JOE McELDERRY was tipped to be the Christmas chart-topper and have at least one No 1 next year after being crowned the winner of TV singing context X Factor last night.
The hot favourite for the title won a life-changing record contract for his achievement, after beating fellow finalist Olly Murs in a public vote in a show watched by an estimated 20 million viewers.
The 18-year-old student from South Shields will have his single The Climb in record shops and it went on sale to download at midnight.
Bookmakers Paddy Power had Joe as 1-8 to make it to No 1 for Christmas and made him a 6-4 chance of having next year’s biggest selling album in Britain.
McElderry beat 200,000 applicants to The X Factor and more than 10 million public votes were cast. The pair of male singers had made it through to last night’s final after Dagenham Diva Stacey Soloman was voted out by viewers on Saturday night.
Hugging his mentor, fellow Geordie Cheryl Cole after the result was announced, Joe declared: “I can’t even speak, thank you so much everyone.”
“I just want to say thank you to Cheryl, she’s been an amazing mentor.”
He also thanked the other judges and everyone who voted for him.
Cole told him: “I feel over the moon, I’m absolutely delighted. The right person won. I’m so proud of you. The North East are going to be going mad.”
The show’s creator and one of the other judges, Simon Cowell said he was gutted for his own finalist Olly but told Joe he was “thrilled for you because you’re brilliant”.
It was Cole’s second victory in a row, after mentoring Alexandra Burke in last year’s competition.
Ladbrokes spokesman Nick Weinberg said: “Joe is the toast of fans up and down the country. For weeks now he’s looked like the only realistic winner and has justified his billing. Christmas chart success is virtually assured.”
William Hill said it now faced a £1 million (€1.11 million) payout on McElderry, including £7,000 (€7,800) to his family members.
Along with the other eliminated contestants, Dublin twins John and Edward Grimes – Jedward – appeared on stage to celebrate Joe’s success. But despite their disappointment of exiting the show last month, the pair are still hotly-tipped for their own glory as second favourites to be Ireland’s Eurovision entrants in 2010.
Earlier last night, the final 12 wannabes returned to open the two-hour show with their version of Never Forget, which involved McElderry and Murs walking on stage with their arms around each other’s shoulders in matching white suits. In a sign of the show’s ability to draw in the world’s top stars, ex-Beatle Paul McCartney appeared on the final show singing Drive My Car with McElderry, Murs and this year’s other 10 X Factor finalists. Sir Paul said: “I think they’re both good, you know, one of them’s going to win.”
Last year’s winner Alexandra Burke, who performed with 2008 runners-up JLS, described The X Factor as the “best experience of your life”.
It also emerged Cowell is eyeing Robbie Williams as a potential extra judge for 2010.
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