List of The X Factor finalists (UK series 3)
The "16–24s" category was mentored by Simon Cowell. Contestants in this category were either gender aged 16 to 24. The eight candidates at judges' houses were: Nikitta Angus, Stacey Barnes, Leona Lewis, Ashley McKenzie, Carlo Muscutelli, Ray Quinn, Shaun Rogerson and Gemma Sampson. Cowell chose:
Nikitta Angus (born 19 October 1988 in Manchester, England) was raised in Glasgow. Her aunt, Katie Angus, was also in the over 25s category but failed to make the final 4. At her audition, Nikitta performed "Dimming of the Day" written by Richard Thompson, which she recorded with her aunt for her mother's funeral in 2005. Angus was due to be a contestant in 2005 but was knocked down by a car ten minutes before her audition. She finished in seventh place after being eliminated in the bottom-two showdown with Ray Quinn in week 5.
In 2010 Nikitta's career began an upward climb, collaborating with many household names in the production of music for her forthcoming album. Nikitta can also be seen as a model, representing various fashion franchises across the UK, and is managed by Northern Star Artist Management. In July 2010, she participated in the Channel 5 TV show Don't Stop Believing with cheerleading squad Blok and two other singers, but was eliminated by the judges after the group lost a sing-off.
Angus is currently a member of reality group G*Mania.
Leona Lewis (born 3 April 1985) grew up in North London and often listened to her father's record collection. She says "I loved listening to Minnie Riperton and Anita Baker, plus 80s big vocalists Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Oleta Adams and more recently Eva Cassidy, and at the age of six, "I decided to be a singer". Lewis wrote her first song at the age of 12, and attended the Sylvia Young Stage School and the BRIT School.
Her audition performances for The X Factor were "Over the Rainbow", "I Have Nothing", and "Without You". Her vocal talents were consistently highly praised by all three judges throughout the competition, and on occasions she was compared to Mariah Carey. On 9 December show Simon Cowell remarked that of all Pop Idol and The X Factor performances, her performance of "Over the Rainbow" was the best he had ever witnessed. The only criticisms she received, both from the judges and in the press, were related to her confidence. Cowell also commented throughout the show that Lewis's lack of awareness of her talents was what made her special. Lewis never fell into the bottom two throughout the live finals and went on to win the contest, becoming the first woman to do so. Her first release was the song "A Moment Like This".
Following the release of Lewis's second single "Bleeding Love" and debut album Spirit, she became the biggest selling The X Factor contestant and the first to have international success. On 17 April 2008, Spirit debuted at number 1 on the American Billboard 200 album charts, with her single "Bleeding Love" simultaneously reaching the top spot.
Ashley Frank McKenzie (born 9 June 1986 in Croydon, South London) is one of five children; he has two brothers, David and Rory, and two sisters, Leah and Ella. Ashley's cousin is the retired footballer, Leon McKenzie. Ashley is very interested in gymnastics and has won many awards for his skills. He has done modelling work for Storm and Topman in the past.
Ashley was in the bottom three during the third week of the live shows but avoided elimination. He was eliminated in week four.
Ray Quinn (born 25 August 1988) lived with his parents in Liverpool at the time of the show, and was studying Performing Arts at The Merseyside Dance and Drama College, with one year of his course remaining. He has two older brothers who own a carpet warehouse. At college he received some vocal training and had also learnt to dance to quite an advanced level. Quinn is also known for playing Anthony Murray in the TV soap opera Brookside. This role won him the 2002 British Soap Award for Best Dramatic Performance, and the storyline in which he featured won Best Storyline. Quinn has also appeared in a children's drama called Cactus Jack.
Many of Quinn's performances had an old-fashioned feel, and in the earlier stages of the competition he was criticised by Louis Walsh for repeatedly performing swing-style numbers. Sharon Osbourne christened him "panto boy" and the judges generally queried his ability as a pure singer as opposed to a "song-and-dance man". In the later stages the judges seemed satisfied that the range of his performances had widened.
Quinn was in the bottom two in the fifth week along with Nikitta Angus, but survived elimination, and then in the penultimate week he gained the highest number of public votes. Quinn finished as runner-up behind Leona Lewis in the final.
