement, including former Spice Girl Melanie Brown, Paula Abdul, Sinitta, and former Pop Idol judge Pete Waterman. Osbourne stated that she left The X Factor because she did not enjoy working with Dannii Minogue.

During series 5 it was rumoured that judge Dannii Minogue would leave the show after the series' conclusion, and that Sharon Osbourne would return to replace her in series 6. Others tipped to replace Minogue included Robbie Williams, Victoria Beckham, Charlotte Church, Lily Allen, Sinitta and Randy Jackson. However, it was later announced that Minogue had been offered a new contract and agreed to return for series 6. Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Cheryl Cole will return as judges. Simon Cowell has reportedly held discussions about model Kate Moss joining the show as the contestants' "stylist".

The show was hosted up to series 3 by Kate Thornton. Thornton was replaced for series 4 by Dermot O'Leary who signed a contract worth £1 million to present two series of the programme on ITV1. O'Leary was not forced to leave the Big Brother franchise and continued to present Big Brother sister shows during summer 2007. However, Dermot announced that Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack was to be his last Big Brother hosting role so he can focus on presenting The X Factor.

Brian Friedman has continued in his role as performance coach and choreographer (billed as "Creative Director") through series 4 and 5. Yvie Burnett has been X Factor vocal coach since series 2. Voice-overs are provided by Peter Dickson and Enn Reitel.

For information about The Xtra Factor presenters, see The Xtra Factor below.

Simon Cowell (series 1 – present) is an English artist-and-repertoire ("A&R") executive and television personality/producer, best known as a judge on such TV shows as Pop Idol, American Idol, The X Factor, and Britain's Got Talent. He is also the owner of the television production and music publishing house Syco.

Cowell is notorious as a judge for his unsparingly blunt and often controversial criticisms, insults and wisecracks about contestants and their singing abilities, or lack thereof. He is often parodied in pop culture. He is known for combining activities in the television and music industries, having promoted singles and records for various artists, including television personalities. He most recently featured in the seventh season of American Idol and the second series of Britain's Got Talent.

Dannii Minogue (series 4 – present) is an Australian singer and songwriter and occasional actress, model fashion designer and TV personality. Minogue rose to prominence in the early 1980s for her roles in the Australian television talent show Young Talent Time and in the soap opera Home and Away, before commencing her career as a pop singer in the early 1990s. She has released five studio albums to date, and is also a judge on Australia's Got Talent.

Louis Walsh (series 1 – present) is an Irish music manager, who has managed Girls Aloud, Westlife and Boyzone. Walsh's first television work was in 2001, in the Irish version of Popstars. The following year Walsh appeared as a judge on the UK ITV show Popstars: The Rivals with Pete Waterman and Geri Halliwell. Walsh went head to head with Waterman on the show with his all-girl band Girls Aloud battling it out with Waterman's boy band One True Voice. Girls Aloud won and their debut single "Sound of the Underground" reached #1 in the UK. Under Walsh's management the band achieved a million single sales while their debut album went platinum.

Walsh also regularly appears on various talent shows on RTÉ in Ireland, the latest being You're A Star: "You look like a star, you sound like a star... you are a star".

Cheryl Cole (series 5 – present) is a member of the BRIT Award-winning British girlband Girls Aloud. She became a judge on the show in 2008. She is married to the Chelsea and England football player Ashley Cole.

Sharon Osbourne (series 1 – 4) is a British music manager and promoter who became a noted television personality after appearing in reality TV show The Osbournes. She has also appeared as a judge on America's Got Talent. Her husband Ozzy Osbourne is the former singer with heavy metal band Black Sabbath.

Brian Friedman (series 4, London auditions only) is an American choreographer who has worked with some of the best-known performers in the music industry, including Britney Spears.

Paula Abdul (series 3, guest judge during auditions) is a Grammy Award-winning American pop singer, dancer, two-time Emmy Award-winning choreographer, actress and television personality. She is also a judge on American Idol, which also stars Simon Cowell.

In each series, each judge is allocated a category to mentor and chooses a small number of acts (three or four, depending on the series) to progress to the live finals. This table shows, for each series, which category each judge was allocated and which acts he or she put through to the live finals.

For more detail see The X Factor (UK) Categories.

Viewing figures of around ten million were claimed for series 2 and 4, and eleven to twelve million for series 5. Over three million public votes were cast in the series 2 semi-final, and six million in the first part of the final. The series 3 final attracted eight million votes and 12.6 million viewers. The series 4 final drew 12.7 million viewers – a 55% share of the terrestrial TV audience. In series 5, 12.8 million tuned in to see the 29 November 2008 show featuring guest Britney Spears, a new X Factor record. The series 5 final peaked with 14.6 million viewers.

At the British Comedy Awards 2005, The X Factor beat Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway to take the award for Best Comedy Entertainment Programme, prompting Simon Cowell to remark "We're not a comedy programme, we're a serious factual drama". The award was presented by Ricky Gervais. In both 2005 and 2006, The X Factor won the award for "Most Popular Entertainment Programme" at the National Television Awards. At the same awards in 2007 the show won the "Most Popular Talent Show" category. Series 1–3 judges Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh were present to receive the awards.

The show has rated higher than its BBC 1 counterpart. It rates as ITV's most popular programme whilst it airs, and is the first format (along with Britain's Got Talent) in years to knock Coronation Street off the top.

The programme has typically been an awards show favourite, having been crowned "Best Talent Show" for two years. However, it has more recently lost out to Strictly Come Dancing at the TV Quick Awards, TRIC Awards and National Television Awards, all in 2008, despite overtaking it in the ratings.

Series 1–4 of the "UK" version of The X Factor effectively included the Republic of Ireland on an equal footing, and viewers in the republic were able to vote in these series via SMS or telephone. However for series 5 in 2008, the decision was made to discontinue Republic of Ireland voting, with the decision being blamed on new regulations introduced regarding phone competitions in the UK. The first series was available to viewers only through the Northern Ireland based ITV station UTV which is widely available in the Republic of Ireland, but subsequent series have been shown on the Republic's terrestrial TV station TV3. The show has held auditions in Dublin and Belfast for only the first 4 series. Acts from the Republic reached the finals in series 1 (Tabby Callaghan and Roberta Howett) and series 2 (The Conway Sisters). Northern Irish finalists have included Phillip Magee (series 2) and Eoghan Quigg (series 5).

The Xtra Factor is a companion show that airs on digital channel ITV2 and on TV3 Ireland on Saturday nights. It features behind-the-scenes footage of The X Factor and shows the emotional responses of the contestants after the judges comment on their performances.

Cameras follow the finalists during their day, and some of the footage is aired in a spin-off show The Xtra Factor: The Aftermath, which is broadcast in the middle of the week on ITV2. The Xtra Factor: Xcess All Areas is a live show in which there are interviews, games and trips around the contestants' homes. The show also lets viewers know which songs the contestants will be singing in the next live show.

The Xtra Factor was hosted up to series 3 by Ben Shephard. The voiceover on series 1 to 3 was Peter Dickson. Shephard did not return for series 4 after being upset at not getting the main ITV presenting job, and Fearne Cotton took over as host, for the fourth series only, before leaving the show to concentrate on her career in the US. Allegations of a falling-out with Simon Cowell were also reported. For series 5, Cotton was replaced by presenter and close friend, Holly Willoughby. Willoughby first presented The Xtra Factor on 9 August 2008, a week before series 5 began airing. The first show recapped on series 4 of The X Factor and revisited the series 4 finalists.

The X Factor Live is a live show that tours the UK and Ireland in the new year, following the conclusion of the TV series. It features an array of finalists and other memorable contestants from the most recent X Factor series.

The X Factor: Battle of the Stars was a celebrity special edition of The X Factor, which screened on ITV, starting on 29 May 2006 and lasting for eight consecutive nights. Pop Idol was meant to air in its place as Celebrity Pop Idol but was stopped shortly before transmission, when ITV picked The X Factor over it.

Nine celebrity acts participated, singing live in front of the nation and facing the judges of the previous The X Factor series, Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh. Voting revenues were donated to the celebrities' chosen charities.

The contestants were Michelle Marsh, Nikki Sanderson, Matt Stevens, Lucy Benjamin, Gillian McKeith, Chris Moyles, Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee, James Hewitt and Rebecca Loos, and "The Chefs", a quartet of celebrity chefs comprising Jean-Christophe Novelli, Aldo Zilli, Paul Rankin and Ross Burden.

The winner of the show was Lucy Benjamin, mentored by Louis Walsh.

It was reported on 26 August 2006 that Simon Cowell had axed the show, describing it as "pointless" and adding "we are never going to do it again".

In series 1, tabloid reports claimed that the show was fixed, after judge Louis Walsh allegedly cheated and tried to help a band that he had previously managed to get through to the final stages. Footage of Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne coaching contestants to argue back to the judges was also being sold over the Internet to the highest bidder.

Shortly before the first ever live show, Sharon Osbourne claimed that Simon Cowell had "rigged" the show by editing footage to make his contestants more appealing to viewers.

The show received a record number of complaints in December 2004, after Sharon Osbourne made a verbal attack on Steve Brookstein in the series 1 finale. As a result, her future on the show was uncertain, but she later made an apology and was allowed to return.

