Little Mix

Little Mix

Little Mix release their debut album this upcoming Monday, and in preparation, we decided to have a look over the debut collections from the other winners of The X Factor and see how they did.


Steve Brookstein

You might not remember the name without some encouragement, but Steve was the winner of the very first series of The X Factor and is so far the only winner to come from the ‘Over 25s’ category.

While both his debut single and album went to the top of the charts, that was the highlight of Brookstein’s career, as the album was not received well by critics and resulted in the singer being abandoned by Sony BMG.

Consisting only of covers, despite Brookstien’s claims of song writing, it left a sour taste in the mouths of fans that’d paid for a series of uninspiring covers and tracks he’d already performed on the show.

That his follow up album a year later sold only seven thousand copies and hit number 165 in the album charts says it all.

Shayne Ward

After Shayne stormed to the win of the second series of the X Factor and his rather uninspiringly self-titled debut album came out swinging, instantly going in at number one and has since its release six years ago sold over 1.1 million copies worldwide.

Shayne Ward the album wasn’t the same level of disappointment that Brookstein’s release had been met with, with it containing a number of safe, functional pop ballads that had become the trademark of Louis Walsh’s boy bands over the previous years.

While it didn’t take any massive risks, Wards opener was more than enough to justify his winner’s medal and guarantee another largely successful album for the Manchester singer.

Leona Lewis

Easily the most successful of the launch albums so far, Leona Lewis’ first collection of songs easily set her on course to become the one of the biggest singers of the year back in 2007.

It became the fastest selling debut album ever when it hit the store shelves, with it going on to hog that position for the seven weeks and only being beaten by Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black to be the year’s biggest selling album.

The critical reception was positive too, mainly helped by Leona’s great vocal and it not just being a collection of ballads like her time on X Factor. Despite Leona’s vocal rescuing some truly average tracks, it was a good introduction to her style.

Going on to get Leona nominated for several BRIT awards, including both British FemaleSolo Act and British Album, although it failed to scoop up either award.

Leon Jackson

While Leona had prospered the year before, Leon Jackson’s debut album will go down as the lowest charting debut from an X Factor winner and saw the Scottish singer fail to live up to the expectations set by the show.

Despite his debut single hitting the top of the charts and securing the Christmas number one title for the show for the fourth year in a row, the album wasn’t able to create anything like the same impact when it debuted nearly a year later.

While the decision to build anticipation with Leona’s album was a wise one, it turned out to be the downfall of Jackson’s album Right Now, with it becoming the first winner’s album to not hit the top of the album charts and only peaking at number four.

The album can’t really be called a hidden gem either, as it’s jazz-lite nature simply made it feel like a poor imitation of a Michael Buble record but without any of the same sparkle of Canadian crooner’s work.

From there it’s only been down for Leon, who’s yet to release another record following his release from BMG and has become, like Steve Brookstein, a forgotten winner.

Alexandra Burke

Having romped to victory in that year’s competition and having produced the fastest selling debut single of all time as well as another number one single, anticipation was high for Alexandra Burke’s debut album.

Both sales and quality wise, she didn’t disappoint, with Overcome bursting in at number one and has since gone double platinum.

Overcome may not have sold quite as many copies as Leona Lewis’s Spirit, but easily stands up as the best of the debut albums so far, a truly contemporary and with enough personality to more than just paper over any lyrical cracks.

Joe McElderry

Joe McElderry won the X Factor that year at an absolute canter, claiming more than 60% of the votes to claim the title.

Despite this overwhelming level of support though, Joe was kept off the Christmas number one when he released his debut single by Rage Against The Machine, breaking the show’s perfect record and the start of his relatively disappointing chart performances.

His debut album Wide Awake also didn’t manage to get on top of the sales pile, only reaching number three and not managing to send pulses racing either. Neither artist nor audience was left truly satisfied by the record, that didn’t manage to engage the same charm that had taken him to the X Factor title.

Matt Cardle

Letters also became the first X Factor winner’s album to actually be written by the singer themselves, with Cardle putting his name to all but two of the songs from the album.

Unfortunately it didn’t do the magic trick and imbue the personality and style that the bosses were hoping for from the singer/songwriter vibe and merely resulted in a group of hyper produced and fairly sedate soft-rock tracks.

Eventually reaching platinum record status, it was somewhat of a return to form for the winner’s albums sales wise, but wasn’t able to re-produce the excitement around Cardle that appeared to be building when he was still one the air.


With Little Mix strangely choosing to release their first album in the same week as pop goliath Rihanna, it’s unlikely that the four girls will be cracking open the bubbly come Sunday and face competition from Example and One Direction to secure the runners up spot.

While the slice of nostalgic, 1990’s themed pop fits right at home in the current revival and a real lack of girl bands (apart from the re-forming Girls Aloud and trio Stooshe) leaving the road fairly clear, it may not be the debut the four hoped for.


FemaleFirst Cameron Smith

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