The "Over 25s" category was mentored by Sharon Osbourne. Contestants in this category were either gender aged 25 and over. The eight candidates at judges' houses were: Robert Allen, Katie Angus, Jonathan Bremner, Lyn Fairbanks, Kerry McGregor, Ben Mills, Dionne Mitchell and Tigwa Savage. Osbourne chose:
Robert Allen lived in Essex at the time of the show with his girlfriend Samia, whom he met at an open mike event. Allen has one brother and one sister. He used to be in a gospel group called The Continentals and another group called Citizen K. Allen has trained in method acting, had professional dance tuition and can play clarinet to grade 4. Allen's audition performance of "Let It Be" was well received by the judges, and at bootcamp he sang "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. Allen was in the bottom two three times, and was eliminated the third time on 18 November.
Kerry McGregor, (30 October 1974 – 4 January 2012) was a full-time mother from West Lothian. She broke her back when she was 13 and was left paraplegic, dependent on a wheelchair and crutches to get around. In 1997, she entered A Song for Europe but lost out to Katrina and the Waves. She also sang on the track "Freedom" by dance act QFX, which reached number 21 in the UK Singles Chart. In 2003 she appeared in three episodes of the Channel 4 comedy The Book Group, playing Carol Ann.
In the audition stages, she performed the songs "Show Me Heaven", "Something", "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" and "You've Got a Friend". McGregor was eliminated by the judges in the third live show.
On 4 January 2012, McGregor died at the age of 37 after a long battle with bladder cancer.
Ben Mills (born 1979/80) is from Ashford, Kent. He had been running his own marquee company for four years. He had been singing for 20 years, and performed in pubs and clubs in his local area. His claim to fame before taking part in The X Factor was putting up a marquee for Jools Holland. He has one sister and one brother. Mills has a Diploma in music and also plays piano and guitar. Mills' biggest performance to date had been at the Guildford Folk and Blues Festival. He was also a keyboard player in the tribute band to The Doors called The L.A. Doors.
Mills was in the bottom two for the first time in week 7 alongside Eton Road, but survived elimination. He was then voted off in the semi-final, finishing in third place behind eventual runner-up Ray Quinn and winner Leona Lewis.
Dionne Mitchell was born and raised in London and lived with her parents at the time of the show. Mitchell has two older sisters and four older brothers. She had been singing for six years after joining a theatre company and performing in a play. After the show the company asked her to stay on. She had also performed in clubs and as a backing singer at concerts.
Mitchell was in the bottom two in week one, but avoided elimination. However, she was automatically eliminated by the public in the third week, having received the fewest votes in the special double-elimination show.
The "Groups" category was mentored by Louis Walsh. Contestants in this category were duos or vocal groups and all members had to be aged 16 or over. The eight candidates at judges' houses were: 4Sure, Avenue, Brother's One, The Dolly Rockers, Eton Road, The MacDonald Brothers, Brother's One and The Unconventionals. Walsh chose:
4Sure are a four-piece boy band consisting of Andrew Fisher, Kriss Jones, Donovan Bailey and Jermaine Sanderson.
Donovan Bailey formed the band in 2005 after asking Jones to sing to him over the telephone. Sanderson and Fisher were mutual friends who joined the group at the same time. They had performed around the country at various holiday parks and pubs and chose the name 4Sure because they were "four guys sure of their destiny". In fact, their destiny was elimination in week two.
Since leaving The X Factor 4Sure have been busy writing and recording new songs and have also supported Boyz II Men on their UK Tour as well as other American artists.
Eton Road were originally made up of Anthony Hannah, Danny Morris, David Heath and Jay Edwards.
The four had known each other since they attended a dance school called Chiltern Casting on Eaton Road together when they were younger. They named themselves after the road, slightly changing the spelling. They had all been singing for a number of years in shows, competitions and cabarets. However, they had only been together as a group for four days when they auditioned for The X Factor. From their first audition, Simon Cowell branded Anthony Hannah as "the odd one" in reference to his distinct look. At the age of 14, Hannah took part in Stars in Their Eyes Kids, performing as Robbie Williams. He also performed with Gareth Gates on Top of the Pops in 2003, after winning this opportunity in a competition.
Avenue were initially chosen to go through but were later found out to have misled the judges over an existing record contract with a manager who used to be associated with the show, and were disqualified as a consequence. Eton Road were put through in their place. Eton Road were in the bottom two for the first time on 18 November, but were saved by Cowell. The following week they were in the bottom two again, and were eliminated by Cowell, who had the casting vote on both occasions.
After The X Factor Hannah left and was replaced with Marcus Collins.
