The X Factor ‘Stars’ of 2011 – Where Are They Now?

Hailed as diamonds in the rough, what have the X Factor stars been up to since the show’s climax?

The X Factor finalists perform 'Heroes'

The most recent batch of X Factor finalists had Simon Cowell’s eyes lit up with dollar signs more than ever before, whilst we thought it was only a matter of time before Louis Walsh copyrighted the phrase ‘likeability factor.’ However, looking back on the ‘stars’ of the biggest ever series of the X Factor, how many can be seen to be maintaining their spark?

Matt Cardle rocking his infamous hat

Winner Matt Cardle has had a busy few months, striving to write his own material for his debut album now that the phenomenal success of his debut winner’s single ‘When We Collide’ has died down. The single topped the charts for 3 consecutive weeks, including the coveted Christmas number one slot, and has sold around 850,000 copies. Cardle has since been nominated for a BRIT award in the ‘Best Single’ category, and has performed the track at the o2 for the National Television Awards. Matt is due to take part in the X Factor Tour soon, but says that his true dream is to crack the USA, stating that ‘The next big dream is to have success in America. If I could pick any place in the world to play, I’d love to play Central Park or Madison Square Garden. This is what I’ve wanted for so long and I just can’t wait to crack on and do it.’

Rebecca Ferguson showcases both her voice and infamous static hand

Smoky voiced Rebecca Ferguson has signed a joint contract to both Cowell’s Syco label as well as Epic Records. Both companies are, however, subdivisions of the huge Sony label, who also manage Britney Spears and Kings Of Leon etc. It is thought that this joint venture is to enable Ferguson to follow a sound similar to the highly successful songstresses Adele or Duffy. The runner up to this year’s competition is busy writing for her album as well as rehearsing for the tour.

One Direction are also said to be recording their debut LP in LA, and have also been snapped up by Syco Music. There is speculation that Simon Cowell has set aside £2million to invest in the boyband he mentored on the show, which would make them the main priority of the Syco label. The five lads can be found on the upcoming X Factor Tour.

Cher Lloyd is rumoured to be collaborating with Lil' Wayne

Pint-sized popstar-come-hiphop sensation Cher Lloyd is also causing quite a stir after her 4th place elimination from the show. She has recently been spotted hitting recording studios in LA, and is reportedly pulling out all the stops for her first album, which has been given a release date of 22nd August 2011. So sure are her management that the album will be ready, they have made it available for pre-order on amazon etc already. Lloyd has announced that she has been working with producers The Runners and RedOne, who is most famous for his work with Lady GaGa and has been rumoured to be collaborating with and Lil’ Wayne. Signed to Syco Music, Cher is currently in rehearsals for the tour.

Mary Byrne may go down in history as the most famous Tesco employee ever, after finishing 5th on the much hyped reality show. She is now working on her debut album with producer Nigel Wright and former mentor Louis Walsh. However, the album is likely to be full of covers, spanning Shirley Bassey and Dusty Springfield classics, as well as her infamous rendition of ‘It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World.’ According to Walsh, Simon Cowell has arranged for Byrne to be signed to Sony, in a bid to emulate the careers of Paul Potts and Susan Boyle. Mary can also be found taking part on the X Factor Tour.

Will Wagner become the most famous contestant ever?

Everybody’s favourite Brazilian (the bane of some people’s Saturday nights) Wagner has kept himself busy since his departure from the show in week 8. Wagner has claimed that despite his 6th place finish, impressive for such a novelty act, he will become the most famous contestant from this series. We can’t really say we disagree either; it only takes the case of Jedward to prove it’s possible, regardless of an innate lack of talent. Wagner has already lined up a festival gig, performing on the second stage of Derbyshire’s Bearded Theory Festival in May. He is reportedly booked to perform in the ‘family friendly’ lunchtime slot, occupied last year by The Cheeky Girls. Furthermore, Wagner has shown his interest at becoming a radio DJ, applying to Wolverhampton’s ‘Beacon’ radio station. Publishers are also said to be desperately interested in securing an exclusive deal with the Brazilian, and are reportedly locked in a £1million war for his tell all memoir. Finally, not only has Wagner secured himself a place on the X Factor Tour, where he hopes to demonstrate his more serious operatic style, but he also came to perform at Southampton’s 90degrees, which we had the pleasure to see…

Katie survived the final showdown a record 4 times

However, perhaps the most controversial contestant ever, Katie Waissel, has been keeping a lower profile. After sparking ‘Gamu-gate,’ escaping elimination from the final showdown a record number of 4 times and putting an end to her granny’s well publicised porn career, Waissel is allegedly taking some time out, stating “I haven’t signed any record deal yet but I’m writing music, taking time out and enjoying the process…”. She does however, maintain her high musical aspirations, and is pinning her hopes on a collaboration with Amy Winehouse, due to the fact that “…We hang out in the same places and know the same people.” Whilst I can’t really see this happening any time soon, (Winehouse has expressed an interest in fellow finalist Rebecca Ferguson) it’s probably for the best that she keeps herself out of trouble ahead of the X Factor Tour.

Curly coiffed Aiden Grimshaw was a shock elimination in week 6, controversially losing out to Katie Waissel in the final showdown and missing his spot on the X Factor Tour by one week. However, after a barrage of complaints and a sizeable campaign, X Factor management reviewed the rules and swelled the number of acts heading on tour from 8 to 9 in order to accommodate Grimshaw. Following his round of post-elimination personal appearances, during which he popped into our very own 90degrees, Aiden is also venturing out on his very own ‘mini-tour,’ covering 6 dates in the UK. Finally, eventual winner Matt Cardle has high hopes of enlisting Aiden to sing a duet on his debut album…perhaps this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the Blackpool based lad after all.

Belle Amie are now a trio...

This series’ only girlband, Belle Amie, offered a promising start after their 11th place finish, tweeting “Be excited guys, Belle Amie will be recording some new original material in the New Year, spread the word. This is just the beginning. There are a few surprises and shockers on the way but it will all be worth it. Watch out world.” To be fair it looked as though the girls might be sticking around. However, on 26th January band member Geneva Lane announced her departure from the group, although the band have expressed their hopes to continue as a trio.

Whilst only placing 14th on last year’s show, fiery haired rock singer Storm Lee has enjoyed some relative success. Despite heavy criticisms that the Scot had sold out by appearing on the show, Latin crooner Ricky Martin was so impressed after seeing Lee’s audition for the show that he got in contact. Now, Storm Lee has lent his vocals to no less than four tracks to be featured on Martin’s upcoming album. And to think he was criticised of selling out…

Unfortunately, very little is known about the whereabouts of initial departures Nicolo Festa or boy band F.Y.D. Whilst they both regretted falling off the radar in the first show at the time, we haven’t heard a peep out of them since. Duo Diva Fever haven’t been up to much either, bar performing at gay venues, although they hope to release an album in time for Christmas 2011…Eternal bore John Adeleye has vowed to start writing for his next album…queue tumbleweed…whilst Treyc Cohen’s promise to continue singing has so far seen her turn on Warrington’s Christmas lights. Paije Richardson has also been fairly quiet despite his reasonable 8th place finish, although you might spot him in the upcoming ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II’ movie, where he is featured as an extra.

Ablisa have been featured topless in a national newspaper...

As for our favourite auditionees of the series, Ablisa, well, they’ve posed for the Daily Sport topless. Who says The X Factor can’t change lives?