After 15 years, the UK edition of The X Factor has been cancelled. Media are reporting that the popular talent show franchise has been canned in the UK, with no future series planned. But the 15 seasons of the show that have been held since its beginning in 2004 have discovered a lot of new talent — including future Eurovision stars. We’re taking a look at Eurovision acts who got their start on The X Factor — and those who used The X Factor as the next step in their music career.

At its peak, the popularity of The X Factor meant the show attracted talent not just from the UK, but also from abroad. Many young singers used The X Factor as a springboard for their international music careers — and for some, this also led to an appearance at Eurovision.

UK: Andy Abraham

X Factor: 2nd
Eurovision: 25th in grand final

Andy was a successful contestant on the second series of The X Factor in 2005 and won over audiences with his powerful soul vocals. He finished second on the show, very narrowly missing out on the top spot. Andy went on to win the UK national selection and headed to Eurovision 2008 with “Even If”. Sadly his X Factor success did not repeat — the UK finished last with just 14 points.

Spain: Ruth Lorenzo

X Factor: 5th
Eurovision: 10th in grand final

Spanish singer Ruth Lorenzo made a splash on the 2008 series of The X Factor. After ending up in the sing-off in week two, she delivered a stunning performance of “Purple Rain” and established herself as a force to be reckoned with. Ruth finished fifth in the series. She went on to represent Spain at Eurovision 2014 with the power ballad “Dancing in the Rain”. The song finished 10th and remains Spain’s best result since 2012.

Ireland: Jedward

X Factor: 5th
Eurovision: 8th in grand final (2011); 19th in grand final (2012)

Competing as John & Edward, the Irish twin brothers made it to the live shows of The X Factor in 2009. Week after week, they gave memorable performances that earned them a legion of loyal fans. The duo finished fifth, then went on to represent their home country of Ireland at Eurovision 2011 and 2012. Their 2011 entry “Lipstick” finished eighth and remains Ireland’s best Eurovision result in the past 20 years.

UK: Lucie Jones

X Factor: 8th
Eurovision: 15th in grand final

Lucie competed alongside Jedward in the 2009 series of The X Factor. She established herself as a strong vocalist and finished eighth in the series. Lucie went on to have a successful West End musical career. She then made her Eurovision debut in 2017 where she performed “Never Give Up on You”. It finished 15th, which remains the UK’s best Eurovision result in the past decade.

Finland: Saara Aalto

X Factor: 2nd
Eurovision: 25th in grand final

After a few national final attempts in her home country, Finnish songstress Saara took a shot on The X Factor UK in 2015. After a rough start — including three appearances in the sing-off — she eventually won over audiences with her quirky style and went on to finish second in the contest. Saara was then internally selected to represent Finland at Eurovision 2018. While she qualified for the grand final with her song “Monsters”, it finished in 25th place.

Ireland: Brendan Murray

X Factor: 5th
Eurovision: 13th in semi-final

Brendan Murray competed at Eurovision before trying his luck with The X Factor. He represented Ireland at Eurovision 2017, where his song “Dying to Try” only placed 13th in its semi-final. Brendan then made it to the live shows of The X Factor in 2018. There he faired better, placing fifth in the show.

A special mention also goes to Irish singer Eoghan Quigg. He competed on The X Factor in 2008, where he placed third. He later showed up as one of the competing acts in the Irish national final in 2014, narrowly missing out in second place.

Eurovision stars who auditioned for The X Factor UK

But not every past or future Eurovision act made it to The X Factor live shows. These iconic acts were eliminated earlier in the process.

The UK’s Eurovision 2019 singer Michael Rice originally auditioned for The X Factor in 2014. He made it as far as the Boot Camp stage before being eliminated.

Joseph McCaul  — one half of Ireland’s brother-sister Eurovision 2005 duo Donna and Joe — auditioned for The X Factor in 2015. He made it to the Six Chair Challenge before being eliminated.

Montenegro’s outrageous Slavko Kalezic made an appearance on The X Factor in 2017, months after his Eurovision 2017 performance. His stage talent (and metre-long braid) got him as far as Judges Houses where he was sadly eliminated.

Welsh singer Jon Lilygreen — who had represented Cyprus at Eurovision 2010 — auditioned for The X Factor in 2017. He made it as far as the Six Chair Challenge but lost his seat and was eliminated.

In 2018, Junior Eurovision 2013 winner Gaia Cauchi auditioned for The X Factor. She and four other solo singers were put into a girl group called Sweet Sense. The group made it as far as Judges Houses where they were eliminated.

