Girl group Little Mix are adjusting to life as pop stars today after making history and becoming the first band to take 'The X Factor' title.
Mentored by Tulisa Contostavlos, the band scooped the crown in front of a 10,000-strong audience at Wembley Arena in north London last night, with millions more watching the ITV show live on television.
The band, made up of Jade Thirlwall, 18, Perrie Edwards, 18, Jesy Nelson, 20, and Leigh-Anne Pinnock, 19, beat Liverpudlian Marcus Collins to the title.
The girls and their mentor looked stunned when host Dermot O’Leary announced the result with Leigh-Anne managing to say only: “Oh my God, wow.”
Jade added: “We are just so so grateful and thankful to everyone who voted and to everyone backstage.”
Asked when the news would sink in, Jesy said: “Oh my God, this is never going to sink in. We cannot thank the public enough.”
Runner-up Collins said the band “really deserve” the title, adding that they were “amazing”.
The girls, who had never met before being put together as a band, are representing different parts of the UK within the group with Jesy from Essex, Leigh-Anne from London and Jade and Perrie from South Shields, Tyne and Wear.
They have walked away from the talent show with a recording contract and will now release their winner’s single, a rendition of Damien Rice’s Cannonball, in a bid to top the charts with a Christmas number one.
Little Mix are second favourites to take the Christmas number one slot in the charts following their win, Ladbrokes says.
The girl band are trailing behind the Military Wives, who are 1/2 favourites, in the race to top the festive charts.
The finalists sang three songs during the second instalment of the final, the first saw Amelia Lily booted out on Saturday night, in a bid to win the public’s vote.
For their first solo performance the two acts sang their favourite song of the series and Collins, a 23-year-old hairdresser from Crosby, kicked off with Jackie Wilson’s Higher And Higher.
Little Mix chose Don’t Let Go by En Vogue as their favourite song, which reduced judge Kelly Rowland to tears.
She said: “I’m sorry crying but I’m just so happy for you all because I remember where you started. The public needs to vote for Little Mix. Love you guys.”
They then both sang a Christmas song, Collins performing Last Christmas by Wham! and Little Mix taking on the classic Silent Night, before giving their rendition of the winner’s single.
Before he performed Collins said: “Standing outside and doing my first audition I never dreamt I would get this far.”
An emotional Gary Barlow, who mentored Collins throughout the series, looked to be welling up following his act’s performance.
He said: “Wow, what a performance that was. So strange, I would never have picked that song for you and you sing it so beautifully. I really hope that’s not the last time we hear that song, that should be the winner’s song tonight.”
In a video which looked back over Little Mix’s X Factor journey Jesy said she had found her “three best friends and being with these girls has changed my life”.
Perrie said: “This competition means everything. It’s been the best experience of my life. Now that we’ve got this far we know that we can do it.”
Following their performance Louis Walsh said: “I’m getting emotional, Tulisa is getting emotional, you are getting emotional. The reason we are getting emotional is because four little pop princesses have been born.”
Tulisa added: “Jade, you are the most adorable person I’ve ever known. Jesy, you are the most inspiring I’ve met, Leigh-Anne, you remind me of myself years ago, and Perrie, you were just born a star. I love all of you.”
The winner’s single, written and originally recorded by Irish folk singer Rice, has been released digitally on sites including iTunes, Play.com, Amazon.com and HMV.com.
The CD is expected to be on shop shelves by Wednesday.