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The eighth UK series of The X Factor was broadcast on ITV from 20 August 2011, with the live shows starting on 8 October 2011. Girl group Little Mix were the winners, and the runner-up was Marcus Collins. After The X Factor, several of the contestants went onto release singles, including Little Mix, Collins, Amelia Lily, Misha B, Frankie Cocozza, The Risk and 2 Shoes. On 25 July 2013, three contestants from series 8 - Little Mix, Amelia Lily and Misha B - were included in the (three-minute 41-second) X Factor Ultimate Mash-Up, a video trailer for series 10, a selection of 13 tracks and artists chosen to represent a decade of 'The X Factor' artists impact on the UK national chart.
The "Boys" category was mentored by Gary Barlow. Contestants in this category are males aged 16 to 24. The eight candidates were Frankie Cocozza, Marcus Collins, Craig Colton, Joe Cox, Luke Lucas, James Michael, Max Vickers and John Wilding. Barlow chose:
Frankie Cocozza (born 17 January 1993) is a singer of British and Italian descent, from Brighton. He auditioned for The X Factor singing "Valerie" and got a yes from each of the four judges and was put through to bootcamp. He then sang "Iris" at bootcamp and was put through to the judges' houses with Gary Barlow as his mentor. At judges' houses he sang "What's My Name?" and was put through to live shows. For the first live show, he sang "The A Team" and was safe. In week two he sang "The Scientist" but was in the bottom two with Nu Vibe and had to sing again for survival. For his survival song, Cocozza sang "Red" and was saved by Rowland, Walsh and his mentor who the following week admitted that he should have been sent home. In week three, Cocozza sang "Rocks", and was saved. It was later confirmed that Cocozza had sworn on live TV. In Halloween week, he sang "Should I Stay or Should I Go" and was safe. In week five, Cocozza sang "I Gotta Feeling" and was again safe. On 8 November 2011, Cocozza was axed from the show, for breaking the TV show's rules regarding drug use.
On 5 January 2012, Cocozza entered Celebrity Big Brother 9 and came out finishing second to Denise Welch on 27 January 2012. He also presented MTV's My Super Sweet 16, which aired on 22 April 2012. Frankie was also on The Million Pound Drop: Celebrity Games alongside his Celebrity Big Brother housemate Natalie Cassidy.
Marcus Collins (born 15 May 1988) is a hairdresser from Liverpool. Collins was a member of Eton Road, a band that competed during series 3 of UK The X Factor. Following their exit from the show in November 2006 and the departure of lead singer Anthony Hannah, Collins joined Eton Road as a replacement in August 2007. He stayed with the band for about 10 months before leaving to pursue a solo career. He is openly gay and The Sun newspaper reported that his boyfriend was Eton Road's David Heath. On 4 December, he was voted through to the live final along with Amelia Lily and Little Mix. He reached the second half of the final on 11 December 2011 with Little Mix and finished second. His self-titled debut album Marcus Collins was released on 12 March 2012 with his debut single and the lead single off the album a cover of The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army", which was released on 4 March, the song debuted at No. 9 on the UK Singles Chart.
Craig Colton (born 7 October 1988) is from Kirkby and formerly worked in a biscuit factory in Liverpool. He was voted out of the competition in week 7, after being in the final showdown with Amelia Lily and receiving the fewest number of votes, due to the judges vote being deadlocked. On 16 January 2012, Colton revealed he is working on his debut album. When asked about the album, he stated "it's very indie and it's very acoustic and it's got a nice little hint of jazz." Colton unveiled his debut single "Beautiful Surprise" on 12 February, and will go to Los Angeles in the summer to write and record new material with Robbie Williams. Despite identifying as being gay, on 9 October 2012 he revealed to NOW that he was actually Bisexual.
