LITTLE MIX, winners of the X Factor final on Sunday night, are set for an £8 million pay purse from endorsements and record deals, according to Simon Cowell, via The Sun. But winning X Factor is not always a road paved with gold, as some past victors have discovered. In fact, it's sometimes an advantage to take the runner-up spot. So is it better to win or lose? Let's look at the evidence: 2004 Steve Brookstein not only won the first X Factor series in 2004, he also won a poll last year to determine the greatest reality TV flop after it was reported that he performed at a pub in Cornwall where punters paid £2.50 to hear him sing - the charge was waived if you bought 'a pint and a pie'. Brookstein's last album ' 40,000 Things' sold just 7,000 copies, while a single peaked at number 193 in the UK. 2004 runners-up G4 had slightly more success but split up in 2007. Win or lose? LOSE 2005 Shane Ward, who won X Factor in 2005 and claimed the Christmas number one, enjoyed a lengthy spell in the limelight but was dropped by Syco in early 2011, after 2010 album 'Obsession' only hit 15 in the UK , with the title track stalling at 97 in the singles chart. Runner up Andy Abraham hasn't released anything since 2006, except for 'Even If' which gave the UK last place for only the second time ever at the Eurovision. Win or lose? WIN 2006 Three times Grammy nominee Leona Lewis, the 2006 winner, is the most successful X Factor UK winner with over ten million albums and 25 million singles sold. Runnerup Ray Quinn, who won Dancing On Ice in 2009, was dropped by his label in 2007. Win or lose? WIN 2007 Leon Jackson has called his X Factor win 'a curse'. His debut single was the fastest selling in 2007 but his 2008 album sold just 130,000 copies and Sony BMG dropped him in 2009. He's said to be working on new material. Runner-up Rhydian has had a steady flow of work in TV, theatre and hit musicals and a 2011 album 'Waves' made number 39 in the UK. Win or lose? LOSE
2008 Alexandra Burke has had a couple of number ones since her version of 'Hallelujah' made the Christmas number one spot in 2008. 'All Night Long', her 2009 album, spent 60 weeks in the UK charts and a follow-up is due early in 2012 on Cowell's Syco label. Boyband JLS, runners-up to Burke, have also enjoyed success, with 'Jukebox' - released last month - making number two in the UK and five in Ireland, and single 'She Makes Me Wanna' scoring number one. Win or lose? DRAW 2009 Joe Mcelderry 's version of 'The Climb' was the best selling single from a male artist in the UK in 2009. But the 2009 X Factor winner parted with label Syco in 2011. He managed to bounce back to some degree with a No.2 album 'Classic'. Runner-up Ollie Murs has has a very good year, with a number one album, two number one singles and a job on the Xtra Factor as presenter. Win or lose? LOSE 2010 Neither winner Matt Cardle nor runnerup Rebecca Ferguson has set the world alight with their debut albums. The biggest success story from last year's X Factor camp has been boyband One Direction who finished third. They signed a £2m deal with Syco and, after a No. 2 album and charttopping single, set their sights on the U.S. market with a tour next year. Win or lose? LOSE So, the omens are not good for Little Mix. That's good news for runner-up Marcus Collins, even though, after what was generally regarded as a poor year for X Factor talent, the real winner may yet come from someone from the lower ranks or the competition.
After all that of course, the only thing we can say with absolute certainty is that Little Mix will inevitably enjoy a No. 1 (or at worst No. 2) hit this Christmas.