This weekend, Mr. B. spent a great deal of time catching up on his favorite TV talent show The X Factor (UK) in YouTube (since the show is not televised here). I find it quite fascinating watching all these aspiring recording artists crying their hearts out if they fail to make it in the competition and cry even harder when they get through to the next round. It's as if that was the last chance in their lives and they cannot afford to fail.
But what really happens when they win the competition? Would their dreams of better lives really come true? Will they be able to live up to burden given to them by the millions of TV voters? Would these TV voters really support them when they finally come out with their records?
I made some research and here are the winners of The X Factor so far:
Steve Brookstein (2004 winner) - One of Mr. B.'s favorite, Brookstein came up with a best-selling album of covers. When he refused to record a second album of covers, his recording company dumped him. He release his second album of mostly originals independently and it didn't chart at all. He is practically forgotten now.
Shayne Ward (2005 winner) - Another one of Mr. B.'s favorite. The Golden Boy of The X Factor released his first album Shayne Ward and followed it up a year after with Breathless, both reaching multiple platinum status. He travelled to Asia to promote his records but it seems that his popularity was limited within the UK.
Leona Lewis (2006 winner) - Probably the only winner that "made it" across the continent with her first album Spirit primarily due to the song Bleeding Love. Her next album Echo will be release in November 2009 and she shall embark on a world tour in 2010.
Leon Jackson (2007 winner) - The "least successful" of the 5 winners so far. While his single When You Believe topped the Christmas chart in 2008, his first album reached only number 4. A number of his concert dates were subsequebtly cancelled due to poor ticket sales.
Alexandra Burke (2008 winner) - Her debut album Overcome shall be in the market 19 October this year. Whether she will be successful or not remains to be seen.
I find myself asking a question: So what changed for them after the glorious finale when they were declared the winners? For Steve, it's back to singing in small venues. For Shayne, waiting for materials for his new album. For Leona, a promise of a long, fruitful career if she can handle fame and fortune well and if she comes out with more songs to match the success of Bleeding Love. For Leon, not much. For Alexandra, probably depends on how her album sells.
Video credit : Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love