James Michael (born James Michael Stillings; February 1991 Liverpool, Merseyside) is from Widnes, Cheshire. The unemployed singer taught himself a few songs on guitar while job-hunting after finishing school at 16. He describes himself as "not academic" but realised he had a love for music and went to college to study music technology. He sang "Ticket to Ride" and was the first in the boys' category to be eliminated from the live shows on 9 October by decision of mentor Gary Barlow, as there was no public vote in the inaugural live show. After Frankie Cocozza was expelled from the show, the public voted for one act from the initial four eliminated from the first live show to replace him, but Michael lost out to Amelia Lily. The Liverpool Echo reported in early 2012 that Michael was recording material for an album. Since leaving The X Factor, Michael has been taking an interest in modelling and has done many photoshoots since.
The "Girls" category was mentored by Kelly Rowland. Contestants in this category are females aged 16 to 24. The eight candidates were Misha Bryan, Janet Devlin, Sophie Habibis, Amelia Lily, Melanie McCabe, Holly Repton, Jade Richards and Sarah Watson. Rowland chose:
Misha Bryan (born 10 February 1992), better known as Misha B, is from Manchester. Raised from 3-months by her aunt Lily; her father was unknown and mother was incapable of caring for her. Misha started singing seriously aged 14, as 'way of understanding myself'. In 2010 she started a Vocal Artist course at the Manchester Music Base, at Trafford College and she sang on the open mic circuit and busked in Manchester to tackle her stage fright.
For her audition the 'petite, confident, yet coy, Mancunian' sang "Respect", 'with the ease and grace of a pro'. Notably she added one of her own raps to the cover - "how do you make Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' even more sassy? with a rap, of course!" At bootcamp she sang her version of "Survivor" and at judges' houses she performed Nicki Minaj and Rihanna's "Fly". For the first week, Misha sang "Rolling in the Deep". The Daily Telegraph regarded this performance as a highlight of the series, saying she "oozed star quality from the start... Like a 21st-century Grace Jones or an urban Lady Gaga, the teenager seemed like a proper pop star already." For the next two weeks Bryan sang "Would I Lie to You?" and "Purple Rain". In week four she sang "Tainted Love", but was in the bottom two and had to sing for survival in the final showdown against Sophie Habibis. After singing "Use Somebody" as her survival song, she was unanimously saved by the judges, though Barlow's vote was unnecessary for the result. For the fifth week, Misha B sang "Proud Mary". On week six, Misha sang "Born This Way", but again she landed in the final showdown against Brucknell and sang "Who You Are" as her survival song. Walsh (Brucknell's mentor) voted to eliminate her, but Tulisa, Rowland and Barlow voted to save her. On week seven, Misha sang "I Have Nothing". Barlow also told Misha B "I want to see the Misha B we saw at the first audition", which led to Misha singing "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "Killing Me Softly with His Song" on the eighth week. Misha B ended up in the final showdown for the third time in week eight, and sang "Out Here on My Own", with Walsh and Conotstavlos saving her, and Rowland refusing to vote between her and Janet Devlin, meaning Misha B was saved. Barlow afterwards said that he would have also saved her. On 4 December, Misha sang "Dancing in the Street" and "Perfect", but she was voted out of the competition, finishing in 4th place. For her farewell performance "Misha B busted out a short self-penned rap, before segueing into a blinding rendition of Jessie J’s Who You Are."
A variety of sources including The Daily Telegraph, Digital Spy and bluesandsoul.com have considered Misha B as one of the more gifted and exciting acts ever to have come out of a talent competition. BBC 1xtra noting her "show-stopping performances", considered her to be one of the most credible artists to emerge from the show and a "break from the traditional X Factor contestant". Bryan was involved in a controversy during the third live show when Tulisa Contostavlos accused her of making "mean comments" and Louis Walsh accused her of being a "bully" backstage. No evidence was ever provided to support either allegation and both accusers apologised the next day. The other two judges and her fellow contestants defended Misha B during and after the show. Judge Gary Barlow later said he believed the wrongful allegations had ended Misha B's chances of winning the competition. Bryan asked about her experience on X Factor said "I one hundred percent appreciate the platform it gave me...but it's not for the faint-hearted lol. You have to remember that at the end of the day it’s an entertainment show for TV." "Things are said which are out of all of our hands as contestants. I wasn't asked any questions, I was just accused." Misha B spoke to grammy.com in 2013, "I experienced not only highs but my share of lows on The X Factor, but it has set me up with the thick skin needed for this industry... I will always be grateful for my time on the show. I mean, it got me to where I needed to be."
