The X Factor
|Name(s):||The X Factor, The X-Factor, X-Factor, XF, XFUK|
|Scope/Focus:||fandom for the various contestants on the US reality television show The X Factor|
|See also:||One Direction, Little Mix, Fifth Harmony, Union J, JLS, Stereo Kicks, Ella Henderson, Olly Murs, Caroline Flack, Leona Lewis, Jedward (John & Edward)|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
The X Factor is a television music competition franchise created by British producer Simon Cowell and his company SYCO. It originated in the United Kingdom and has been adapted in various countries. The "X Factor" of the title refers to the undefinable "something" that makes for star quality.
The prize is usually a recording contract, in addition to the publicity that appearance in the later stages of the show itself generates, not only for the winner but also for other highly ranked contestants.
Unlike American Idol or The Voice, where the judges only critique the contestants' performances, on The X Factor each judge "mentors" the finalists in a particular category, aiding them with song selection and styling, while also participating together in judging the contestants in the other categories.
Most significantly for fandom, The X Factor birthed superstar boy band One Direction, as well as music groups Little Mix, Union J, Stereo Kicks, Only The Young, Fifth Harmony (X Factor USA), The Collective (X Factor Australia), JLS, and Jedward (John & Edward), and solo acts Olly Murs, Ella Henderson, Leona Lewis, James Arthur, and many others.
There is no significant fannish activity for any acts of this season. Winner Steve Brookstein briefly entered the news cycle in 2010 for his hateful comments towards One Direction, in particular Louis Tomlinson.
|Steve Brookstein||35||Over 25s (Cowell)||Winner|
|Tabby Callaghan||23||16-24s (Osbourne)||3rd place|
|Rowetta Satchell||38||Over 25s (Cowell)||4th place|
|Cassie Compton||17||16-24s (Osbourne)||5th place|
|Voices with Soul||25-42||Groups (Walsh)||6th place|
|2 to Go||23-24||Groups (Walsh)||7th place|
|Verity Keays||51||Over 25s (Cowell)||8th place|
|Roberta Howett||23||16-24s (Osbourne)||9th place|
|Shayne Ward||21||16-24s (Walsh)||Winner|
|Andy Abraham||41||Over 25s (Osbourne)||Runner-up|
|Journey South||25 & 30||Groups (Cowell)||3rd place|
|Brenda Edwards||41||Over 25s (Osbourne)||4th place|
|Chico Slimani||34||Over 25s (Osbourne)||5th place|
|The Conway Sisters||17-28||Groups (Cowell)||6th place|
|Nicholas Dorsett||17||16-24s (Walsh)||7th place|
|Maria Lawson||30||Over 25s (Osbourne)||8th place|
|Chenai Zinyuku||19||16-24s (Walsh)||9th place|
|Phillip Magee||21||16-24s (Walsh)||10th place|
|4Tune||18-21||Groups (Cowell)||11th place|
|Addictiv Ladies||16-17||Groups (Cowell)||12th place|
|Leona Lewis||21||16-24s (Cowell)||Winner|
|Ray Quinn||18||16-24s (Cowell)||Runner-up|
|Ben Mills||26||Over 25s (Osbourne)||3rd place|
|The MacDonald Brothers||20||Groups (Walsh)||4th place|
|Eton Road||17-20||Groups (Walsh)||5th place|
|Robert Allen||27||Over 25s (Osbourne)||6th place|
|Nikitta Angus||18||16-24s (Cowell)||7th place|
|Ashley McKenzie||20||16-24s (Cowell)||8th place|
|Kerry McGregor||32||Over 25s (Osbourne)||9th place|
|Dionne Mitchell||26||Over 25s (Osbourne)||10th place|
|4Sure||23-38||Groups (Walsh)||11th place|
|The Unconventionals||25-41||Groups (Walsh)||12th place|
Contestant Emily Nakanda was forced to withdraw from the competition due to a video of Nakanda having participated in "The Knock-Out Game" (a "prank" in which someone runs up to a stranger and punches them in the face with the intention of causing them to lose consciousness). Winner Leon Jackson and runner-up Rhydian Roberts both saw some fannish activity in the United Kingdom.