The Armenian-Greek singer Athena Manoukian — who had been due to represent Armenia at Eurovision 2020 — stunned X Factor judges with a saucy audition in 2018. However, it’s not clear exactly how her journey went. She was last seen having been selected for the Six Chair Challenge but did not feature in any future episodes.

Romania’s Eurovision 2013 star Cezar Ouatu impressed The X Factor judges with his countertenor vocal range in 2018. He made it to the Six Chair Challenge, but lost his seat and so did not progress any further.

While The X Factor format is falling out of favour with broadcasters around the world, it can still be found in production in some territories. The show also has a Eurovision connection. Malta used X Factor Malta to select its Eurovision act in 2019 and 2020, while Israel is will use the upcoming series of the show to select its act for Eurovision 2022.

What do you think? Is there still life left in the X Factor format? Should the show be used as a Eurovision national final? Tell us your thoughts below!

Read more UK Eurovision news here

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T.J.
T.J.
1 month ago

Didn‘t Saara Aalto participate in UMK even before X-factor?

Ravencrow Neversmiles
Ravencrow Neversmiles
1 month ago
Reply to  T.J.

Yes she did. Back when the finnish national final wasn’t called UMK yet. First time in 2004 as part of a band called Heidi Kyrö & just then she went solo in 2011 with a song called Blessed with love and 2016 with No fear. I think she also did backing vocals there but I’m not sure about the years.

Alvaro
Alvaro
1 month ago

Indeed, X Factor was when I first knew about Saara Aalto. From which I enjoyed a lot her performances of ‘Enough is enough’ at disco week and ‘My Heart Will Go On’ at movies’ week.

Colin
Colin
1 month ago

Lucie’s Never Give Up on You is the best song the UK has had this century. Should have placed in top 3, but even its middle ground result is an obvious sign that this is the direction the UK should be exploring – A complete package with an excellent vocalist, memorable melody, meaningful lyrics, and gorgeous staging.

And yeah, Ireland not qualifying that year is an injustice only second to Finland not making it.

Last edited 1 month ago by Colin
Ashton
Ashton
1 month ago
Reply to  Colin

I don’t know about the best song this century or top 3, to be honest. It’s a competent song, well-done, but it’s really just a slightly above-average musical theatre song with impeccable staging. In my opinion it ended up where it should have

Colin
Colin
1 month ago
Reply to  Ashton

It’s my personal favorite one, and also the one I hear many lamenting over. I’ll have it! 🙂
I respect your opinion, and considering even those who don’t think it’s a masterpiece still call it ”competent” and ”well done”, I think UK was headed in the right direction. 🙂
My personal top 3 would likely be Lucie, Molly, and Jade, with Engelbert, Bonnie, and Michael Rice also having songs I am very fond of. What are your personal favorites?

Ashton
Ashton
1 month ago
Reply to  Colin

definitely Molly, and probably javine, andy abraham (both incredibly underrated for no reason) and honestly looking at all of uk’s 21s century songs, Lucie as well

Colin
Colin
1 month ago
Reply to  Ashton

True, Javine was good too! Such a banger!
Also, UK finishing last in 2008 when Germany was around is just not right. Same could be said for 2019. 😉

Azaad
Azaad
1 month ago
Reply to  Colin

Turns out the UK sends good songs when we go to Ukraine.

Ashton
Ashton
1 month ago
Reply to  Azaad

UK(raine)

HarpyDarper
HarpyDarper
1 month ago

I’m so delighted the show is ending. I don’t have anything against the people who go one these shows, but I really detest Simon Cowell and that whole tabloid media clique around it, and the programme is so obnoxous and tacky. Like all the worst qualities of American television brought over here, it’s so phoney. And it gets shoved in our faces like it’s the be all and end all

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  HarpyDarper

Or rather, Simon brought it to America from when Pop Idol was brought there as American Idol.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

X Factor in other countries has a way better track record. Just look at Måneskin

Azaad
Azaad
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

It produced One direction and little mix in the UK.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Azaad

I meant in terms of Eurovision acts.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

Either way, those bands can not match Marco Mengoni.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

I don’t know why people downvote fact.

Ashton
Ashton
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

musical opinions are not fact.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Ashton

Thanks, I know that. I was replying to Joe’s comment. Results are facts.