Osbourne and Walsh were criticised in series 2 for tactical voting, due to an alleged pact against Simon Cowell carried forward from the first series. Later in the same series Walsh was heavily criticised for casting the deciding vote to keep Irish group The Conway Sisters in the show at the expense of the popular Maria Lawson, especially after it was revealed that he had worked with the Conways personally prior to the show. The Conway Sisters had supported Westlife, a band managed by Walsh, on one of their tours.

On one occasion, Louis Walsh announced after the live Saturday show that he would quit the series, claiming that the other two judges had been "bullying" him. This included various verbal assaults on Walsh, and Sharon Osbourne even throwing water over him, live on air. Walsh's announcement was claimed by many to be a publicity stunt, especially when he decided to return to the show the following Saturday night.

In series 5, during a live broadcast, Dannii Minogue broke down in tears after fellow judge Louis Walsh accused her of "stealing" a song for one of her acts that he had wanted for one of his (even though, according to that week's judges' rota, Minogue had priority). In press reports earlier in the week, Walsh had called Minogue "cold and heartless" for vetoing his song choice. Fellow judge Simon Cowell came to Dannii Minogue's defence and twice rounded on Walsh, forcing him to apologise to Minogue over his treatment of her. Going into a commercial break, Minogue left the panel to go backstage, as did fellow judge Cheryl Cole (who, as revealed on This Morning the following Monday, had left the panel to comfort Minogue, further disproving rumours that there was tension between the two judges). By the end of the break Minogue had not returned, but during a contestant VT she appeared back on the panel and continued with the rest of the show. Later on the ITV2 broadcast, Cowell once again defended Minogue's actions and called Walsh "childish".

In series 3, one boyband, called Avenue, were accused of cheating. It emerged that they already had a management deal with music mogul Ashley Tabor, who reportedly hoped to use the show in order to publicise the boys. It was also revealed that one of the members, Jamie Tinker, once had a recording contract with Simon Cowell's recording company SonyBMG, though this was judged not to be against the rules of the show. The boys later lost their places in the final 12, though they insisted that they were not cheats.

During series 4 the producers discovered that Sisi Jghalef, a member of six-piece girl group Hope, had a criminal conviction in contravention of the show's rules. Sisi was asked to leave, and Hope, who had already been selected as finalists, continued as a five-piece.

Later in series 4, 15-year-old Emily Nakanda pulled out of the show after being discovered in a "happy slapping" video, in which she apparently attacked another girl. Both her mentor, Sharon Osbourne, and her family were said to be upset with her behaviour. She was given the option of leaving of her own accord or being forced out, and she chose to withdraw.

The lowering of the minimum contestant age from 16 to 14 in series 4 attracted criticism from some quarters. Groups such as the Family and Parenting Institute expressed concern that children of this age might be not be sufficiently emotionally robust to cope with the experience. The minimum age has been put back to 16 for series 6.

After the second audition episode of series 5 had aired, Simon Cowell vowed to make changes to the show by reducing the emphasis on contestants' "sob stories", conceding that they had been "out of hand" in the previous series and viewers were "starting not to believe them".

Series 5 auditionee Alan Turner was later criticised in the press for allegedly lying to the judges in his original audition. Turner had told the panel that he had been fostered since the age of four, did not know his real parents and had been sexually abused aged four, but his father and uncle publicly disputed the claims. Producers vowed to stand by the hopeful, who had been put through to boot camp, insisting that his place on the show was "never in jeopardy". Meanwhile, Turner insisted that the show's editing had made him appear dishonest. His mother later claimed that her son had made false claims which had "hurt beyond belief". In one episode, Simon Cowell was shown to have asked Alan face-to-face whether his story was true, and was satisfied that indeed it was. Ultimately, however, Turner would be eliminated at the final stage before the live shows.

There is anecdotal evidence from blogs and discussion forums that some of the first-round X-Factor audition sessions held in front of the producers have been poorly organised, with auditionees forced to wait for many hours outside in the cold with few facilities and little information about when they will be seen. Attendees have also complained about queue-jumping, exorbitantly priced refreshments, the very short period of audition time that they are given, and the fact that selection decisions are left in the hands of unqualified production staff. It has been alleged that some of the "open" audition events are simply an opportunity for producers to get shots of large crowds, rather than a serious attempt to find talented contestants.

It is claimed that some talentless contestants — described by one journalist as "sad no-hopers picked so the judges can mock them" — are deliberately sent forward to the televised audition rounds simply to provide entertainment value. The fact that auditionees will have had to attend as many as four producers' auditions before being selected to face the celebrity judges lends considerable credence to this claim.

There have been suggestions that much of the controversy surrounding the show, such as the bickering between the judges, is deliberately orchestrated to attract publicity, and that some supposedly "spontaneous" scenes are rehearsed or refilmed.

Several contestants have alleged that they were manipulated by the show's producers. Series 4 finalist Rhydian Roberts reportedly complained that he was "stitched up" and "unfairly edited to look like an idiot", and in series 5 Rachel Hylton claimed that she was "set up" and "exploited" by TV bosses.

Simon Fuller, the creator of Pop Idol, claimed that the format of The X Factor was copied from his own show, and, through his company 19 TV, filed a lawsuit against The X Factor producers FremantleMedia, Simon Cowell and Cowell's companies Simco and Syco. A High Court hearing began in London, England in November 2005, and the outcome was awaited with interest by media lawyers for its potential effect on the legal situation regarding the copyrighting of formats. However, in the event the hearing was quickly adjourned and an out-of-court settlement was reached at the end of the month.

After series 3, it was discovered that ITV had overcharged viewers who voted via interactive television by a total of approximately £200,000. ITV said a data inputting error was to blame and that they would refund anybody affected on production of a telephone bill. They also indicated that they would make a £200,000 donation to Childline. This error, and those by other broadcasters, eventually led to a temporary suspension of all ITV's phone-in services on 5 March pending an audit and meeting with ICSTIS. The suspension of phone-in programming also saw ITV Play "temporarily" taken off air. ITV Play never came back, and was replaced on Freeview by ITV2+1.

In October 2007, it emerged that "serious technical issues" had resulted in viewer votes being ignored in the series two final, though it was found that the problems did not "alter the actual outcome" of the vote. ITV put in place a scheme which allowed affected consumers to be offered refunds.

Following the result of the series 4 final, won by Leon Jackson, media watchdog Ofcom received a number of complaints from viewers who said that they were unable to register their vote for Rhydian Roberts, despite trying up to ten times. After complaints topped 1,100, ITV issued a statement which assured viewers that "Leon won The X Factor fair and square" and did so with a winning margin of 10%. A subsequent Ofcom investigation found that Roberts had not been unfairly disadvantaged and that 0.99% of viewers that called couldn't get through to vote for Roberts, compared to 1% for Jackson.

Controversy about X Factor voting arose again in week 5 of series 5 following the surprise elimination of Laura White, who had been considered one of the most talented finalists. Thousands of viewers complained to Ofcom about a lack of transparency in the voting, saying that they could not get through to vote for White, or that their votes had been miscounted. ITV denied all allegations, stating that there were "absolutely no issues with the phone lines or the voting system".

In series 4, media watchdog Ofcom upheld a complaint that The Xtra Factor had inappropriately featured close-up shots of the products of then sponsor Nokia.

Several singles released by contestants in The X Factor have reached the top twenty in the UK Singles Chart, eight of them reaching number one. Following the release of Leona Lewis' single "Bleeding Love", the series 3 winner became the most successful reality TV contestant of all time, with the song reaching the number one spot in 34 countries around the world, including on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. Though other contestants have also had chart success, only Leona Lewis has achieved any significant success on an international scale, with her second worldwide single, "Better in Time", sharing similar success to its predecessor. Shayne Ward has also had chart success in parts of Asia and South Africa, as well as becoming a success in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Czech Republic in mid-2008.

Four winners' singles in a row have achieved the Christmas number one spot: "That's My Goal" (Shayne Ward), "A Moment Like This" (Leona Lewis), "When You Believe" (Leon Jackson) and "Hallelujah" (Alexandra Burke).

This first list includes only contestants with at least one certified album, and the totals do not include pre-X-Factor recordings, digital-only albums or EPs. "Weeks on Chart" refers to weeks spent on the official UK Top 75 Albums Chart.

To the top



Girls Aloud

Girls Aloud in the music video for "Biology".  From left to right: Kimberley Walsh, Sarah Harding, Nadine Coyle, Cheryl Cole & Nicola Roberts.

Girls Aloud are a British girl group that were created on the ITV1 talent show Popstars: The Rivals in 2002. The group, consisting of Cheryl Cole, Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts, and Kimberley Walsh, have been successful in achieving a string of 20 consecutive Top 10 singles (including four number ones), two number ones albums, and having been nominated for four BRIT Awards, winning Best Single in 2009 for "The Promise".

Girls Aloud hold the record for the shortest time between formation and reaching number one in the UK Charts (with their platinum-selling début single "Sound of the Underground"), and have since become one of the few UK reality television acts to achieve continued success. Guinness World Records lists them as "Most Successful Reality TV Group" in the 2007 edition, and they also hold the record for "Most Consecutive Top Ten Entries in the UK by a Female Group" in the 2008 edition, with 15 consecutive top tens from "Sound of the Underground" in 2002 through to "Walk This Way" in 2007.