|Leon Jackson||18||Boys (Minogue)||Winner|
|Rhydian Roberts||24||Boys (Minogue)||Runner-up|
|Same Difference||19–22||Groups (Cowell)||3rd place|
|Niki Evans||34||Over 25s (Walsh)||4th place|
|Hope||16–23||Groups (Cowell)||5th place|
|Beverley Trotman||38||Over 25s (Walsh)||6th place|
|Alisha Bennett||22||Girls (Osbourne)||7th place|
|Andy Williams||23||Boys (Minogue)||8th place|
|Futureproof||17–23||Groups (Cowell)||9th place|
|Emily Nakanda||15||Girls (Osbourne)||10th place|
|Daniel de Bourg||31||Over 25s (Walsh)||11th place|
|Kimberley Southwick||19||Girls (Osbourne)||12th place|
This was the first season of the show to see true fannish activity. Runner-up act JLS became the first boy band to have chart hits and fannish activity (such as fanfiction) in many years. However, this season is most significant for being the first television appearances of Liam Payne of One Direction and Jade Thirlwall of Little Mix, both of whom auditioned for this season but were deemed too young. Third-place finisher Eoghan Quigg performed with Niall Horan of One Direction the summer after this season aired on a local Ireland fair tour.
|Alexandra Burke||20||Girls (Cole)||Winner|
|Eoghan Quigg||16||Boys (Cowell)||3rd place|
|Diana Vickers||17||Girls (Cole)||4th place|
|Ruth Lorenzo||26||Over 25s (Minogue)||5th place|
|Rachel Hylton||27||Over 25s (Minogue)||6th place|
|Daniel Evans||39||Over 25s (Minogue)||7th place|
|Laura White||21||Girls (Cole)||8th place|
|Austin Drage||22||Boys (Cowell)||9th place|
|Scott Bruton||19||Boys (Cowell)||10th place|
|Girlband||18–22||Groups (Walsh)||11th place|
|Bad Lashes||19–24||Groups (Walsh)||12th place|
The fandom juggernaut of this season was twin act Jedward (John & Edward). The significant portion of Jedward fanfiction was twincest, and was lost in Strikethrough; however, there is a Jedward section on AO3. Fourth place finisher Lloyd Daniels performed at festivals and summer fetes with Liam Payne of One Direction in the summer after this season.
|Joe McElderry||18||Boys (Cole)||Winner|
|Olly Murs||25||Over 25s (Cowell)||Runner-up|
|Stacey Solomon||20||Girls (Minogue)||3rd place|
|Danyl Johnson||27||Over 25s (Cowell)||4th place|
|Lloyd Daniels||16||Boys (Cole)||5th place|
|Jedward (John & Edward)||18||Groups (Walsh)||6th place|
|Jamie Archer||34||Over 25s (Cowell)||7th place|
|Lucie Jones||18||Girls (Minogue)||8th place|
|Rachel Adedeji||18||Girls (Minogue)||9th place|
|Miss Frank||21–25||Groups (Walsh)||10th place|
|Rikki Loney||22||Boys (Cole)||11th place|
|Kandy Rain||22–25||Groups (Walsh)||12th place|
Season 7 was by far the most popular fannish season of The X Factor due to its fandom juggernaut act: One Direction. The addition of backstage footage and behind-the-scenes video diaries made the contestants feel more approachable to fans, and therefore encouraged more fanfiction. Because of the popularity of One Direction, other acts in this season saw a significant presence in fandom and fanfiction, particularly Cher Lloyd and Aiden Grimshaw (no relation to Nick Grimshaw). Wagner typically appears in fanfiction as a villainous presence. Matt Cardle/Aiden Grimshaw was the second most popular fannish pairing after Harry Styles/Louis Tomlinson from this season. Finalist Paije Richardson portrayed a member of Dumbledore's Army in the film of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix prior to his appearance on The X Factor.
