Wide Awake (Joe McElderry album)

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Wide Awake
Joe McElderry - Wide Awake (LQ).jpg
Studio album by Joe McElderry
Released 22 October 2010 (2010-10-22)
Recorded December 2009 - September 2010
Genre Pop, dance pop, teen pop
Length 35:53
Label Syco Music
Producer Ray Hedges, Dallas Austin, John Shanks
Joe McElderry chronology
Wide Awake
Singles from Wide Awake
  1. "The Climb"
    Released: 14 December 2009
  2. "Ambitions"
    Released: 11 October 2010
  3. "Someone Wake Me Up"
    Released: 5 December 2010

Wide Awake is the debut album of English pop singer Joe McElderry, winner of the sixth series of British talent competition The X Factor. The album was released digitally on 22 October 2010,[1][2] with a physical release following on 25 October 2010.[3]

Two retailer exclusive versions of the album were available, with Asda offering four bonus cards and play.com offering signed copies of the album.


McElderry recorded his first single "The Climb" in December 2009, releasing it on 14 December, shortly after he won the sixth series of the British television talent contest The X Factor. The singer received 61.3% of the final public vote. Joe's prize was a £1 million recording contract with Syco Music, a subsidiary of Sony BMG including a £150,000 advance payment. After completing X Factor Live tour, various meetings of the album took place and recording on the album began in July, before being completed in early September. Joe worked with producers Ray Hedges,[4] Dallas Austin and John Shanks on the album.[5] Simon Cowell contacted Journey for permission to release a cover of "Don't Stop Believin'", which McElderry had covered on the show before, as a single, but was declined.[6] The album was originally planned to include a selection pop-rock, ballad and slow songs, however, the album's direction was changed upon completion of the single "Ambitions".[7]

Ahead of the album's release Digital Spy reported that it would outsell previous male winners of the X-Factor[8] based on pre-order charts where Wide Awake was 49% higher sales than 2006's winner Shayne Ward's debut album, 23.2% higher than 2008's winner Leon Jackson's Right Now and 40.7% higher than Steve Brookstein's Heart and Soul. McElderry had said before its release that the album had "some different elements" and is "definitely going to be a bit of a shocker",[9] while Simon Cowell said that McElderry "has moved on to new musical territory" and that fans would be "pleasantly surprised".[10] McElderry launched the album at G-A-Y.[11] "Until the Stars Run Out" contains elements of "Faith" by George Michael.[12]


"The Climb", a cover of Miley Cyrus' single, was released on 14 December 2009, as the X Factor winner's single. It reached number-one on the UK Singles Chart, Scottish Singles Chart and Irish Singles Chart. It also peaked at number four on the European Hot 100 Singles chart, and appears as a bonus track on the album, for the UK and Ireland editions only.

"Ambitions", a cover of Donkeyboy's single, was released as the lead single from Wide Awake, and second overall single. The track made its debut on The 5:19 Show on 19 September 2010.[13] McElderry performed the single on the seventh series of The X Factor on 10 October 2010, the same day that the single was released by digital download, causing the iTunes Store to crash for two minutes as fans tried to download the track.[14] The physical CD single was released following day, reaching number 4 on the Irish Singles Chart and number 6 on the UK Singles Chart. "If You Love Me" is the B-Side.

"Someone Wake Me Up" is the third single from the album.[15] It was released on 5 December 2010.[16] The video contains clips from the film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader[17] but the song will not appear in the film, however, the B-Side "There’s A Place For Us"[18] is played during the credits of the film.[19] The single peaked at number 68 in the UK and number 69 in Ireland.

Commercial performance[edit]

Wide Awake debuted at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart in its first week of release,[20] with retail sales of 39,405 copies in the country during that week.[21] The album fell to number 20 on the chart the following week,[22] and to number 40 the week after that.[23] As of November 2015, the album has sold 105,231 copies in the United Kingdom.[24]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
4Music 4/5 stars[25]
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[26]
BBC Music (favourable)[27]
Gay Times (favourable)[28]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[29]
Heat 5/5 stars[30]
The Observer (mixed)[31]
OK! 4/5 stars[32]
Virgin Media 2/5 stars[33]
Yahoo! Music 7/10 stars[34]