Girls Aloud were formed on 30 November 2002, in front of millions of viewers on the ITV1 programme Popstars: The Rivals. The concept of the programme, hosted by Big Brother presenter Davina McCall, was to produce a boyband and a girlband who would be 'rivals' and compete for the 2002 Christmas number one single. Following the initial success of Hear'Say (winners of the original Popstars show), several thousand applicants attended auditions across the UK in hope of being selected. Ten men and ten women were chosen as finalists by judges Pete Waterman, Louis Walsh and Geri Halliwell. However, two of these were disqualified before the live shows began: Hazel Kaneswaren was found to be too old to participate whilst Nicola Ward refused to sign the contract, claiming the pay the group would receive was too poor. Kimberley Walsh and Nicola Roberts, who had made it into the final fifteen but not the final ten, were chosen as their replacements.

During October and November, the finalists took to the stage participating in weekly Saturday night live performances (alternating week-by-week between the girls and boys). Each week the contestant polling the fewest phone votes was eliminated, until the final line-ups of the groups emerged. The five girls who made it into the group were (in order) Cheryl, Nicola, Nadine, Kimberley and Sarah; Javine Hylton missed out on a place in the group, despite previous expectations that she would be placed in the line-up. The group were named Girls Aloud and were originally managed by Louis Walsh until 2005 when Hilary Shaw replaced him. The runners-up, a boy band called One True Voice, were managed by Pete Waterman.

The two groups competed for the number one position in the Christmas week UK singles chart. Girls Aloud won the battle with their single "Sound of the Underground" (produced by Brian Higgins and Xenomania) which stayed at number one for four weeks. Disney Channel viewers later voted this as best single of 2002–2003 at the Disney Channel Kids Awards. Originally tipped to be more successful than the girls, One True Voice released just two singles before disbanding in the summer of 2003.

After the success of their first single "Sound of the Underground", the newly formed group took several months to record their début album. Also entitled Sound of the Underground, this was released on 26 May 2003 and entered the charts at number two. One of the tracks, "Girls Allowed", was written for the group by ex-Westlife star Bryan McFadden, while "Some Kind of Miracle" was co-written by former B*Witched member Edele Lynch. The group's second single, the number two hit "No Good Advice", was also released in May 2003, and the third single, "Life Got Cold", charted at number three in August 2003.

In November 2003, the group released "Jump"—a cover of the Pointer Sisters' 1980s dance hit. The song featured on the soundtrack to the 2003 film Love Actually, and entered the chart at number two. The album went platinum after a re-issue was released on 1 December 2003. The new version of Sound of the Underground featured a new album cover and the replacement of three original songs with "Jump" (which was not included on the original version), "You Freak Me Out" (which appeared on the soundtrack of Freaky Friday) and "Girls on Film" (a cover of a Duran Duran song originally a B-side to "Life Got Cold"). "You Freak Me Out" was included on release schedules and was performed on CD:UK in early 2004, with presenter Cat Deeley stating that it would be their next single. However, the plans for this release were scrapped as work began on a second album. Sound of the Underground stayed on the top 75 chart for 20 non-consecutive weeks, over a period of more than three years (it re-entered in December 2006).

After a brief break, the group returned in June 2004 to promote their new single "The Show", the first release from their second album. It had an unusual structure for a pop song, consisting of a number of interchanged sections rather than the more typical verse-chorus form. This single showed off a new look for the group and was backed by a pre-release promotional campaign featuring five empty chairs bearing the members' names. This built up excitement over the new look, and the image later featured on the single cover with the members in their seats. When released, the single entered the charts at number twenty two. The follow-up release, "Love Machine", also peaked at number two in September 2004. "Psychosocial" was nominated for ITV's The Record of the Year and finished in sixth place. Their seventh single, a cover of The Pretenders' hit "I'll Stand by You", reached the number one position on the UK singles chart in November 2004, and stayed there for two weeks. This was 2004's single for the Children In Need appeal with its proceeds going towards the charity.

What Will the Neighbours Say? was released on 29 November 2004 and entered the album charts at number six. The album featured the production and song writing skills of Xenomania. The album's immediate success led to the girls announcing their first What Will the Neighbours Say? Live tour, which took place in May 2005. What Will the Neighbours Say? received excellent reviews; most critics deemed it an improvement on their début release. The final single to be taken from this album was "Wake Me Up", released in February 2005. It charted at number four—their first to miss the top three, but their eighth top-five single. In early 2005, the group won Glamour Magazine's "Band of the Year" award, and were also nominated for a BRIT Award for Best Pop Act.

After a short break following their first tour, the group began work on their third studio album, Chemistry. The first single from the album, "Long Hot Summer", was released in August 2005 and charted at number seven, ending their consecutive top five run but continuing their unbroken run of top ten singles. The single that launched their third album was "Biology" which peaked at number four. Chemistry was released on 5 December 2005. The album peaked on the charts at number eleven, their lowest so far, despite overwhelming critical acclaim; it has also gone platinum.

Their cover of Dee C. Lee's "See the Day", released in the Christmas week of 2005, charted at number nine. "See the Day" became Girls Aloud's biggest hit in terms of radio airplay since "Sound of the Underground", peaking at number six due to its success on stations such as BBC Radio 2. Girls Aloud released their début DVD Girls on Film in June 2005, featuring their first eight music videos and television performances. It peaked at number five on the DVD Music chart. This was followed by the What Will the Neighbours Say? Live DVD in November 2005, which reached number six. The group travelled to Australia and New Zealand in February 2006 to release the single "Biology" and the album Chemistry. Arriving on 23 February, the group undertook a one-week promotional tour, during which they appeared on many TV shows. "Biology" peaked at number twenty-six in the Australian singles chart, failing to break the group in the Australian market.

In September 2006, the official Girls Aloud web site confirmed the release of The Sound of Girls Aloud, a compilation that contains Girls Aloud's singles and some new and previously unreleased material. The album was released on 30 October 2006, and débuted at number one on the UK album chart. The album was also released on a limited edition double CD format containing live tracks such as "I Predict a Riot" and previously unavailable tracks such as "Singapore" and "Hanging on the Telephone", a cover of the Blondie single; this has now become a highly priced collectors' item.

The lead single from the album, "Something Kinda Ooooh", was released in October 2006. Girls Aloud became the first British act to reach the top five purely on download sales, with the song entering at number five; it peaked at number three following a physical release. The next single, "I Think We're Alone Now",—the official theme of the film It's a Boy Girl Thing, and previously a hit single for Tommy James and The Shondells (in 1967) and for Tiffany (in 1987)—was the third time the group have entered the Christmas chart battle. The single peaked at number four, making it Girls Aloud's fourteenth consecutive top ten and eleventh top five.

Girls Aloud collaborated with the Sugababes on their fifteenth single, a cover of the song "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith. The track was released in March 2007 as the official single for Comic Relief, as "Sugababes vs. Girls Aloud". It became the group's third British number-one, and their fifteenth consecutive top-ten single. In May 2007, Girls Aloud went on their third tour, The Sound of Girls Aloud: The Greatest Hits Tour. During the tour, the group appeared at 15 arenas across the UK and Ireland. The supporting acts for this tour were Misha Williams, Natalia and Rogue Traders.

The song "Sexy! No No No...", the first single from Girls Aloud's fourth studio album, was released in August 2007 and reached number five on the UK Singles Chart. The album, Tangled Up, was released on 19 November 2007, debuting on the UK Albums Chart at number four. Their seventeenth single, "Call the Shots", was released in the UK one week later, and rose to number three to give the band their tenth top three single. It spent nineteen weeks in the top fifty.

Girls Aloud received their second BRIT Award nomination in 2008, nominated for the Best British Group award. Tangled Up was also certified Platinum in January. The third and final single from Tangled Up was "Can't Speak French". The single was released in March 2008, with a French version and "Hoxton Heroes", a satirical track aimed towards indie bands, as B-sides. It entered the official UK charts at number nine, continuing their consecutive run of top ten singles. In May and June 2008, Girls Aloud embarked on the Tangled Up Tour—their third arena tour, and fourth overall. They played a total of 34 concerts around the UK, including 24 arenas and 11 open air venues, making this tour their longest yet. They were scheduled to play 13 open air venues, but due to the bad weather, two of the concerts were cancelled.

In May 2008, the group confirmed that they had begun working on their fifth studio album. The first single from the album, "The Promise", was released in October 2008, followed by the album, Out of Control, on 3 November. Girls Aloud said that it was their "most exciting and thrilling album yet". "The Promise" became their fourth number one on the UK Singles Chart, selling more than 77,000 singles in its first week of release—this made it the fastest selling single of 2008 up to that point. Out of Control followed suit when it entered at number one on the UK Albums Chart. The single returned the group to the top two on the Irish Singles Chart, while the album became their first top ten on the Irish Albums Chart since Sound of the Underground. "The Loving Kind" was released as the album's second single on 12 January 2009. The song, co-written by Pet Shop Boys, became the girls' twentieth consecutive top ten single. It was, however, their lowest charting single to date charting at number ten in the UK Singles Chart and sixteen in the Irish Singles Chart.

Girls Aloud also performed at the BRIT Awards for the first time in their careers in 2009. They were nominated for Best British Group and Best British Single ("The Promise"). They won the award for Best Single, their first ever BRIT Award but lost out to Elbow for Best British Group. The Out of Control Tour is scheduled to commence in April, and Girls Aloud will support Coldplay at Wembley Stadium on 18 September 2009.

In February 2009, it was announced that Girls Aloud had signed a new record deal with Fascination which will see the group release another three albums, with the next album being released in 2010. Girls Aloud are also set to release Out of Control in continental Europe in the near future, with a television advertisement tie-in in Germany.

