TV and Movies·Posted on 22 Mar 2022Here Are 12 "The X Factor" Contestants Who Faded Into Obscurity, And 12 Who Hit The BigtimeI genuinely thought G4 was a political summit.by Molly TownsinBuzzFeed StaffLinkFacebookPinterestTwitterMail 1. G4 — lowkey disappeared Shirlaine Forrest / WireImage / Via Getty Images G4 are a four-piece, operatic vocal group who competed in the first series of The X Factor back in 2004. Now, if these guys don't ring any bells, it's no surprise because only one single of theirs made it to the UK charts. No shade, but if you can name any of their songs, I'll be super impressed! Check out their audition here: View this video on YouTube 2. Shayne Ward — shot to fame Ken McKay/Shutterstock / Via Getty Images Remember this handsome chap? He won the second series of the show with his song "That's My Goal", and went on to have a 4x platinum-selling album. Three albums later, he changed course and starred in Coronation Street as Aidan Connor. What a talented man! Here's Shayne's music video for "That's My Goal": View this video on YouTube 3. Andy Abraham — lowkey disappeared Martin Doyle / FilmMagic / Via Getty Images Andy was the runner up to Shayne Ward in Season 2, who then went on the represent the UK in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, but hasn't done anything else showbiz-ey since. He did however release four albums, but only two of them charted... That's something, right? Check out Andy at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest: View this video on YouTube 4. Leona Lewis — shot to fame Wpa Pool / Via Getty Images I'm sure we all remember Leona and her angelic vocals! Not only did she have quite a successful few years in the UK — "Bleeding Love" spent seven weeks at number one — but she also flourished in the US. Leona also featured in the iconic jukebox musical Walking on Sunshine back in 2014 — is there anything she can't do?! Here's her music video for "Bleeding Love": View this video on YouTube 5. Rhydian Roberts — lowkey disappeared Simon James / WireImage / Via Getty Images Since placing fourth on the show, Rhydian has appeared in a number of theatre productions, and his music has also appeared in the classical charts several times. Despite his apparent success, he's kinda disappeared from the spotlight, hasn't he? Rhydian showing off his pipes in the video for "Impossible Dream": View this video on YouTube 6. Ray Quinn — shot to fame Tim P. Whitby / Via Getty Images Ray took the world by storm when he auditioned in 2006, after appearing in Brookside only a few years before. He then won the fourth series of Dancing on Ice and later the All Stars series. He was the winner of Get Your Act Together, so I think we can all agree he's a pretty recognisable face here in the UK! Here's Ray shirtless for some reason on Dancing on Ice: View this video on YouTube 7. Joe McElderry — lowkey disappeared Christie Goodwin / Redferns / Via Getty Images With the voice of an angel, it was no wonder Joe won his series, but other than appearing on The Jump in 2014, we haven't seen much else of him. He did, however, play the lead role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Watch him sing "The Climb" because I just ~know~ it'll give you goosebumps. Check out Joe's version of Miley's "The Climb" here: View this video on YouTube 8. Alexandra Burke — shot to fame Mike Marsland / WireImage for Pride In London / Via Getty Images Alexandra, probably best known for her single "Bad Boys", won the fifth series of The X Factor. Her version of "Hallelujah" set a European record for selling the most singles in a 24 hour period, and her first album had four number one singles in the UK charts. She also starred in a number of West End musicals! Damn, girl. Let's be honest, "Bad Boys" is an underrated bop: View this video on YouTube 9. Matt Cardle — lowkey disappeared Robin Little / Redferns / Via Getty Images Matt covered "When We Collide" in the final of the show, which became the second-biggest selling single of 2010. What did he do after you ask? He released a number of random albums, and then entered the world of musical theatre, but he's sort of faded a little tbh. Remember when Harry Styles whispered *that* thing to him though? Iconic. Here's Matt's music video for "When We Collide": View this video on YouTube 10. JLS — shot to fame Mark Holloway / Redferns / Via Getty Images To this day, I'm hurt that JLS split up. They came second in the fifth series, and briefly took the music industry by storm. They had multiple number one singles, and each member has gone on to have a successful career outside of the band. Here's their music video for "Everybody in Love": View this video on YouTube 11. Rebecca Ferguson — lowkey disappeared Shirlaine Forrest / WireImage / Via Getty Images With a voice like Rebecca's, everyone assumed she would be the next big thing and would take the UK by storm. However, after coming second in Series 7, she released a few albums before announcing her retirement on Twitter. I'm here for the comeback though, Rebecca!! Rebecca killing it on stage on The X Factor: View this video on YouTube 12. Olly Murs — shot to fame Dave J Hogan / Via Getty Images Despite the fact he didn't win his series, Olly is probably one of the biggest names to come out of The X Factor. He's been a director, dancer, songwriter, and voice actor all with aplomb. Honestly, if you don't know who he is by now, you've clearly been living under a rock. Let's journey back to Olly's first appearance on the show: View