Post X Factor Bryan signed to Relentless Records and released a free fifteen-minute mixtape entitled Why Hello World (2012). On 2 May 2012, Misha announced her debut single "Home Run", which was then released in the UK on 15 July. In the year that followed, Bryan released her second single "Do You Think of Me" (4 November 2012), her second mix-tape, Knock Knock, (February 2013), and her third single Here's to Everything (Ooh La La) (29 April 2013). Bryan supported Nicki Minaj during the United Kingdom leg of her Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour in October and November 2012. She was nominated in the Best Newcomer category for the MOBO Awards 2012 Misha B is the joint patron of the UK's annual National Diversity Awards, a celebration of positive diversity role models and community organisations from across the UK, and an active supporter of The Children's Society in Manchester 
Janet Devlin (born 12 November 1994) is from Gortin, County Tyrone. Devlin had very little singing experience before The X Factor, only singing in her school, pubs and local talent shows. She previously uploaded singing videos to her official channel on YouTube on a regular basis, where she has now received well over 10 million total views worldwide. Devlin performed "Your Song" by Elton John during the audition stage of the competition. For the first live show Devlin sang "Fix You", which was enough to convince Rowland that she deserved a place in the next live show. For the next live shows, Devlin sang "Can't Help Falling in Love", "Sweet Child o' Mine", "Every Breath You Take", "I Want You Back", "Somebody to Love", "Kiss Me". On week 8 she sang "MMMBop" and "Under the Bridge", but landed in the bottom two against Misha B. Devlin sang Chasing Cars for survival, but was voted out of the competition by judges Tulisa and Walsh. Rowland refused to vote, so the majority vote was used. Barlow said he would have eliminated Devlin as well.
It was reported that Devlin had been offered a recording contract by RKA Records, a record company partly owned by Dragons' Den star and entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne, within 35 minutes of being eliminated from the competition. At the end of May 2012 Devlin worked with singer-songwriter Eliot Kennedy, where she wrote and recorded 3 songs ('Crown of Thorns', 'Thinking Back Yesterday' and 'Who Am I Today?'). Her songwriting has also been developed by Helen Boulding. Devlin has been writing most of her new music along with other songs being co-written for inclusion on an album. The album may feature her song "Crown of Thorns" which she has performed at recent gigs. Devlin used the website PledgeMusic to fund the album, only releasing it if sufficient pre-orders were received. In December 2012 it was stated that the album would be released in early 2013, having reached 45% of the pledge target within the first two weeks.
Devlin performed at Croke Park, in front of a capacity 82,300 crowd, as part of the half-time show for the All Ireland Gaelic Football final on 23 September 2012. She performed a cover of "Fix You" and one of her self-penned original songs "Walk Away". She performed at the X Factor NSPCC Childline Ball on 18 October, again singing her original song 'Walk Away' and 'Fix You' by Coldplay, helping to raise over half a million pounds for the charity. On 3 November 2012 she performed at Casement Park, as part of the pre-match entertainment, for the Michaela Foundation's charity Gaelic Football match in memory of Michaela McAreavey. Janet performed for his Holiness, the Dalai Lama on 18 April as part of Irish charity, Children in Crossfire's 'Culture of Compassion' event in Derry.
Sophie Maria Habibis, (born 3 November 1991) from Tufnel Park, London. She is the youngest of four children to a father of Greek descent. Prior to the show she was a barmaid in Archway who had sung karaoke. At judges' houses, she performed "He Won't Go" by Adele, and made it through to the Live Shows. In the live shows, Habibis performed Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" in week one, convincing Rowland to keep her in the competition. In following weeks she performed "Wherever You Will Go", "Livin' on a Prayer" and "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)". In week four, Habibis was in the bottom two and had to perform in the final showdown against Misha B, she sang "Shelter" for survival. The judges voted 3–0 to eliminate her including her mentor Kelly Rowland voting against her, claiming Misha wanted to it more. Fellow judge Gary Barlow announced afterwards that he would also have eliminated Habibis. At the end of the series it was revealed that Habibis had received more votes than Misha. She has recently stated plans to release a song in November 2012.