The next single by the group is set to be Untouchable. The song will be released in April to coincide with the Out of Control Tour. This was confirmed on the girls official website on February 20th.

Girls Aloud also appeared on the 2007 compilation Radio 1: Established 1967, celebrating the 40th anniversary of BBC Radio 1, with a cover of Wheatus' "Teenage Dirtbag", as well as singing backing vocals on Franz Ferdinand's cover of David Bowie's "Sound and Vision". In addition to these appearances, Girls Aloud recorded two tracks for the soundtrack to the new St Trinian's movie ("Theme to St. Trinian's" and "On My Way to Satisfaction"). They also make a cameo appearance in the film as the school band. The soundtrack was released on 10 December 2007, and the video for "Theme to St. Trinian's" premiered in mid December 2007. On 6 January 2008, "Theme to St. Trinian's" became the first Girls Aloud song to enter the UK Singles Chart without any plans of a physical release, peaking at number fifty-one. Additionally, the girls also performed a cover of Robyn's hit 'With Every Heartbeat' for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge in 2007.

In April 2008, Cheryl Cole had a guest role on will.i.am's song "Heartbreaker". She provided backing vocals and appeared in the song's music video. The song peaked at number 4. Sarah Harding will also appear on a song with The Filthy Dukes for the 2008 film Wild Child. She will perform a cover of Iggy Pop's reindition of the Johnny O'Keefe song "Wild Child".

Girls Aloud's backing vocals appear on Norwegian pop singer Annie's second album Don't Stop, on "My Love Is Better". However, their mutual producer Brian Higgins reportedly didn't ask for permission, which upset Girls Aloud. Annie herself revealed in an interview that "Brian asked them if they'd like to help out. They were really up for it and came into my studio and it was really fun." The issue was resolved and the song will remain on Annie's album.

Girls Aloud recorded a six-part fly on the wall documentaryTelevision program|series]] for E4 entitled Girls Aloud: Off the Record, which started its run on 11 April 2006. The series was filmed during the "Chemistry" era, and focused on the band's promotional activities, including the shooting of the "Biology" video and the lead-up to and aftermath of the release of "Whole Lotta History". It also showed the band travelling abroad, to places such as Greece, Paris, Shanghai and Australia. A DVD of the series was released on 4 September 2006 after several release date changes. This included an unaired episode and subsequently reached number four on the Music DVD Chart.

The Girls starred in a new television series on ITV2, Passions of Girls Aloud, broadcast from 14 March to 4 April 2008 and coinciding with the third single release from Tangled Up. The premise of the show is the girls achieving something that they have always wanted to do. It was reported on the 13 November 2007 that Nadine would not be taking part. This is said to be due to the programme's bosses refusing to let her undertake charity work.

Girls Aloud appeared in a variety show entitled The Girls Aloud Party. The show aired on 13 December 2008 on ITV for the Christmas season. Girls Aloud performed hits and revealed their Christmas single, as well chatting to showbiz pals and performing comic sketches. Cilla Black and Julie Goodyear appeared as Nicola Roberts' grandmother and Sarah Harding's mother, respectively, in some of the sketches. The programme was first advertised after The X Factor on 29 November 2008.

In 2005, Girls Aloud filmed a one-off documentary entitled Girls Aloud: Home Truths. This would later make way for Off the Record. A year later, they appeared in an episode of Ghosthunting with... (without Nadine), in which Yvette Fielding guided them through haunted locations. In April 2007, Girls Aloud filmed a cameo appearance in the new St. Trinian's movie, playing the school band. The film was released in the UK on 21 December 2007, with Girls Aloud providing two songs for the movie (see St. Trinian's: Original Soundtrack). The Girls also make a cameo appearance in the Oasis documentary, Lord Don't Slow Me Down. In addition to their live concerts, Girls Aloud have released two other DVDs – Girls On Film and Style.

Girls Aloud were reportedly looking at film scripts. Kimberley Walsh said "We want it to be a Friends and Sex and the City kind of thing, all morphed into one," while Nicola Roberts added: "We'd really like the chance to do some more acting. We've been given a lot of dodgy scripts — they were all awful." Kimberley and Nicola made a cameo appearance in the family drama show Britannia High which was aired in the UK this autumn. Whilst Sarah has starred in the feature film Bad Day as Jade Jennings and is set to be starring in a BBC film called Freefall in 2009.

Cheryl Cole is a judge on the fifth series of The X Factor, replacing Sharon Osborne. Cheryl has said that "whilst we get started on the next album, it will be brilliant to be a judge on The X Factor." Her fellow judge Louis Walsh was a judge on Popstars: The Rivals and formerly managed Girls Aloud. Cheryl's category on the X Factor was the 14 to 24 Girls, and her act Alexandra Burke made it to the final, and eventually won.

Girls Aloud's website confirmed on 8 April 2008 that the girls will be co-writing an autobiography, titled Dreams That Glitter – Our Story. The book, named after a lyric in "Call the Shots", was published in October 2008 through the Transworld imprint Bantam Press. The book looks at the rise of the band, as well as the girls' individual life stories. In addition to these insights, Dreams That Glitter also includes fashion tips, celebrity gossip and never-before-seen photos of the band. Before the release, OK! magazine bought the rights to preview and serialise the book.

The group remain constant tabloid fodder. Tweedy's relationship with footballer Ashley Cole has kept her in the papers, especially during the 2006 World Cup in June and July 2006. A "cheating" scandal received widespread tabloid coverage in February 2008. Coyle and Harding have regularly featured in the tabloids because of their Hollywood relationships. Coyle was dating Jesse Metcalfe of Desperate Housewives until January 2008, when Coyle ended it. Harding was rumoured to be seeing Stephen Dorff, and she also dated Daily Star writer Joe Mott, although the couple have since split up.

In 2007, Girls Aloud signed a one-year deal to endorse hair care brand Sunsilk. The endorsement was reportedly worth £1.25m. The girls filmed a television advertisement, and magazine advertisements also ran, with each of the five members being the face of a different shampoo. The same year, Girls Aloud also sealed a deal with the UK division of Samsung. They endorsed mobile phones and MP3 players, made personal appearances and sang at Samsung events, and contributed to competition prizes, among other activities. The Samsung F210 Purple came with a 1GB memory card featuring Girls Aloud content.

In March 2008, the girl group signed a deal to front an ad campaign for a new low-calorie KitKat bar called "Senses". The chocolate bar manufacturer also sponsored Girls Aloud's Tangled Up Tour. The exact worth of the endorsement is unknown, but a figure of £500,000 each has been suggested. Later in 2008, Girls Aloud appeared in television advertisements for Nintendo DS.

Girls Aloud have a number of celebrity fans including the Jonas Brothers, Matt Helders, Chris Martin, Duff McKagan, and Neil Tennant. They have had their music covered by artists as varied as Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Billy Corgan, Coldplay, and Mark Morriss.

Bloc Party covered the song Call The Shots for Radio1's Live Lounge, frontman Kele Okereke said that they were his "favourite band at the moment, every new song seems to get better and better".

To the top



Dannii Minogue

Minogue as a regular performer on the weekly music program Young Talent Time.

Danielle Minogue (born 20 October 1971) is an Australian singer, occasional actress, and TV Personality. Minogue rose to prominence in the early 1980s for her roles in the Australian television talent show "Young Talent Time", and in the soap opera Home and Away, before commencing her career as a pop singer in the early 1990s.

Minogue achieved early success with hits such as "Love and Kisses" and "This is It", though by the release of her second album, her popularity as a singer had declined, leading her to concentrate on other fields such as television presenting. The late 1990s saw a brief return to music after Minogue reinvented herself as a dance artist with "All I Wanna Do", her first number one UK Club hit. In 2001, Minogue further returned to musical success with the release of her biggest worldwide hit to date, "Who Do You Love Now?", while her subsequent album, Neon Nights, became the most successful of her career. In the UK, she has achieved eleven consecutive number one dance singles, becoming the best performing artist on the UK Upfront Club Chart. Minogue is currently signed to All Around The World and, in 2006, released her second official "best of" compilation, The Hits and Beyond. She is currently a judge on Australia's Got Talent and The X Factor.

Minogue's private life, including her marriage to Australian actor Julian McMahon and engagement to both Canadian Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve and former Bros band member Craig Logan, has been much discussed in the media.

Minogue was born in Melbourne, Australia, to Ron Minogue, an Australian accountant and Carol Jones, a dancer from Maesteg, Wales. She is the youngest of three children; her sister, Kylie, is a pop singer, and her brother, Brendan, is a news cameraman in Australia.

Minogue began her career as a child on Australian television. From the age of seven, she had appeared in several soap operas, including Skyways and The Sullivans. In 1981, she joined the successful weekly music programme Young Talent Time. Minogue recorded her first solo recordings for the programme, including a cover version of Madonna's hit single "Material Girl"; during this time, she also performed live at several sold-out nationwide concert tours. In 1988, Minogue departed from Young Talent Time to continue her acting career, appearing as the rebellious tomboyish teenager Emma Jackson on the soap opera Home and Away. Minogue remained on the programme for only a year, but proved to be popular among Australian audiences when she was nominated for a "Silver Logie" for the country's "Most Popular Actress on Australian television".

In September 1988, Minogue released her own fashion range entitled Dannii. She became interested in fashion design while appearing on Young Talent Time. Minogue had designed the clothing she had worn on the show, and the positive response from the audience resulted in her releasing her one line. Minogue's debut line Dannii sold out across Australia in ten days, and was followed by three additional summer lines in 1989.

