Joe McElderry is set to earn £5m (€5.5m) after winning ‘The X Factor’ last night.
The 18-year-old singer – who beat cheeky Essex boy Olly Murs in the final of the reality TV singing show – is in line to pocket the enormous sum when Simon Cowell takes him to the US in the New Year to launch his career.
The music mogul is reportedly planning to model the Geordie singer on ‘High School Musical’ superstar Zac Efron.
A source said: “Simon has already set the wheels in motion for Joe’s stateside success. He has been bombarded with offers from TV and film studios and is in the enviable position of having several incredible offers.
“They all want someone to fill in Zac Efron’s shoes, as he’s fast moving out of the teen market now he’s 22. Having a cute English guy take on the mantle is every US producer’s dream because the English accent is seen as a real draw.”
After winning the reality TV series with 61.3% of votes cast by the general public, Joe is now expected to top the charts and reach the Christmas number one with his single ‘The Climb’ – a song from Disney’s ‘Hannah Montana: The Movie’, originally sung by Miley Cyrus.
It is thought Simon had picked the track with Joe in mind.
The source explained to The Sun newspaper: “‘Picking ‘The Climb’ was all part of the strategy. Simon chose the song as soon as it became clear Joe was in pole position. It’s a song that will work well in Britain and the US. But obviously the American market is where all the money is.”
Despite being the favourite to win the show, Joe – who won a £1m (€1.1m) recording contract on ‘The X Factor’ - was “amazed” by the result.
He said: “It’s amazing to have won. Now I’m here I just can’t believe it. It’s a dream come true.
“I never took much notice of all the hype as it can put you off. It was flattering, but just because everyone says you’re going to win doesn’t mean you are. I’m flattered that the public picked me.”
Last night, his mentor, Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole said she was “delighted” and “proud” of his achievement.