Amelia Lily (born Amelia Lily Oliver; 16 October 1994) is from Nunthorpe in Middlesbrough, where she attended a dance school at the Neptune Centre, Berwick Hills. She grew up singing in her garden with her friends also taking part in musical theatre. She performed "Billie Jean" and was the first of the girls' category to be eliminated from the live shows on 9 October by decision of mentor Kelly Rowland, as there was no public vote in the inaugural live show. After Frankie Cocozza was ejected from the show for breaking one of the competition's rules, the public was given a choice to vote, from 10–12 November, for one act which had been eliminated on week 1 to return. Amelia won the vote with over 48% of the vote and replaced Cocozza. She went on to make the final and finished in third place behind Marcus Collins and Little Mix.
Amelia has signed a £500,000 three-album record deal with Sony subsidiary Xenomania. Amelia is now coming to the end process of recording her debut album. On 29 June 2012, Lily announced her debut album would be released on 29 April 2013, though it has since been pushed back to February 2014. The video for "You Bring Me Joy", her debut single, was released in August 2012 in the UK.
The "Over 25s" category was mentored by Louis Walsh. Contestants in this category are of either gender, aged 25 or over. There is no upper age limit. The eight candidates were Sami Brookes, Kitty Brucknell, Goldie Cheung, Joseph Gilligan, Jonjo Kerr, Carolynne Poole, Johnny Robinson and Terry Winstanley. Walsh chose:
Samantha "Sami" Brookes is from Rhyl, Denbighshire. She replaced contestant Goldie Cheung, who left at the end of judges' houses. For the first live show, she sang Free, and was kept in the competition. The following weeks she sang "I Will Always Love You" and "If I Could Turn Back Time". She was placed in the bottom two in the third week, along with fellow Over 25er Kitty Brucknell. She performed "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" in the final showdown. The vote allowed Walsh to set the vote to deadlock, as although Rowland and Barlow sent Brookes home, Contostavlos opted against Brucknell. However, Walsh sent Brookes home, thus eliminating her from the competition. It was later revealed that Brookes had received more votes from the public than Brucknell (5.6% vs. 5.0%).
After her elimination, Sami gave interviews accusing Walsh of playing favorites with Brucknell while ignoring her ideas and song lists, and forcing her to perform a Cher song in week 3 instead of a rock number.
Kitty Brucknell (born Kimberley Dayle Edwards) aged 27, is from Cheltenham. She used to be a Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and (more recently) Lady Gaga tribute act, and featured on Dinner Date programme and also on BBC Radio 1 BBC Three and several American TV shows.
In week one, Kitty sang "Who Wants to Live Forever" by Queen and was put through by her mentor Louis. After the show, Brian May from Queen spoke out in support of her and thanking her for her performance. In week two, Kitty sang "It's Oh So Quiet" with a theatrical Alice in Wonderland performance and was put through by the public vote. In week three she was in the bottom two after performing "Live and Let Die", along with Sami Brookes in spite of universal praise from the judges. She performed "The Edge of Glory" in the final showdown. Tulisa voted to eliminate her, but Gary, Kelly and Louis all saved her. In week four for Halloween, Kitty took to the stage on a rotating wheel with pyrotechnics and a circus theme to perform "Sweet Dreams" and was put through by the public vote. In week five, Kitty sang a classic Madonna song: "Like a Prayer", but she was in the bottom three along with The Risk and Johnny Robinson in a double elimination special. The Risk had the least amount of votes from the public and were eliminated. Brucknell and Robinson then sang again for survival in the final showdown. Her mentor Louis Walsh, Tulisa and Kelly Rowland all saved her and voted against Robinson. Although he wasn't required to vote as the judges had reached a majority verdict (like in the previous week), Gary confirmed he would have voted Robinson off. On the sixth live show, Kitty wanted to sing "Born This Way". Unfortunately, Misha B chose the song and had higher priority over her. Kitty then sang "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen. Kitty was for the third time in the final showdown along with Misha B. She sang "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and although Barlow had the opportunity to take the vote to deadlock, he voted Kitty off, saying he felt she wasn't connecting with the audience. Only her mentor, Louis Walsh, voted to save her. After her elimination, Lady Gaga ran on stage in tears to comfort her. Brucknell appeared on Harry Hill's TV Burp on 19 November 2011 singing "Born This Way" in the final minute of the show. Brucknell was the last act from Walsh's category to be eliminated.