Minogue signed a recording contract with Australian-based Mushroom Records in January 1989. Her first album, Dannii, was released the following year and reached number twenty-four on the Australian albums chart. Outside Australia, the album was released in 1991, under the title Love and Kisses, and became a top ten hit. Minogue's debut single "Love and Kisses" peaked at number four on the Australian singles chart and was certified gold. In the UK, the song reached the top ten on the singles chart.

Minogue released Love and Kisses and..., a reissue of her debut album, in April 1992. The album, a collection of dance songs, comprised tracks and remixes from Love and Kisses. It peaked at number forty-two on the UK albums chart, and sold nearly 60,000 copies. Several remixes by producer and DJ Steve "Silk" Hurley were successful in European dance clubs. She credits these remixes for providing her with a "new image and sound to work with" on future releases. Also that year, Minogue made her feature film debut in Secrets, which co-starred Noah Taylor. The film revolved around five Australian teenagers who become stuck in the basement of a hotel in an attempt to see The Beatles. The film was not well received by audiences or critics, with Minogue's performance being described as "not all that convincing".

Minogue released her second album Get into You, which included the songs "Show You the Way to Go", "This Is It" and "This Is the Way", in October 1993. The album contained uptempo dance tracks and mature vocals, but despite her past chart success, failed to make the British top fifty. In mid-1994, Minogue returned to television as a presenter, co-hosting Channel 4's morning show The Big Breakfast in the UK. In 1995, Minogue released the singles "Rescue Me" and "Boogie Woogie", a collaboration with dance act Eurogroove. Released only in Japan, both songs reached number one on the Japanese singles chart. She began recording her third album in 1995; however, Minogue and her record label, Mushroom Records, parted ways in late 1995 following a contract disagreement.

In 1996, Minogue resumed her co-hosting duties, presenting the Eggs on Legs road show segment. That same year, Minogue briefly hosted the children's show Disney Time and co-hosted, with Gareth Jones, the teenage Saturday morning entertainment show It's Not Just Saturday for sixteen weeks. In 1997, Minogue hosted Top of the Pops, a British music chart television programme, before returning to her recording career later that year. In April 1997, Minogue made her stage debut as Rizzo in the musical Grease: The Arena Spectacular. In Australia, the show sold over 450,000 tickets during its first season. The following year, Minogue resumed her role as Rizzo, performing in New Zealand. At the 1998 MO Awards, Minogue was nominated for "Best Female Musical Theater Performer" for her role.

Following the release of several remixes of her songs by Steve "Silk" Hurley, Minogue became interested in dance music. She commented that the remixes were "the first thing I did that was really cool and my love of dance music and clubbing started from there." Minogue's interest in dance music and clubbing influenced her third album Girl, released in September 1997, which featured collaborations with musicians such as Brian Higgins of Xenomania. The album presented a more sophisticated and adult style of dance music, but despite generally positive reviews, failed to make the British top fifty. Minogue's single "All I Wanna Do", which the Daily Mirror described as a "bass-bumping, shuddering return", peaked at number four on the UK singles chart and was certified gold in Australia. The album's follow-up singles, "Everything I Wanted" and "Disremembrance", failed to reached the top ten, but reached number one on the UK dance chart.

Mushroom Records released two budget compilation albums in December 1998, as part of the label's twenty-fifth anniversary. Working with Roselyn Della Sabina it was released only in Australia, The Singles comprised all of Minogue's single releases, while The Remixes contained popular remixes. These releases were promoted with the song Coconut which was previously only available as a hidden track on CD versions of the Girl album. In January 1999, following her performance at the 1998 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Minogue released the festival's first official theme song, "Everlasting Night". It appeared on the compilation CD Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras of 1999, and its music video, co-directed by Minogue, was a tribute to Australia's gay and lesbian community.

In 1999, Minogue returned to theatre, starring in the production of Shakespeare's Macbeth at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The play received mixed reviews; critic Matt Grant wrote that Minogue "lacks true conviction as she ploughs through the lines without capturing their full force", while Fiachra Gibbons singled Minogue's performance out, noting in her review that Minogue's "disco-queen-from-hell delivery works well" for her character, Lady Macbeth. Two years later, Minogue appeared as Esmeralda in the musical production of Notre-Dame de Paris in London's West End. The musical received poor reviews from British critics who called it "lame" and its songs "reminiscent of Eurovision song contest". At the 2002 Maxim Awards, she won "Best Stage Performance" for her role. In 2001, Minogue also appeared in the stage play The Vagina Monologues, which co-starred Kika Markham and Meera Syal.

In November 2001, Minogue released the single "Who Do You Love Now?", a collaboration with Dutch dance act Riva. Described by Sound Generator as a "nice serene and dreamy vocal on the dance floor anthem", the song peaked at number three on the UK singles chart, and reached number one on the dance charts. In the United States, the song was released to dance clubs, and reached number one on the United States Billboard Dance Club chart. In 2001, Minogue signed a six album deal with London Records, a subsidiary of Warner Music International.

In March 2003, Minogue released her fourth album, Neon Nights, which the BBC called "a pleasant cocktail of pop sophistication, club culture and accessibility". It consisted of 1980s inspired dance-pop songs and provided Minogue with some of the strongest reviews of her career. Neon Nights peaked at number eight on the UK albums chart (her highest ranking since her debut), and produced three top ten singles. The second single, "I Begin to Wonder", Minogue thanked Roselyn Della Sabina and it was declared one of the "best things" on the album by Ireland's Radio Telefís Éireann, became her highest charting single, peaking at number two on the UK singles chart. The album's success was equally widespread, and following extensive airplay by North American dance radio, Warner Music Group released it in the United States in late 2003. Singles "I Begin to Wonder" and "Don't Wanna Lose This Feeling" were also substantial successes on the US dance charts.

In June 2003, Minogue hosted her own radio programme, Dannii Minogue's Neon Nights. Broadcast in Australia and the UK, Minogue played songs by up-and-coming DJs, as well as her own music. Minogue was dropped by London Records in May 2004 due to low record sales. Later that year she got working with Roselyn Della Sabina and signed a new contract with independent dance label All Around the World Records.

In October 2004, Minogue released the single "You Won't Forget About Me", a collaboration with the dance act Flower Power. Described by MSN Entertainment as a "real grower" and noted for its "snip snapping house beats and '80s flecked synths", the song peaked at number seven on the UK singles chart. "Perfection", a collaboration with the Soul Seekerz, followed in October 2005.

Minogue released The Hits & Beyond, a greatest hits album, in June 2006. The album consisted of new songs alongside singles from her four studio albums. It debuted at number seventeen on the UK albums chart, but dropped quickly, spending only seven weeks in the top seventy-five. In Australia, The Hits & Beyond became one of Minogue's lowest charting albums, peaking at number sixty-seven. The album introduced a new single, "So Under Pressure", inspired by the cancer diagnoses of her sister Kylie as well as that of an unnamed friend. The single became her tenth consecutive song to reach number one on the UK Upfront Club chart. Minogue has described the recording of "So Under Pressure" as a "real achievement" as she was "brave enough to put all into words". Throughout her sister's battle with cancer, Dannii had been closely followed by the media, who wanted to know about Kylie's developments. The period left her feeling drained, but also motivated her to continue to record and compose personal lyrics. In September 2006, Minogue's cover of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" appeared on Spirit of Christmas, a compilation album of holiday songs available through Myer department stores across Australia.

In November 2006, Minogue performed Sister Sledge's 1979 song "He's the Greatest Dancer" on BBC One's Children in Need telethon. A studio version of the song, remixed by Fugitive, appeared on the dance compilation Clubland 10, released in November 2006. The following month, "He's the Greatest Dancer" was released to UK dance clubs and reached number one on the Upfront Club chart.

In 2007, Minogue was a judge on the Network 7's variety show Australia's Got Talent along with Red Symons and Tom Burlinson. She also appeared as a judge and mentor in the fourth series of ITV's music talent show, The X Factor, alongside Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh. It was revealed on 29 September that she would be mentoring the boys category during the show. She chose Leon Jackson, Rhydian Roberts and Andy Williams to represent her in the live rounds of the competition. Since her appearances as a judge on the talent show, Minogue has commented "I've finally been accepted as me. It's a fantastic opportunity, for once, not to be compared with Kylie. At last, I've found my own slot." Despite heavy criticism about her credentials to be a judge, 2 of her chosen acts, Rhydian Roberts and Leon Jackson, became the final two, with Jackson eventually becoming the winner on 15 December after winning the public vote. Minogue was the first female judge to win the show. Her success on the show has led to her considering a career as a music manager.

October onwards saw a total of five releases from Minogue; first, on 29 October, reissues of her 1997 and 2003 albums Girl and Neon Nights, each containing a double-disc, the second disc of which includes remixes. On 5 November Minogue released Unleashed, a collection of previously unheard material from her time with London Records, and The Video Collection, which includes every one of her music videos as well as bonus features. Finally, on 3 December, a new single was released, entitled "Touch Me Like That". The song is to be credited as Dannii Minogue vs Jason Nevins, and received its premiere on BBC Radio 1 on the Scott Mills Show, on the morning of 3 October.

