James Arthur was named the winner of the 'X Factor' tonight.
The 24-year-old singer, from Saltburn, near Middlesbrough, beat Jahmene Douglas to take the title in front of a 10,000-strong audience at Manchester Arena, with millions more watching the ITV show live on television.
Arthur looked stunned as host Dermot O’Leary announced the result and could only say “wow” when asked how he felt.
“I don’t what to say,” he added.
Arthur walks away from the talent show with a recording contract and will now release his winner's single, a rendition of ‘Impossible’ by Barbadian singer Shontelle, in a bid to top the charts with a Christmas number one.
After being announced as the champion of the ninth series of the show, a dazed-looking Arthur performed the song for the second time tonight.
Asked what was going through his mind by O’Leary, he said: “I don’t know. Thank you, thank you so much.”
He was hugged by judge Nicole Scherzinger, who mentored both him and runner up Douglas.
The former Pussycat Doll, who looked glamourous in a black fishtail gown, jumped up and down in excitement at his success.
O'Leary said Douglas had been a ``terrific runner up'' and told the shy singer he thought he had ``blossomed'' during the competition.
The 24-year-old from Swindon, Wiltshire, was magnanimous in defeat, saying: “I think it’s just a blessing to share the stage with such a talent. You’re so amazing James, use this platform, use it wisely.”
Both finalists had the chance to perform two songs during the two-hour programme, with each showcasing the singles they would release if they won as they made their final bid to win the public’s vote.
Douglas was accompanied by a choir as he sang his soulful take on ‘Let It Be’ by the Beatles before Arthur sang ‘Impossible’.
Judge Tulisa Contostavlos, who admitted she was rooting for Arthur to win, told him: “From the second I saw you perform I got you. I get you.
“You’ve been to the depths in life, the deep, dark depths and you’ve come out. You’re an inspirer.”
Fellow judge Gary Barlow said of Douglas: “You are an unbelievable contestant”, while Scherzinger described his as an “honest, beautiful performance”.
She had been moved to tears within the first 20 minutes of the programme by Douglas’s first song.
The pair had to choose a song they had previously sung during the competition, with Douglas deciding to sing his pared-down version of ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams, where he was also backed by a choir.
A weeping Scherzinger told him: “When I watch you up there you just bring so much spirit and hope to the show. When I watch you sing I just feel safe. You’re an angel.”
Judge Louis Walsh said he wanted the clean-cut singer to win, urging the public to pick up the phone and vote for Douglas. He told him: “I’ve loved you from day one and you’re living proof that days can come true.
“You were stacking shelves in Asda, what, three or four months ago. Now you’re going to have a music career.”
Douglas was followed by Arthur who attempted to seduce the female judges by dancing up against them during his rendition of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’.
Barlow said: “You’re already ready now to record and play shows and can tell you for now mate, I’m ready to download your albums right now, I really am.”