Ashton
Ashton
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

sorry, I thought you were responding to your comment about Mengoni. didnt look close enough lmao

Crystal
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

I would say that Italy has the most successful version of The X Factor format anywhere in the world (even more so than the original British version). The Danish version has also been hugely successful in longevity (along with the Italian and British versions being the only ones to last more than 10 seasons), although I don’t think the Danish version of The X Factor has ever produced any Danish Eurovision acts. In addition to Måneskin, The X Factor Italy also gave us Marco Mengoni, Francesca Michielin, and Mahmood as eventual Eurovision acts. And several X Factor alumni also went… Read more »

Una
Una
1 month ago
Reply to  Crystal

Excellent analysis but the Italian artists you mentioned had Sanremo as a platform. The level in Sanremo is outstanding and that is an incentive and a means for the Italian music industry to bring the best to Eurovision. There is nothing similar in Europe – Italians are one of a kind. Original music in Italian, not the usual factory-made music in English from other countries with the obligatory national language and popular genres mixed in.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

And Fifth Harmony.

Damien
Damien
1 month ago

Great article and well written. Thank you

Sot
Sot
1 month ago

Nice to see that X-Factor is neither a recipe for disaster, nor always for success. Without it we wouldn’t have Jedward, Michela or Ruth, so thank God we got that. I also have huge respect for Andy Abraham, he’s super underrated (as a personality bc his song in 2008 was meh) and I hope he finds success now in his later years like Senhit or Serhat!

esc1234
esc1234
1 month ago
Reply to  Sot

Yes, Michela, the girl that gave her a song she couldn’t perform….

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
1 month ago

I’ve got an idea that could work and create some buzz for the uk. The BBC could do a mixture of good online eurovision content leading up to a one night liveshow broadcasted on BBC 1. Like for example a format where we have around 6 talented up and coming singer songwriters/artists sharing a house and a studio. Here they make new music together, introduce themselves and their (already produced) music to the public, and make covers of their favorite eurovision songs. Every week they could upload one episode to online channels like their bbc player service and netflix to… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Frisian esc
Azaad
Azaad
1 month ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

I think the BBC should take advantage of its status of its abilities to create good documentaries and have a four episode, month long documentary series about creating their Eurovision song for the year.

Rifki
Rifki
1 month ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

I do like the idea, however one thing I should suggest is that established artists and songwriters should also be somehow included, at least in the final lineup that will compete on the big televised BBC One live show. I personally don’t want it to be an upcomers-only thing. Melodifestivalen has shown that including both newbies and establishers can actually work so well.

Una
Una
1 month ago

I do find value in the X Factor in that they provide coaching for voice, stage presence and movement, some necessary speaking skills and of course, the experience to perform in front of a large audience. That alone can be valuable for newcomers that do not have resources to develop artistically on their own. But come Eurovision, things get a lot more complex. The stakes are different and the competition level is outrageously “brutal”. Eurovision is a totally different thing. They need the right combination of artist, voice, song, and stage show. No amount of “friendly media” can make up… Read more »

Jonny
Jonny
1 month ago

I still can’t get over this hyped Monsters. It was so annoying and boring. All the three songs weren’t masterpieces but Domino was the most promising one.

Una
Una
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonny

I liked “Monsters” and I loved seeing Finland in the final but the show was too OTT. I wish they finished higher if only for Saara’s passion for the music and Eurovision.

Rifki
Rifki
1 month ago

well, with this news (X Factor UK being axed) coming, BBC should surely take the advantage to revive and modernize their national selection (making it slick a la Melodifestivalen) as an alternative to the axed X Factor show. at least one episode, with at least six (up to twelve) songs, produced slickly in a Eurovision-standard venue (O2 Arena, Manchester Arena or either of the two Birmingham arenas, Resorts World Arena or Utilita Arena), should be enough, but expanding it into four semifinals (each held in a different UK constituent) will be better.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rifki
Frisian esc
Frisian esc
1 month ago
Reply to  Rifki

I think that’s doomed to fail with not enough interest to get good viewing rates + 12 slick songs. They first need to get a lucky win or top 5 to get rid of the ‘ *the UK can never do well at eurovision because they hate us*’ mentality. I think they need to stick to internal selections and gain a little success before they can launch a successful selection format. The eurovision you decide show hat such a campy feel to it and it really didn’t appeal to a young viewing audience and that is what they need to… Read more »

Crystal
1 month ago
Reply to  Rifki

I think one of the reasons why Melodifestivalen works so well in Sweden is because the people there actually care about it as a show/event and it’s become a cultural institution there. I don’t know if British viewers have as much enthusiasm about Eurovision and the selection process there, especially in recent years. Now, I’m obviously not British and can’t speak for them (and I’d love to hear a British person’s take on national enthusiasm for Eurovision), but that’s just my observation. I think some of it is mindset. If the people start caring more about the national selection process,… Read more »