Minogue released digital album Club Disco on 5 November 2007. The album includes several previously released singles, such as "You Won't Forget About Me", "Perfection" and "So Under Pressure". Also included is cancelled single "I Can't Sleep At Night" and a cover of the disco classic "He's The Greatest Dancer". The album has another cover, a chilled out version of "Xanadu". Club Disco charted at no 2 on the Uk dance album charts and no 1 in Australia on the dance album charts.

In 2008, Club Disco was released as a double album in Australia. "Touch Me Like That" was added to the tracklisting while "Do You Believe Me Now?" was removed from the album. The second disc featured selected remixes from the album singles.

In April 2008, Minogue was hired as the headline performer, Australian Fashion Week. In particular she was booked to make an appearance as the opening party hosted by MAC Cosmetics.

Dannii returned to judge "Australia's Got Talent" for its second series in 2008.

Dannii also returned to British television in August 2008 as a judge on The X Factor, alongside Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Cheryl Cole who replaced Sharon Osbourne. Following the initial auditions and Boot Camp stages of the competition, Minogue was assigned the Over 25s category to mentor. She chose Daniel Evans, Rachel Hylton and Ruth Lorenzo as her final three contestants for the series. In the eighth live show, Minogue lost her final act as Lorenzo was eliminated from the competition, leaving her without a contestant in the semi-final. However, Minogue insisted that she was proud of her performance on the series as she had kept the Over 25s category intact until week six of the competition, which was a record for the show.

Once again, there was criticism of Minogue's position on the panel throughout the series. A number of people in the public eye, including Ronan Keating, Noel Gallagher and Graham Norton questioned her judging credentials and mentoring ability. Additionally, there were a series of tabloid reports claiming that Minogue was jealous of newcomer Cheryl Cole and that this had led to backstage tension. However, Minogue repeatedly denied the rumours, as did Cole, who claimed that the reports were based on "a stupid stereotype which is not true".

On the 20 September, Dannii presented the Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards 2008 ceremony.

On the 23rd of November, during a live broadcast of The X Factor, Dannii broke down in tears and couldn't introduce one of her acts, Rachel Hylton. After Rachel's performance, it was revealed that fellow judge Louis Walsh had been the root cause of Dannii's tears having publically accused her of 'stealing' a song for Rachel to sing that he wanted for one of his acts JLS. That week, Louis had gone to the press and called Dannii "heartless" and that she should be sacked. Simon Cowell twice came to Dannii's defence, once in the main live show and then again in the ITV2 extra show, where he accused Louis of being childish. Simon went on to say Dannii was perfectly within her rights to choose whatever song she felt was best for her artist. Insiders believe Dannii's emotional moment on the show was the result of the unwarranted media backlash that had afflicted her since the arrival of Cheryl Cole on the show. Many fans of The X Factor flooded various online communities calling for Louis to be sacked or to make a public apology to Dannii. Simon ordered him to apologise live on air, but Dannii snubbed Louis' attempt at apologising.

Although The X Factor has been an emotional time for Dannii, in December 2008 she was voted Metro's NO.1 celeb of 2008 with Cheryl Cole coming second which was voted by the public. As well as that, Minogue finished on tops on all the polls for the viewers favourite X Factor judge with Cheryl always coming a close second.

At the start of the year a digital compilation album The Early Years was released online that featured songs from her first two studio albums which reached No 6 on the Uk Dance Chart.

Currently, Dannii has recorded a track with The Freemasons, which is due for release later this year. The track will be released under 'The Freemasons featuring Dannii Minogue', though it is unknown whether it will be a single. It will indeed be on the new Freemasons album.

At the end of February 2009, Simon Cowell confirmed to the Daily Mirror that Dannii would return to the X-Factor, despite reports that she was facing the axe. It was reported Dannii has been offered the contract to return to the next series, doubling her salary to £1 million. Rumours also announce that she could perform on the X factor.

2009 will also see Dannii return to acting. She has landed an important role in the British thriller Vauxhaul Crossed, due to start filming in the summer of 2009, After she has filmed Australia's Got Talent but before X Factor. Whilst All this is happening it was confirmed she would be releasing and promoting her latest album.

In January 1994, Minogue married Australian actor Julian McMahon, whom she met in 1991 while working on the television series Home and Away. Minogue and McMahon were married for less than two years and divorced in 1995. Referring to the divorce, Minogue said that it was her "biggest regret and biggest downfall". In October 1995, Minogue posed nude in the Australian edition of Playboy magazine. Commenting on the reason she posed nude, Minogue said she "just had a marriage break-up. Most women go to the hairdressers - I did Playboy. I chose the photographer, the location, what I did or didn't want to wear and everything else about the pictures. I found it a really liberating, empowering experience." The edition featuring Minogue sold out in under four days and became one of the best-selling editions in Australia.

In October 1999, Minogue became engaged to Canadian Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve, but their relationship ended in 2001. In early 2002, she began dating music producer and Bros bassist Craig Logan, whom she met while recording material for Neon Nights. Media reports in March 2002 claimed Minogue and Logan were engaged, but in December 2002, it was announced that they had ended their relationship.

She is currently dating former English rugby player and now model Kris Smith.

In 2002, the British National Party, a far right and anti-immigration political party, claimed that Minogue supported their cause following comments she had made in an interview with Britain's GQ magazine. In the interview, Minogue was quoted saying that French National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen had "struck a chord with people", and that "even the street signs are written in Asian". Minogue responded to the British National Party's claims in Gay Times magazine saying, "I am not a racist. That is not how I live my life. I have a Jewish manager, I perform in gay clubs, I come from a multi-cultural background and I am very proud of that".

In February 2006, Minogue made headlines again when surveillance tape stills from London strip club Puss 'N Boots were published by News Of The World, a British tabloid newspaper, showing Minogue and a female lap dancer in full-contact sexual activity. A spokesman for Minogue downplayed the event and called it a "harmless girls' night out".

Minogue has performed multiple times at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and the London nightclub G-A-Y. She credits her gay following for much of her success, commenting that gay culture has "always been a part of music." Minogue openly supports gay rights causes for social equality and believes that same-sex marriages should be accepted by all government bodies.

Minogue is an ambassador for the Terrence Higgins Trust, an organization that works to increase awareness of AIDS. She joined the charity in hope that her endorsement would encourage people to discuss safe sex and the disease more openly. In 2004, she posed nude, wrapped only in a red ribbon, to promote World AIDS Day in Australia and the UK. She has long been a supporter of breast cancer research and, in August 2008 became an ambassador for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre Appeal.

To the top



List of The X Factor finalists (UK series 5)

Austin performing on New Year's Eve 2008 at Butlin's, Skegness

The fifth UK series of The X Factor was broadcast on ITV during 2008. It premiered on 16 August and continued through to 13 December 2008. Auditions in front of producers were held in April/May, with callbacks in front of the judges in June. Listed are the 12 finalists who participated in the live finals. Out of the final twelve, Bad Lashes, Girlband, Scott Bruton, Austin Drage, Laura White, Daniel Evans, Rachel Hylton, Ruth Lorenzo and Diana Vickers were the nine acts to be eliminated before the grand finale. Alexandra Burke, Eoghan Quigg and JLS were the contestants who made it to the last show. Eoghan, coming third, was eliminated first on the night of the grand finale on December 13 and then Alexandra Burke was declared the winner with JLS being the runners-up.

The "Boys" category was mentored by Simon Cowell. Contestants in this category are males aged between 14 and 24.

Austin Leigh Drage (born 29 June 1986) is a singer from Grays, Thurrock. Drage first started singing when he was very young and, whilst still at school, took part in musical theatre and amateur dramatics. Having signed up with an agent, Drage made acting appearances in the 2000 movie Snatch as well as a number of TV shows including The Bill and Casualty. After a spell in boy band 5Boyz, who supported Girls Aloud and Blazing Squad and took part in the Soccer 6 competitions, he auditioned and won a place in E4's gender-swap reality show Boys will be Girls, aired in 2006. Drage has also been lead singer in a glam rock band called The Revamps. Simon Cowell commented that Drage is "just what this competition needs".

On the first live show, Drage sang "Every Breath You Take" by The Police and got positive comments from the judges, with Simon Cowell stating that he believed that the public had seen only 60% of Austin's ability. He was eliminated on the fourth live show on 1 November 2008 after being in the bottom two with Rachel Hylton. Drage's mentor Simon Cowell voted to keep him, but the other judges — Cheryl Cole, Louis Walsh and Rachel Hylton's mentor Dannii Minogue — voted in Hylton's favour.

Many fans were outraged by this early exit and created a petition to "Bring back!" which got over 20000 signatures.

He has since appeared on many TV programmes and turned on Stevenage town Christmas lights on 20 November 2008 where he performed four songs, three of which he had performed on the live shows.

Austin made a brief appearance at Butlin's Holiday Park in Skegness on New Year's Eve 2008 to sing two solo songs and a duet with Laura White.

Eoghan Karl Christopher Quigg (pronounced "Owen", born 12 July 1992) is from County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. He has two younger brothers, and a baby sister, born during Quigg's participation on the show.

In the first live show he sang "Imagine" by John Lennon. In week two he sang Michael Jackson's "Ben". Week three's song choice was Nat King Cole's "L-O-V-E". In week four he sang Donna Summer's "Could It Be Magic". Following Scott's elimination in week three and Austin's in week four, he was Simon's only remaining act in the competition.