Brucknell returned to The X Factor in 2013 when she performed alongside other former contestants such as Rylan Clarke, Jedward, Wagner, 2 Shoes, Diva Fever and Johnny Robinson at the final in Wembley Arena. In January 2013, She went on her first tour which was dubbed the "Glamour and Damage" Tour. She featured on a single which was released in Germany entitled “No Tomorrow". She confirmed in an interview with Gloucestershire Echo that her debut EP would be released in 2014. On 4 May, Brucknell announced that she will be releasing her debut single "Glitter In The Sky" on 19 October 2014.
Jon-Joseph "Jonjo" Kerr in Chorley, Lancashire; 27, is an infantry soldier in the Yorkshire Regiment, from Coventry (originally from Chorley, Lancashire). He was deployed to Afghanistan as part of his duties. He sang "You Really Got Me" and was the first of the overs category to be eliminated from the live shows on 9 October by decision of mentor Louis Walsh, as there was no public vote in the inaugural live show. The public voted over 10–12 November for one act from the initial four eliminated from the first live show, including Kerr, to replace the expelled Frankie Cocozza, but Kerr lost out to Amelia Lily.
Kerr made an appearance on choral group Military Wives' debut studio album, In My Dreams. Credited to his full name, Jon-Joseph Kerr, the singer appeared on the album's title track, "In My Dreams".
Johnny Robinson, aged 45, is from Harrow, London. Born to an Irish mother and an English father, Robinson has one older brother and an older sister and took part in Stars in Their Eyes when he was 24, as Boy George, and got through to the grand final. The Daily Mirror also revealed that he performs as a female impersonator in drag clubs around London under the name Sarah Lee. The Mirror also put a video of one of his performances in the clubs as a drag queen. In week five, he was in the bottom three along with The Risk and Kitty Brucknell. The Risk had the lowest amount of votes, and were eliminated. Brucknell and Robinson then sang again for survival in the final showdown. He was eliminated by his mentor Louis, Tulisa and Kelly, despite having more public votes than Brucknell. He went on to appear on The Saturday Night Show with Brendan O'Connor on 3 December 2011. On Thursday 9 February 2012, he made a short appearance on "Celebrity Juice". Robinson appeared in July 2012, on Daybreak, where he interviewed vacationers in Benidorm. In 2012, he was a relief Hub presenter on This Morning: Summer. Robinson made a brief appearance on BBC's Pointless Celebrity, episode 3 broadcast 3 November 2012. 
The Groups category was mentored by Tulisa Contostavlos. Acts in this category are duos or vocal groups. All members must be aged 16 or over. The eight candidates were 2 Shoes, The Estrelles, Girl v Boy, The Keys, The Lovettes, Nu Vibe, Little Mix (formerly known as Rhythmix) and The Risk. Contostavlos chose:
2 Shoes are a duo from Brentwood, Essex, made up of Charley Bird (23), a telesales worker, and Lucy Texeira (21), a retail assistant. Bird became a mother to Beaux Bird, whom she gave birth to in December 2011. They were the first of the groups to be eliminated from the live shows on 9 October by decision of mentor Tulisa Contostavlos, as there was no public vote in the inaugural live show. They were in the running to replace Frankie Cocozza after he was eliminated from the contest, but received the lowest number of votes. Their debut single, a cover of Kathy Brown's "Turn Me On (Turn Me Out)" was produced by 'In Demand Music', and mixed by Christian Davies and set an initial release date of 13 August 2012, but this was later postponed to 3 September 2012. The music video premiered on 22 June 2012. 2 Shoes are signed to All Around the World Productions, the same record label as their former mentor, Contostavlos. On 14 August 2012, 2 Shoes were nominated for Best Music Act at the 2012 National Reality Television Awards.