|Matt Cardle||27||Boys (Minogue)||Winner|
|Rebecca Ferguson||24||Girls (Cole)||Runner-up|
|One Direction||16–18||Groups (Cowell)||3rd place|
|Cher Lloyd||17||Girls (Cole)||4th place|
|Mary Byrne||51||Over 28s (Walsh)||5th place|
|Wagner (Wildcard)||53||Over 28s (Walsh)||6th place|
|Katie Waissel||24||Girls (Cole)||7th place|
|Paije Richardson (Wildcard)||20||Boys (Minogue)||8th place|
|Aiden Grimshaw||19||Boys (Minogue)||9th place|
|Treyc Cohen (Wildcard)||27||Girls (Cole)||10th place|
|Belle Amie||17–23||Groups (Cowell)||11th place|
|John Adeleye||30||Over 28s (Walsh)||12th place|
|Diva Fever (Wildcard)||21–26||Groups (Cowell)||13th place|
|Storm Lee||37||Over 28s (Walsh)||14th place|
|F.Y.D.||22–26||Groups (Cowell)||15th place|
|Nicolo Festa||21||Boys (Minogue)||16th place|
- The X Factor Era tag in One Direction RPF
- Matt Cardle/Aiden Grimshaw on AO3
- Matt Cardle on AO3
- Aiden Grimshaw on AO3
- Cher Lloyd on AO3
- Katie Waissel on AO3
- blackjacks running down my back by dangerbears (Harry Styles/Louis Tomlinson)
- May You Enjoy Your New Life by aimmyarrowshigh (Harry Styles/Louis Tomlinson)
- Blokes in Cardigans by aimmyarrowshigh & spibsy (Harry Styles/Louis Tomlinson/Aiden Grimshaw OT3)
- Crawl Into Your Atmosphere by spibsy (Matt Cardle/Aiden Grimshaw)
- danger (if you get too close) by daisysusan (Matt Cardle/Aiden Grimshaw)
This season is most notable in fannish scope for creating Little Mix. It also was a significant platform for previous X-Factor acts to return for televised performances, including One Direction and Cher Lloyd. Harry Styles was dating the host of post-show Xtra Factor, Caroline Flack, at the time of this series, and there is a not insignificant amount of fanfiction for the pairing that takes place during this era. Additionally, Louis Tomlinson formed a friendship with disqualified contestant Frankie Cocozza during this series, and there was some shipping of the pair, although most people saw Cocozza as "an obstacle" to Larry. Zayn Malik and Perrie Edwards met while filming this series and subsequently dated for four years. Liam Payne was dating X Factor dancer Danielle Peazer at this time.
|Little Mix||18–20||Groups (Tulisa)||Winner|
|Marcus Collins||23||Boys (Barlow)||Runner-up|
|Amelia Lily||17||Girls (Rowland)||3rd place|
|Misha B||19||Girls (Rowland)||4th place|
|Janet Devlin||17||Girls (Rowland)||5th place|
|Craig Colton||23||Boys (Barlow)||6th place|
|Kitty Brucknell||27||Over 25s (Walsh)||7th place|
|Frankie Cocozza||18||Boys (Barlow)||8th place|
|Johnny Robinson||46||Over 25s (Walsh)||9th place|
|The Risk||19–25||Groups (Tulisa)||10th place|
|Sophie Habibis||20||Girls (Rowland)||11th place|
|Sami Brookes||31||Over 25s (Walsh)||12th place|
|Nu Vibe||16–19||Groups (Tulisa)||13th place|
|2 Shoes||21–23||Groups (Tulisa)||14th place|
|James Michael||20||Boys (Barlow)||15th place|
|Jonjo Kerr||27||Over 25s (Walsh)||16th place|
After Season 7, Season 9 is the most fannishly significant series of The X Factor due to its creation of boy band Union J and the public introduction of its youngest member and centerpiece George Shelley. The first fanfiction for George Shelley was posted within 24 hours of his 45-second audition and was a crossover between Shelley and Harry Styles of One Direction. The link between Shelley and Styles was promoted by the show itself, and the mainstream media, with Shelley being styled increasingly to look like Styles over the course of the series and comparisons frequently made between Union J and One Direction. While part of the fandom shipped George Shelley/Harry Styles, another segment referred to Shelley as "The Larry Baby," and created a fantastical AU in which he was the time-traveling son of Larry Stylinson who had come from the future to get his Larents together. In addition to Shelley and Union J, competition acts District3, Only the Young, and Ella Henderson inspired fannish activity including fanworks, Twitter wars, and fanfiction. Over the course of the series, winner James Arthur and One Direction's Louis Tomlinson first formed a friendship and then a bitter hatred and rivalry, publicized through Twitter, which encouraged fans to take sides and engage in antagonistic behavior. This series was also the public introduction of television personality Rylan Clark-Neal.
