The X Factor finalists who have had more success than the winners

These stars have proven that the winner doesn't have to take it all

Rylan Clark-Neal

by Maria Mellor |
Updated on

The goal of The X Factor may be to win, but it's no secret that the runners-up often find as much success as the winners, if not more.

The X Factor as we know it won't be returning to our screens this year, instead making a comeback with a Celebrity and All Stars version.

So we've decided to take a look back at past contestants who've created a career out of being X Factor "losers" and while they may not have won the singing contest, you'll be surprised at how many of these famous faces you'll see on television today.


The X Factor runner-ups who have done better than the winners! stacked


Stacey Solomon

Stacey Solomon has had a successful career since coming third on The X Factor in 2009 - though not through singing. After winning the 10th season of I'm A Celebrity, the bubbly 30-year-old has become a well-known television presenter, working on Loose Women and Celebrity Juice.


Rebecca Ferguson

Liverpudlian Rebecca Ferguson came second to Matt Cardle in the seventh series of The X Factor. She has since released four popular studio albums and is reported to be working on a fifth. She often makes TV appearances, and is a regular guest on Loose Women.


Olly Murs

Olly Murs has hardly left our screens since coming second in 2009's X Factor. He has released six studio albums, presented numerous television programmes, including The X Factor itself and it's spin-off show The Xtra Factor, and is now a judge on The Voice UK.


One Direction

One Direction released five top albums after coming third on The X Factor in 2010, and have won seven BRIT awards. Though they have since split up, each member has found individual success. The One Direction boys have also dated several A-list celebrities, including Harry Styles' ex Taylor Swift and Zayn's ex Gigi Hadid.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Cher Lloyd

Cher Lloyd came fourth on the seventh series of The X Factor in 2010. Since then, she's found success in America with her music, and has collaborated on songs with Demi Lovato and Becky G. She recently released a single called 'M.I.A.' and it's done pretty well.

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Rylan Clark-Neal

Rylan may have started out as one of the more unusual contestants of series 9, aka "the joke act", but he has now become a household name in the world of television presenting. In 2013, Rylan landed his first TV presenting gig - Big Brother's Bit On The Side. It was also announced in 2019 he would present Strictly: It Takes Two on BBC Two as well as Supermarket Sweep on ITV. In 2020 he will present the new series of Ready Steady Cook.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Lucie Jones

Lucie Jones competed on series six of The X Factor but was voted off early in the competition. However, that didn't stop her, as she went on to sing for Great Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest, and now has a successful musical theatre career. She is currently playing Jenna in the West End production of Waitress{ =nofollow}, alongside YouTuber and Strictly Come Dancing 2018 finalist Joe Sugg.

X Factor

Even if they may not have found A-list fame, there are still many other former X Factor contestants who've been able to springboard their careers thanks to the talent competition.

For example, Chris Maloney was cast as a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother alongside Gemma Collins and Megan McKenna in 2016 and Amelia Lily has acted in several musicals, including American Idiot and Shrek the Musical.

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The X Factor is currently having a revamp following years of steadily declining ratings.

The X Factor: Celebrity started in 2019, with Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger back to judge. Celebrities such as Kevin Hale from Glee, journalist Martin Bashir and stars from 2018 Love Island are taking part, with the winner getting a recording contract.

Speaking last week at the show's launch, original judge Louis Walsh told Radio 1 Newsbeat, "It needed something different. This is a whole new chapter and I think it's the future for X Factor."

It has also been reported that The X Factor: All Stars will be aired towards the end of 2019, featuring contestants from the previous fifteen series of the show. Paula Abdul is set to be a guest judge.

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