Wide Awake received generally mixed reviews from critics. The Guardian awarded the album 2 out of 5 stars, calling McElderry's vocals "perfectly characterless", an album which "sounds like everyone else who's made a pop record in 2010."[29] Virgin Media also gave the album 2 out of 5 stars, calling the album "mediocre" and the tracks "anodyne, written-by-committee post-X Factor fodder."[33] The Daily Mirror was the third review to also give 2 out of 5 stars, reviewing that Wide Awake had "oddly chosen, largely hollow songs."[35] The Observer's review describes the album as "a tidal wave of production, atop which [McElderry's] voice rides rather meekly."[31] The Daily Express gave a negative review, calling the album "a collection of limp pop sweepings-up, albeit backed by the best producers hard money can buy", referring to McElderry as having "as much personality as a Spam sandwich. With no pickle."[36]

Critical acclaim came from Heat which called Wide Awake "The best album ever released by a winner of The X Factor" and gave it 5 stars.[37] Unreality Shout praised the album and said it is "the best X Factor winner's album to date, despite it being nearly schizophrenic of nature: one minute you're flouncing you're way through some of the campest songs of the year ('Real Late Starter', 'Fahrenheit'), throwing some suggestive moves and jazz hands while you do so, and the next you're relaxing in the shade of a veranda in the back garden of a country farm house, looking out on fields upon fields of lush greenery ('Smile', 'Wide Awake')."[38] Gay Times gave the songs on the album a positive review.[39] BBC Music said the album is "a disco-dusted debut of giddy pop pleasures."[40] Yahoo! Music gave the album 7/10.[41] 4Music gave the album 4 stars, saying "rather than making the ballad-heavy collection that everyone was expecting, Joe has produced a fun, upbeat pop album which takes its inspiration from acts such as Alphabeat ('Feel the Fire') and Scissor Sisters ('Fahrenheit')"[42] OK! also gave the album 4 stars, saying "recent single 'Ambitions' sets the tone, with its chugging guitars, while 'Someone Wake Me Up' is an epic lighters-aloft stunner and 'Real Late Starter' has a definite Take That vibe."[43]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Ambitions" Kent Sundberg, Cato Sundberg, Simen Eriksrud, Simone Larsen Ray Hedges, Nigel Butler 2:55
2. "Someone Wake Me Up" Liam Keenan, Ben Collier, Ray Hedges, Nigel Butler Ray Hedges, Nigel Butler 3:26
3. "Superman" John Ondrasik Ray Hedges, Nigel Butler 3:41
4. "Real Late Starter" Nerina Pallot Ray Hedges, Nigel Butler 3:17
5. "Until the Stars Run Out" Lars Halvor Jensen, Martin Michael Larsson, Tom Nichols, George Michael Deekay, Tom Nichols 3:18
6. "Feel the Fire" Richard Stannard, Ash Howes, Emma Rohan, Steven Malcolmson Biffco 2:58
7. "Fahrenheit" Johan Fransson, Henrik Göranson, Tim Larsson, Tobias Lundgren, Sharon Vaughn Play Production 3:35
8. "Wide Awake" Chris DeStefano, David Hodges, Brian Howes Chris "Rockwell" Destefano 3:20
9. "Smile" Blair Daly, Jeremy Bose, Matthew Shafer, John Harding Ray Hedges, Nigel Butler 3:22
10. "Love Is War" Tina Harris-Pampouneau, Jamie Hartman, Alex Reid Nick Coler 2:25
11. "The Climb" (Bonus Track) Jessi Alexander, Jon Mabe Quiz & Larossi 3:36


Chart (2010) Peak
Irish Albums Chart[44] 5
Scottish Albums Chart[45] 2
UK Albums Chart[46] 3
European Albums Chart[47] 10


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  2. ^ "Wide Awake". iTunes Store Ireland. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
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  4. ^ Joe McElderry interview We7. Retrieved on 11 October 2010.
  5. ^ Joe’s in the studio! Joe-Music.com. Retrieved on 26 September.
  6. ^ "Journey wouldn't allow Joe McElderry to cover 'Don't Stop Believein'". Unreality TV. 2010-01-16. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
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  8. ^ "McElderry storms album pre-order chart - Music News". Digital Spy. 2010-10-22. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
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  13. ^ http://www.sonymusic.co.uk/news/17344/15/
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  20. ^ "2010-11-6 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive". Official Charts. 2010-11-06. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
  21. ^ Alan Jones, Reality stars top UK sales charts From Music Week (30 August 2011). Retrieved on 9 September 2011.
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  30. ^ [1] Archived 5 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
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  34. ^  1 hr ago (2011-04-20). "Yahoo! UK & Ireland omg! - Celebrity Gossip | News | Photos | Videos". New.uk.music.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
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