|James Arthur||24||Boys (Scherzinger)||Winner|
|Jahméne Douglas||21||Boys (Scherzinger)||Runner-up|
|Christopher Maloney (Wildcard)||34||Over 28s (Barlow)||3rd place|
|Union J||19–24||Groups (Walsh)||4th place|
|Rylan Clark||24||Boys (Scherzinger)||5th place|
|Ella Henderson||16||Girls (Tulisa)||6th place|
|District3||18–19||Groups (Walsh)||7th place|
|Kye Sones||30||Over 28s (Barlow)||8th place|
|Lucy Spraggan||21||Girls (Tulisa)||9th place|
|Jade Ellis||25||Girls (Tulisa)||10th place|
|MK1||20–25||Groups (Walsh)||11th place|
|Melanie Masson||44||Over 28s (Barlow)||12th place|
|Carolynne Poole||32||Over 28s (Barlow)||13th place|
- Let You Put Your Hands On Me In My Skin-Tight Jeans by aimmyarrowshigh & spibsy. The first fic from this series of The X Factor. Harry Styles/George Shelley.
- Genesis by aimmyarrowshigh. Alpha/Beta/Omega AU; Alpha!Harry Styles/omega!George Shelley. Takes place during Season 9 of The X Factor and references its real timeline.
- Never Never Never Stop for Anyone (Sheylinsonverse) by aimmyarrowshigh & spibsy. Follows the entire timeline of Series 9 of The X Factor week-by-week. This is the longest X Factor fic at nearly 450,000 words.
- In Retrospect by ologist. A The Larry Baby fic in which George Shelley travels back in time to get Harry and Louis together.
- I Keep Going to the River to Pray by colazitron/fille-lioncelle. Titled for an Ella Henderson song, in which Harry, Louis, and Union J face ghosts.
- Love Child in the TARDIS by blowmeharry & eiriyuki. The first The Larry Baby fic on AO3, featuring/coining Larents. A Doctor Who AU.
Season 10 is most significant for introducing, as individual contestants, Barclay Beales and Tom Mann, who would return the next season and become a popular The X Factor RPF pairing. Both auditioned in the Boys category and were eliminated before Judges' Houses (final auditions). Mann was eliminated in a tearjerker (fellow contestant Giles Potter cried at Mann's expulsion]] in the last round of Six Seats Challenge. Series 10 contestants Tamera Foster and Sam Callahan dated for four years following this season.
|Sam Bailey||36||Over 25s (Osbourne)||Winner|
|Nicholas McDonald||17||Boys (Walsh)||Runner-up|
|Luke Friend||17||Boys (Walsh)||3rd place|
|Rough Copy||24–27||Groups (Barlow)||4th place|
|Tamera Foster||16||Girls (Scherzinger)||5th place|
|Hannah Barrett||17||Girls (Scherzinger)||6th place|
|Sam Callahan||19||Boys (Walsh)||7th place|
|Abi Alton||19||Girls (Scherzinger)||8th place|
|Kingsland Road||19–25||Groups (Barlow)||9th place|
|Miss Dynamix||16–22||Groups (Barlow)||10th place|
|Shelley Smith||35||Over 25s (Osbourne)||11th place|
|Lorna Simpson||26||Over 25s (Osbourne)||12th place|
Season 11 was the last significant season of the British X Factor franchise in fannish culture, with boy band Stereo Kicks getting a fair amount of fanfiction, fan votes, and other features during this season and for the following year until their disbandment. The fan rivalry between Stereo Kicks and fellow Group act Only The Young was aggressive and often reflected in fanworks until a member from each group, Casey Cody Johnson of Stereo Kicks and Betsy Blue English of Only The Young, began dating and were a minor British tabloid supercouple for three years.