Little Mix (formerly known as Rhythmix) are a four-piece girl group made up of former barmaid Jesy Nelson from Essex, former Pizza Hut waitress Leigh-Anne Pinnock from High Wycombe, and South Shields students Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall. Originally known as Rhythmix, the band was formed by Kelly Rowland at bootcamp who auditioned as soloists, but failed to advance for the Girls category for judges' houses. On 26 October 2011, Rhythmix announced that they would change their name following a dispute with a children's music charity of the same name, after the programme tried to trademark "Rhythmix" in Europe. After some disagreement between Syco and the charity, a resolution was reached and Cowell donated an undisclosed sum to the charity. A spokesperson for The X Factor said, "At the request of the charity Rhythmix, the members of the girl group Rhythmix have decided to change their name, a decision which has the support of Syco and TalkbackTHAMES. The group's new name will be announced in due course". It was reported that the band decided to make the change, despite no legal reason to do so, to avoid any difficulties for the charity. They announced that they would now be known as Little Mix on 28 October 2011 following on from this, the band said: "We all agreed on it, including Tulisa, because it just felt right". Little Mix became the first girl band in the history of The X Factor to make it to the final live show. They reached the final two on 10 December 2011, and won the show on 11 December 2011, making them the first group to win The X Factor. The prize was a £1 million recording contract with Syco, in association with Sony Music, although the majority of it goes towards recording and marketing costs. It also includes a stated cash advance of £150,000.
Little Mix have since released five singles as of October 2013, "Cannonball", "Wings", "DNA", "Change Your Life" and "How Ya Doin'?". Their debut album DNA charted at number three on the UK Albums Chart. On 23 September 2013, they debuted "Move" (the first single from their second album Salute).
Nu Vibe were a five-piece boy band made up of Jordan Higo (16, from Huddersfield), Stefan Romer (19, from Hampshire), Bradley Johnson (16, from Rainford), Richard Milford (16, from Birmingham) and Ashford Campbell (19, from Huddersfield). The band's members successfully auditioned as soloists, but they were knocked out of the competition at the bootcamp stage. The judges then called them back and put them together as a group. They were put through to the live shows by their mentor Tulisa. For the first live show they sang Chris Brown's "Beautiful People". Tulisa then sent them through to the first public vote after the first live show. For the second live show Nu Vibe sang U2's "With or Without You". After the first public vote, Nu Vibe were in the bottom two and had to perform in the final showdown against Frankie Cocozza. Nu Vibe performed "Promise This" by Cheryl Cole and were then eliminated from the competition with only their mentor, Tulisa voting in their favour. On 28 October, it was announced[where?] that Ashford Campbell would join The Risk after Ashley Baptiste decided to leave the group. The group had since disbanded in September 2013.
The Risk are a four-piece boyband that were initially composed of Ashley Baptiste (22, from London), car salesman Andy Merry (20, from Ayr), Burger King chef Derry Mensah (21, from London), Marlon McKenzie (28, from Manchester), and Mitchell McPike. Charlie Healy (25, from Coventry) was brought into the band, while Marlon and Mitchell were removed from the group at judges houses stage of the competition. Healy originally auditioned in another group, The Keys, while the other three auditioned as soloists. Andy previously auditioned for The X Factor in 2008, and came second in the United Kingdom selection for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2004. The band came under criticism from a Scottish band from Prestwick, who have been performing together for several years as The Risk. They asked The X Factor management to change the name of its contestants to avoid confusion.
On 28 October 2011, just before week four's live show, it was announced that original member Ashley Baptiste had decided to leave the band after stating that his heart did not lie within a boyband any more. He was replaced by Ashford Campbell, as a fourth member. Campbell had been previously a member of Nu Vibe, but his original band had been eliminated on 16 October in week two of the competition. In week 5, they received the fewest public votes and were sent home, after finding themselves in the bottom three with Johnny Robinson and Kitty Brucknell.
Later on, Ashley went on to release his debut single, "Show the People (How to Love)"