Eton Road's debut single, "Wishing", received its first airplay on 4 October 2007 on a local Liverpool late night radio show, though they had not yet signed to a record label. Their debut single, "Wishing", was released in January 2008. In January 2008 they were signed by Malcom Feld. In March 2008, Collins was advised to leave the group. Collins went on to pursue a solo career and wrote new material to perform with a 10-piece band. In 2011, Collins auditioned for the eighth series of The X Factor and finished as the runner-up. Heath, Edwards and Morris decided to carry on as a trio, but announced their split in October 2008 via their official Myspace account.
The MacDonald Brothers
The MacDonald Brothers are brothers Brian and Craig MacDonald. Brian (born 28 November 1986) and Craig (born 16 December 1985) lived at the time of the show with their parents and have a half brother from their father's previous relationship. The MacDonald Brothers had been singing together seriously for three years at weddings and clubs, and occasionally performed backing vocals. One of their biggest performances as The MacDonald Brothers had been in front of Hugh Grant at the ceilidh dance.
The MacDonald Brothers were repeatedly rubbished by Simon Cowell, who called their performances "dreary" and "pointless" and expressed amazement as the pair continued to survive the vote. They were finally eliminated on 2 December 2006, finishing in overall fourth place. At the series 4 Glasgow audition, Cowell made a "formal apology" to Scotland that they had been represented by the brothers in series 3.
The duo have, however, been popular in their native Scotland, with their first album reaching number 1 in the Scottish charts and number 18 in the UK charts. Their second album, The World Outside, is due for release.[when?]
They have also toured with Westlife and are currently signed to Scottish music label The Music Kitchen.
The Unconventionals were a six-piece group consisting of Andrew Newey, Drew Jaymson, Elizabeth "Liz" Ewing, Lucy Newton, Nicola Dawn and Tom Newman. They formed just a few weeks before their appearance on The X Factor. Drew Jaymson and Andrew Newey had known each other since 1990 when they both performed at a charity gig. Liz Ewing was brought into the group after working with Jaymson on the musical Grease. Nicola Dawn and Lucy Newton knew Jaymson from their time working on the Boy George musical Taboo in London's West End. Tom Newman, Dawn's boyfriend, was the only member who was previously unknown to most of the group. The Unconventionals had had only one performance of note, a charity performance at the night club Too 2 Much.
Since leaving The X Factor, they have toured alongside the MacDonald Brothers, supporting Westlife at Wembley Arena and the Point Theatre, Dublin. They also opened for Tom Jones and Beverley Knight in London.
The Unconventionals officially announced the release of their debut single "Abstract YoYo" for 14 September 2009, as a digital-only release. A video for the single has also been produced. An physical release album entitled "Flower to the People" was released in July 2010 and features Little Britain's Matt Lucas as a guest rapper. A number of Sir Bernard Chumley's 'associates' are also reported to make an appearance on the record which received extensive airplay and acclaim on BBC Radio 2. There were four further single releases "Push the Button", "Top of the World", "Strawberry Sunshine" & "Long Distance Christmas". They also recorded the song "Stop Telling Me Lies" written for them by Tom Watkins (Bros, East 17) and Nicky Graham (Bros), and the theme tune to the reality series Working 9 to 5. Along the way, original members of the group Drew, Tom and Andrew were joined by three new girls, West End musical performers Kelly-Ann Gower, Melissa Jacques and Laura Lee.
Original band members from the X Factor series have all achieved individual success – Nicola Dawn has toured the world as lead singer/narrator in Cirque Du Soleil, Lucy Newton went on to perform on the West End stage in such musicals as Wicked (Glinda u/s) and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. and Liz Ewing garnered great acclaim as Shirley also in Priscilla Queen of the Desert at London's Palace Theatre. Drew Jaymson has continued writing and performing with major names, in addition to his musical theatre activities. Tom Newman toured the UK in the controversial play Future Me, and Andrew Newey has toured internationally as part of another 3 boy 3 girl vocal group The WestEnders.
- Deanie, Marc (22 July 2010). "Leona told me to go for it on Dont Stop Believing". The Sun (London).
- Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1984–2004.
- Madeley, Gavin (5 January 2012). "Simon Cowell leads the tributes for former X Factor finalist Kerry McGregor who died of cancer aged 37". Daily Mail (London: DMG Media). Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- "Ant takes off pop's Rob". The Sun (London: News UK). 1 November 2006. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
- McGarry, Lisa (9 October 2006). "X Factor Rule Breaking….Again!". Unreality TV. Retrieved 21 October 2013.