The most popular ship of the season was Barclay Beales/Tom Mann, both of Stereo Kicks, but there was heavy tabloid speculation and therefore some minor fanworks about Charlie George of Only The Young/Lauren Platt, a solo Girl contestant. The villain of all Series 11 fics was Wildcard contestant Stevi Ritchie. New Hope Club's Reece Bibby made his public debut on this season of The X Factor and was a member of Stereo Kicks. Ben Haenow, the series champion, was friends with One Direction's Louis Tomlinson and attended his charity ball. Additionally, contestant Jack Walton so impressed Tomlinson that he signed Walton as the first act on his production label when he was eliminated from the show. Walton was frequently paired in fandom with fellow Boys contestant Jake Quickenden in the pairing JacknJake. Parisa Tarjomani of Only The Young was a canon/real life friend and sexual partner of Union J's George Shelley before both came out as lesbian and gay, respectively, and she features in many Stereo Kicks, Chauren (Charlie George/Lauren Platt), and Union J fanfiction.
This series is also notable for two One Direction connections: Concept, the boy band featuring Harry Styles' cousin Ben Selley, made the final round of auditions in Barbados, and absolutely ridiculous One Direction tribute band Overload Generation were added to the show as a Wildcard act and very promptly voted out by the public.
|Ben Haenow||29||Over 25s (Cowell)||Winner|
|Fleur East||27||Over 25s (Cowell)||Runner-up|
|Andrea Faustini||20||Boys (Mel B)||3rd place|
|Lauren Platt||17||Girls (Fernandez-Versini)||4th place|
|Stereo Kicks||15–21||Groups (Walsh)||5th place|
|Stevi Ritchie||34||Over 25s (Cowell)||6th place|
|Only The Young||17–21||Groups (Walsh)||7th place|
|Jay James||31||Over 25s (Cowell)||8th place|
|Paul Akister||25||Boys (Mel B)||9th place|
|Lola Saunders||20||Girls (Fernandez-Versini)||10th place|
|Jack Walton||18||Boys (Mel B)||11th place|
|Jake Quickenden||26||Boys (Mel B)||12th place|
|Chloe Jasmine||24||Girls (Fernandez-Versini)||13th place|
|Stephanie Nala||20||Girls (Fernandez-Versini)||14th place|
|Overload Generation||18–20||Groups (Walsh)||15th place|
|Blonde Electra||22 & 24||Groups (Walsh)||16th place|
- Stereo Kicks on AO3
- Only The Young on AO3
- Jake Quickenden on AO3
- Reece Bibby on AO3
- Barclay Beales/Tom Mann on AO3
- Jack Walton on AO3
- Put Your Hand on the Glass by aimmyarrowshigh & colazitron. Barclay Beales/Tom Mann, Harry Potter AU.
- Light Up, Light Up by aimmyarrowshigh & colazitron. Barclay Beales/Tom Mann.
- Now I've Got You In My Space, I Won't Let Go Of You by JessBibby. Barclay Beales/Reece Bibby.
- Creature Comfort by colazitron. Barclay Beales/Reece Bibby.
- if we know ourselves to be liars by theghostofjamespotter. Series 11 The Curse Workers AU.
- Let You Put Your Hands On Me In My Skin-Tight Jeans by aimmyarrowshigh and spibsy| Original Post on LiveJournal, 19 September 2012
- Let You Put Your Hands On Me In My Skin-Tight Jeans by aimmyarrowshigh and spibsy| Repost on AO3