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Those who tuned into The X Factor results show last Sunday might even say that Liverpool Rebecca Ferguson did a fine job. The show has never been just about the winner. It's the runners-up that continue to make waves in the charts. Look at JLS. Or Olly Murs. Or One Direction. And now, after a year spent writing and recording her debut album, it seems it's time for Ms Ferguson (25) to have a little fun of her own in the spotlight.

"It was funny," says Ferguson, about last year's final, "because, when I was on the stage -- when Matt Cardle and I were side by side, I did actually think, 'you know what? I want to win'. But when I didn't, I wasn't worried.

"I felt like I'd come a long way and I was just grateful to come second, and I kind of knew that I still had a lot of opportunities at that stage."

Those opportunities arrived in the form of a major record deal and a top-notch producer by the name of Eg White (Adele, Duffy) with whom Ferguson could hone her craft.


The end result is a slick and surprisingly mature collection of blues and soul-decorated pop songs, entitled Heaven.

"It got quite emotional sometimes when I was writing the album," she says. "A lot of the stuff that I wrote about was quite personal, so it wasn't always easy, but it was important for me to make sure that it came from the heart and from me."

And who, may I ask, is Ferguson rooting for this year? "I'm rooting for Marcus now that Craig's gone -- me fellow scouser!" she laughs. And what about the Frankie lad, eh? Young Cocopops broke one too many rules before producers intervened and gave him the boot. Makes you wonder what life must have been like for Ferguson and Co in last year's X Factor house. Ferguson says: "We never got to do any of that, so I was really shocked when I looked at the papers and could see like, people out partying, because it wasn't really like that for us at all.

And how does she see the future?

"I think I'm a very lucky woman to have two gorgeous kids and a career that hopefully, fingers crossed, will go well."

Heaven is released December 2. Rebecca plays live at the Grand Canal Theatre, March 6, 2012