He then in week five sang "Anytime You Need A Friend" by Mariah Carey. Week six saw Eoghan sing "One More Try" by George Michael. In week seven he sang the Take That song "Never Forget". During Britney Spears week, he sang "Sometimes" and, for his second song,High School Musical's "We're All In This Together". These performances carried him through to the semi-finals of the competition.

In week 9 Eoghan's first song was Busted's "Year 3000". He got excellent praise for this song. His second song of the evening was ABBA's "Does Your Mother Know". Louis, Simon and Cheryl all enjoyed the song, though Dannii thought that the song choice "tended towards cheesy".

He achieved third place overall.

On the last edition of spin-off show The Xtra Factor, presenter Holly Willoughby announced that out of the finalists Quigg had placed first in viewers' votes in six episodes of the series, while Alexandra had won two (including the final), and Diana Vickers and JLS had each won one. Eoghan was, along with finalists Alexandra Burke and JLS and fourth-placed Diana Vickers, signed to Simon Cowell's label Syco after the series ended. Cowell withdrew his offer and Quigg was instead signed to RCA Records.

Scott Paul Bruton (born 14 December 1988) is a former Pontins Bluecoat from Manchester. Bruton initially wanted to be an actor but decided on a career in music after taking part in karaoke. In the first live show Bruton received harsh criticism for his performance of "Yeh Yeh". His mentor Simon Cowell accepted responsibility for the bad song choice. In week 3, on 25 October, he sang "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra but was eliminated after a bottom-two showdown against Daniel Evans. Cheryl Cole, Louis Walsh and Evans' mentor Dannii Minogue voted in Daniel's favour. Bruton's mentor, Simon Cowell, voted to keep him in the competition.

The "Girls" category was this year mentored by Cheryl Cole. Contestants in this category are females aged between 16 and 24. The eventual winner, Alexandra Burke, came from this category.

Alexandra Burke (born 25 August 1988) is a singer from London. In 2005 Burke auditioned for The X Factor and got through to the Judges' Houses stage. However, her then mentor Louis Walsh decided she was too young and did not put her through to the live shows. Burke is the daughter of ex-Soul II Soul singer Melissa Bell.

On the first live show, Alexandra performed the Whitney Houston classic, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody", in which she was compared to her. For the second live show, Alexandra covered "I'll Be There" by The Jackson Five for which she was again criticised by Simon, who called her a copycat. In week three, Big Band week, Alexandra performed "Candyman", a Christina Aguilera song, for which she received her first standing ovation. For the disco-themed fourth live show, Alexandra performed the Donna Summer song, "On the Radio". During Mariah Carey week on 8 November, Burke and the other finalists met for an individual masterclass. Mariah complimented Alexandra on her voice. Alexandra performed "Without You" and received a standing ovation from the judges. All the judges gave her positive comments following her performance; Simon Cowell commented that "by any standard, that was just outstanding". Following the show Alexandra's performance was praised by Mariah Carey who commented that her rendition of "Without You" was "absolutely amazing".

In weeks 6 and 7, Alexandra received positive comments from the judging panel for her performances of Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful" and Take That's "Relight My Fire". Week 8 was Alexandra's best week so far, seeing her replace Diana as the bookies' favourite after performing Britney Spears' "Toxic" and Beyoncé's "Listen", for which she received yet another standing ovation. In week 9, Alexandra performed Rihanna's hit song "Don't Stop The Music" and again received positive comments, with Louis calling her "the English Beyoncé" and Simon commenting "...We may be seeing the birth of a star here you've got it all, that was a great performance". Diana Vickers was eliminated in the semi-final, meaning Alexandra was the last remaining girl and Cheryl's last hope of winning The X Factor.

In the final show, Alexandra's Christmas song was "Silent Night". For her duet, Alexandra sang with superstar Beyoncé, performing "Listen" for the third time in the series (previous performances were in the "Judges' Houses" round and the eighth live show). Alexandra's favourite performance was "You Are So Beautiful". Alexandra was the eventual winner of the competition, defeating JLS in the final two.

Diana Vickers (born 30 July 1991)) is a student from Accrington, Lancashire and has been singing since the age of 11. She has taken singing lessons and has participated in local competitions, but has never sung professionally.

Diana began her X-Factor journey when singing Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter". After the audition stage, she sang "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol on the first stage of bootcamp and sang Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" at the second stage, while getting positive reviews by all four judges. Simon Cowell included she has a great taste in music.

When singing in Cheryl Cole's group, she sang "Nothing Compares To You" by Sinead O'Connor and "Carry You Home" by James Blunt. After performing the first song, Cheryl noticed Diana's disappointment, thinking this could be her downfall. However, Cole chose Vickers as her final three, along with Alexandra Burke and Laura White.

On her first live show Vickers sang U2's "With or Without You". On the 18 October show she covered Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror", for which she received nothing but praise with Dannii Minogue describing it as "box fresh" and Simon Cowell remarking she is "the one to beat". The following week she performed "Smile" which again received much praise and the judges were even more impressed with her version of Blondie's "Call Me".

In week five, Diana was excused from performing due to a severe case of laryngitis. She had wanted to perform the Mariah Carey song "Always Be My Baby" up until a few hours before the show, but her doctor advised her not to, saying she could do permanent damage to her vocal chords. This is the first time the producers have excused any act from performing. She was said to be devastated not to meet Mariah, who guested on that week's show. However on The Xtra Factor show afterwards, footage was shown of Diana at a bonfire night party screaming and cheering with the other contestants earlier that week. This created some speculation as to the legitimacy of her illness. However Diana released a statement to contest the claim: "I felt under the weather all last week but didn’t want to miss out on the fireworks display. On Thursday I saw the doctor and was given antibiotics and the following day was diagnosed with laryngitis by a Harley Street specialist. Up until Saturday afternoon, I was still hoping and praying that I would be well enough to perform but the producers spoke to the doctor who made it clear that I could risk long-term damage to my voice. I was absolutely devastated to be told I couldn’t perform on Saturday night and disappointed not to be able to meet Mariah Carey. I am due to see the doctor again on Friday so fingers crossed I will be able to take part in this Saturday’s show".

In week eight, she performed Britney Spears' "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman", which received a muted reaction from the judges, with Simon telling her it was the first week where she was in danger. She returned for the second half of the show with a version of REM's "Everybody Hurts", which kept her in the competition at the expense of Ruth Lorenzo.

In the week 9 semi-finals, Diana performed Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" as a first song and received excellent comments from all the judges, Cheryl Cole saying that "she had got that sparkle back". She followed this with Dido's "White Flag" but was subsequently voted out of the competition, to the shock and upset of her fellow semi-finalists Eoghan Quigg and Alexandra Burke. Vickers was planned to be signed up by Sony BMG under the Syco label but this has recently been cancelled and since has been in contact with various other record labels. Vickers has since been signed to the RCA label alongside Eoghan Quigg.

White soared through to the next live show, Michael Jackson week, taking on "You Are Not Alone" with her powerhouse vocals, again distinguished by her jazzy and groovy style. In Big Band week, she displayed a much more mature and soulful side with her performance of "God Bless the Child", for which she received another standing ovation. Judge Louis Walsh praised White's performance as "world class" and "better than Diana Ross's" version. The final word was from Judge Cowell, who claimed "by any standard that I've ever heard, that was incredible." In the fourth live show, Disco week, she delivered her version of "Somebody Else's Guy." Judge Danni Minogue commented, "You shouldn't be able to do that at your age... That was a really hard song... you made it effortless." In her final performance on the show, she was again praised by the judges. Despite those accolades and being one of the favourites to win the competition, Laura was voted off the show in week five, November 8, after a performance in which she accompanied herself on the piano.

Laura's elimination from The X Factor prompted a flurry of media attention and fan reaction. Many media commentators accused Walsh of voting her off to allow his remaining act JLS to possibly win the series. Several newspapers and television icons also put the blame firmly on Walsh. The issue was even mentioned in the Houses of Parliament by her local MP Andy Burnham, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who was answering questions on repercussions from the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross prank telephone calls on BBC Radio 2. Burnham commented that White's exit had been "very harsh".

The Manchester Evening News reported on 11 November 2008 that Laura had been approached by a so-far unnamed record company.

Fans of Laura urged broadcasting watchdog Ofcom to investigate phone voting procedures on the show, complaining of a lack of transparency in the voting system and of difficulties in getting through to vote for Laura, some of them even calling for Walsh to be sacked. Organisers of two petitions, each with a total of 50,000 signatures, called for Laura's reinstatement. The complaint states: "We write on behalf of 50,000 members of the public who have so far signed petitions of complaint. There is a body of evidence to suggest that there are major issues concerning telephone voting on the above programme. The main thrust of our complaint is that there is no transparency regarding the total number of votes and how many votes each contestant received. In addition many thousands of viewers are convinced that either their call was blocked or their vote misappropriated." The complaint is also backed by the founder of a website that is selling songs Laura recorded before she entered the competition. Two of these songs have become the top-selling songs on an internet download chart.

In the following week's show, Walsh defended his actions in the opening VT by putting the blame on the public for her exit. He said "What they've all got to think about is, did we really vote for her?".

Laura was quoted suggesting she would make some kind of return to The X Factor. The singer apparently said "Don't worry – I'm going back on the show" after she was cornered by a large group of fans. It is not known in what context White hoped to return; it is thought to be against the rules of the show for a contestant to be reinstated.