this video on YouTube 13. Marcus Collins — lowkey disappeared David M. Benett / Via Getty Images Despite finishing second in his series, and having Gary Barlow himself help with his album, Marcus didn't experience the success we all expected for him. With that being said, he has appeared in theatre productions, including Kinky Boots and Hairspray. Check out Marcus's audition here: View this video on YouTube 14. Little Mix — shot to fame Joseph Okpako / WireImage / Via Getty Images Little Mix were the first group to win The X Factor, and up until 2021, were almost unstoppable. Before their career break and the departure of Jesy Nelson, Little Mix had released six albums. They are one of Britain's biggest-selling girl bands AND one of the best-selling girl groups of all time, and for good reason! With two of the members now mums, we might even have a new super-group on the horizon. Check out the vid for one of my fave Little Mix songs, "Between Us": View this video on YouTube 15. Jahméne Douglas — lowkey disappeared Mike Marsland / Via Getty Images Jahméne was the runner up in his series, and had a number one album as a result. He then released a second album in 2016, which included a spoken verse by the one and only Samuel L. Jackson. Since then, he's sadly fallen off the radar, but I'm hoping we hear from him again soon. Here's Jahméne singing his ass off on the show: View this video on YouTube 16. James Arthur — shot to fame Mark Holloway / Redferns / Via Getty Images James won the ninth season of The X Factor with his rendition of "Impossible" and then faded out of the limelight after pissing off Simon Cowell and saying lots of awkward and offensive things. He re-emerged after his single "Say You Won't Let Go" topped the UK singles chart and his album Back from the Edge topped the album charts. Not really sure he's a great guy, but the music is alright, at least. Here's the video for everyone's favourite busking tune, "Say You Won't Let Go": View this video on YouTube 17. Ben Haenow — lowkey disappeared Matthew Mcnulty / Redferns / Via Getty |Images Ben was a personal favourite of mine, and despite the fact he was crowned the winner of Season 11, nothing much has come from him. He had a debut album that featured a duet with Kelly Clarkson, but it only went as high as 21 in the charts. Shame! Here's the music video for "Second Hand Heart": View this video on YouTube 18. Fleur East — shot to fame Anthony Devlin / Via Getty Images for BAUER Fleur competed in the second series of The X Factor as a group, but returned to the show years later as a solo artist. She has since become a TV and radio presenter, and finished fourth place on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here. I'll be shocked if you've never spontaneously sung "give it to me" à la her song "Sax". The iconic tune that is "Sax" by the one and only Fleur East: View this video on YouTube youtube.com 19. Matt Terry — lowkey disappeared Shirlaine Forrest / WireImage / Via Getty Images Matt was the winner of Series 13 (when most people had stopped watching — sorry not sorry) and released his single "When Christmas Comes Around" in 2016. It only made it to 29 in the charts, but he has since appeared in the musicals Madagascar and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Here's Matt's video for "When Christmas Comes Around": View this video on YouTube 20. Rylan Clark — shot to fame Matt Kent / WireImage / Via Getty Images I think we all remember ~that~ moment on the show when Rylan made it through to the judge's houses. He'll be the first to admit that he doesn't have the best voice, but his personality won over the country! He's since presented numerous TV shows and won Celebrity Big Brother, which was well deserved. Rylan going to pieces in front of judge Nicole Scherzinger: View this video on YouTube 21. Scarlett Lee — lowkey disappeared Mike Lewis Photography / Redferns / Via Getty Images Scarlett competed in the final season of the show after not quite making it to the live shows the year before. She has yet to release any music, but it's been said she's working on a number of projects including a plus-size clothing range. Check out Scarlett's audition here: View this video on YouTube 22. Jake Quickenden — shot to fame John Phillips / Via Getty Images Jake competed in the show twice, but sadly never placed in the final — but that doesn't mean he didn't find success! He was runner up on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, and then won the 10th series of Dancing on Ice. This boy is ~talented~. Check out Jake on Dancing on Ice: View this video on YouTube 23. Rak-Su — lowkey disappeared David M. Benett / Via Getty Images Rak-Su were the first-ever male group to win the show, and the single they released was the first to be written by an actual winner! Since the show, we haven't seen much of them — they released a self-titled EP and toured with Olly Murs. Here's a fancam of Rak-Su on tour with Olly: View this video on YouTube 24. And finally, One Direction — shot to fame Mark Davis / Via Getty Images How can we forget these guys?! One Direction became a household name after they were grouped together in the seventh series. They skyrocketed to fame and released some of the most popular music of the noughties — that is until they went their separate ways in 2016 and broke the heart of the nation! Sigh. Please enjoy the greatest hits of 1D: View this video on YouTube Are there any contestants we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments below!