Laura White received support from several celebrities. Pop star Lily Allen wrote in her blog: "Right, I think we were all a little shocked right? Laura didn't deserve to go in my opinion, neither did Ruth (my personal favourite). I've been left feeling quite upset by the whole of tonight's show." Former X Factor winner Leona Lewis also expressed her dismay at White's departure. In an interview with BBC Radio 1, Lewis said: "It was a real shocker this week. I wasn't outraged, screaming at the TV and stuff, but I was surprised." Soul singer Adele also wrote about the singer in her blog: "Laura getting the boot tonight is bullshit. Neither her or Ruth should have been in the bottom 2 !! Laura will get signed EASILY. and her leaving so early will probably benefit her in the end!" Former X Factor contestant Maria Lawson also wrote about White on her blog entitled "the fifth week jinx": "I thought Laura White's unexpected exit from X Factor this weekend was worth writing about, especially as it bears huge similarities to my departure all those years ago, it seems Louis Walsh is involved once again!... I would imagine that Laura will have many ups and downs over the next weeks, months and years but the highs certainly outweigh the lows.....So I guess rather than this being a message of condolence to Laura White – it is one of hope and she can rest assured the best is yet to come!" Also, when interviewed at the Christmas lights switch on in London, Sugababes member Keisha Buchanan commented that she nearly threw her television out of the window when Laura was eliminated.

Despite Laura's elimination, she was chosen by Peterborough City Council to perform and turn on the annual Christmas lights at Cathedral Square, Peterborough. A crowd of 6,000 attended and cheered as the lights were turned on. Laura then went on to switch on the lights in the county capital Cambridge on the Sunday night.

Laura and Austin Drage appeared at Butlin's Holiday Park in Skegness, Lincolnshire on New Years Eve 2008. Both sang solo songs before taking a break to see in 2009 before returning to the stage together to sing a duet.

According to All Around the World, Laura will be releasing the song "On My Way" featuring Digital Rush in March. . The song already features on the True Hardcore 2 dance compilation album. She is currently being signed to Epic Records.

The "Over 25s" were mentored by Danni Minogue. Contestants in this category are, as the category's name suggests, people aged 25 or over. There is no upper age limit. The Over 25s was the first category this year to have all contestants eliminated.

Daniel James Evans (born 30 November 1969) is a pool cleaner from Leyton, London. Evans had applied for most of the five series of The X Factor, but this was the first year that he had actually auditioned. Evans decided to participate this year following the death of his wife after she gave birth to his daughter. Throughout the live finals, he repeatedly received criticism from both Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh. He was in the bottom two with Scott Bruton in week three but won through to the next round by virtue of a passionate performance in memory of his wife. Along with Ruth Lorenzo, he did not appear when the finalists sang "Hero" in week three because of a technical problem. In week five a campaign started by Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles urging his listeners to vote for Daniel seemed to save his skin. Moyles described Daniel as looking like Rick Astley's dad saying "he's never going to win, so vote for him to annoy Simon and Louis". Daniel was voted out in the sixth round, after a sing-off with Rachel Hylton. Louis, Cheryl and Simon all voted for Rachel, and with that his departure from the competition was confirmed.

Rachel Shavon Hylton (born 26 November 1981) is a mother-of-five from London. She had the first of her five children at the age of 13. Problems with drugs led to a spell in prison and eventually three of her children were taken into care. Hylton was hoping to win The X Factor to make a better life for herself and her two youngest children, whom she still looks after.

In week four Hylton was in the bottom two with Austin Drage. Only Drage's mentor, Simon Cowell, chose to save him, whilst the remaining judges kept Hylton in the competition, progressing her to week five. During the week five show Hylton performed "Against All Odds" and then progressed to week six. In week six Hylton was once again in the bottom two with Daniel Evans but was saved by Louis Walsh, Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell. In week seven Hylton was in the bottom two for a third time, this time with JLS. Rachel was subsequently knocked out of the competition after being voted off by Louis, Cheryl and Simon.

Rachel revealed to Digital Spy that she had been offered a recording contract, but, like the other contestants, could not sign it until her contract with The X Factor expired. Later it was revealed that the approach had been made by John Legend's Homeschool Records, also the home of Estelle, one of the biggest female acts of 2008.

Ruth Lorenzo Pascual (born 10 November 1982) is a PR Consultant originally from Murcia, South East Spain, now living in Ashtead, Surrey. In week two, Lorenzo fell into the bottom two, along with Girlband. Her choice of singoff song was "Purple Rain". Lorenzo's mentor Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole voted for her to stay, with Simon Cowell and Girlband's mentor Louis Walsh voting the other way. The result thus went to "Deadlock", and the public vote was consulted. Lorenzo had received more votes from the public than Girlband and therefore survived. It was announced after the show that the telephone number that appeared on screen for fans to call and vote to keep her in the competition had a digit missing. Many people complained saying that when they called to vote for Ruth the number had a "busy" tone and their votes did not count. Ruth was in the bottom two again in week five (November 8), this time in a sing-off against Laura White. Her rendition of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" saw her survive by three votes to one, with Laura eliminated from the competition. In week 6 Ruth sang Robbie Williams' "Angels" and got through to the next week. In week 7 she sang Take That's "Love Ain't Here Anymore" which throughly impressed the judges, especially Simon.

Ruth, by this stage Minogue's last remaining act, was eliminated by public vote on November 29, despite receiving excellent feedback from the judges for her performances of Britney Spears' "I Love Rock 'N' Roll" and Bon Jovi's "Always". With Ruth's departure, Minogue had lost all three of her acts in successive shows.

According to a report in The Sun newspaper, Ruth has been offered several record contracts. However, she cannot sign up to any of them until her X Factor contract expires.

The "Groups" were mentored by Louis Walsh. Acts in this category are vocal duos or groups. Each member must be aged 14 or over to be eligible to enter the show.

Bad Lashes are a four-piece girl band from North East England, made up of Emily McNamee (born 30 June 1989) from Newcastle upon Tyne, Sophie Wilson (born 21 November 1984) from Hartlepool, Samantha (Sam) Bennett (born 26 April 1987) from Durham, and Stacey Lincoln (born 24 October 1987), also from Durham. They were eliminated from the competition in the first live show on 11 October after losing the public vote to Girlband, the judges' votes having been deadlocked 2-2. Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole voted in their favour.

Girlband were a four-piece girl band from South-West England. The group comprised sisters Tita Lau (born 30 July 1988) and Phoebe Jay Lau (born 2 June 1990), along with their friends Marisa Billitteri (born 20 May 1988) and Layla Manoochehri (born 1 May 1986). In the first live show they were placed in the bottom two by public vote, but survived after winning the "deadlock" over fellow girl group Bad Lashes. They were in the bottom two again in the second show, and were eliminated after losing the "deadlock" to Ruth Lorenzo. They have since split up.

It was revealed on ITV1 television programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! that former band member Layla Manoochehri is dating former Blue member Simon Webbe.

JLS (Jack the Lad Swing) are a four-piece boy band from London and Peterborough. Marvin Humes (born 18 March 1985) was previously in the group VS, created by Simon Webbe of Blue. The other band members are Jonathan "JB" Gill (born 7 December 1986), Oritse Williams (born 27 November 1986) and Aston Merrygold, who previously played "Cookie" in CITV's Fun Song Factory.

Following Bad Lashes' elimination in week one and Girlband's in week two, they were Louis Walsh's last remaining act in the competition. In week seven JLS were in the bottom two along with Rachel Hylton. However, they survived thanks to the votes from Louis Walsh, Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell. In week 8 JLS performed "...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears. They received negative comments from the judges, with Simon Cowell saying "At the moment you're out". After their second performance, however, Cowell commented that they were "back in the race".

In week 9, JLS performed the second Rihanna song of the evening, "Umbrella" (the first being Alexandra Burke's performance of "Don't Stop The Music") and received positive comments from the judges. Louis said "All I can say is, I'm so proud of you". Their second song was "I'm already there" by Lonestar and Louis had tears in his eyes.

JLS made it to the final show, becoming the fourth group to do so, the others being G4 in the first series, Journey South in the second series and Same Difference in the fourth. After surviving the first public vote of the night, in which Eoghan Quigg was voted off, they were able to perform their own version of the winner's song, "Hallejuah", which the other remaining finalist Alexandra Burke also performed. The public voted for the second time that night and JLS ended up coming second.

All the judges said that JLS were the best band that had ever been on the show, and it was widely predicted that they would be offered a contract by a record company shortly after the show's end. It was announced on the 20th January 2009 that JLS had signed with record company Epic Records.

On 25 October, the finalists together released a cover of Mariah Carey's song "Hero" in aid of the Help for Heroes and The British Legion charities, supporting those who have been injured in combat. In the UK and Ireland it sold over 69,000 copies in its first week of release and is set to become the fastest selling song of the decade after Leona Lewis' "A Moment Like This". The song was performed by all twelve finalists in the third live show, although contestants Ruth Lorenzo and Daniel Evans were locked behind a sliding entrance door to the stage and did not appear. They sang their lyrics backstage and the words were mimed by Austin Drage and Laura White.

The finalists performed the song again on 8 November 2008, this time with that week's guest Mariah Carey. Diana Vickers was absent due to laryngitis. On 9 November 2008 and 16 November 2008 the single remained at number one in the official UK singles chart for a second and third consecutive week. On November 23 the single fell to number two, losing out to "If I Were a Boy" by Beyoncé Knowles.

A music video was released, with all twelve finalists making appearances, and showing still images of soldiers in Iraq.

To the top



Source : Wikipedia