An estimated 20 million audience tuned in on Sunday, December 12 to witness Matt Cardle being crowned the new "The X Factor" winner. The 27-year-old beat Rebecca Ferguson in the finale which first saw the elimination of One Direction.
The final round actually started on Saturday with the axing of Cher Lloyd. The four finalists performed with established artists such as Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Black Eyed Peas and Robbie Williams. Lloyd failed to garner votings and was thus eliminated. "Thank you to everybody that ever believed in me," she said. "My highlight is standing on this stage with will.i.am and I thank everyone who arranged that for me and to him."
On Sunday, Simon Cowell's act One Direction dramatically left but they were happy when Cardle was announced as the winner. Former painter and decorator, Cardle came top in the voting of the live finals. "I'm quite an emotional person anyway, although everything is heightened when you're on this show. Seeing the support I got at home this week choked me up a little bit," he said in tears.
He added, "I've had so many nice presents and letters and that makes me quite emotional. This victory is for all of them. I just can't get over what has happened to me. I remember getting to Bootcamp and seeing 220 contestants and thinking, 'I'm not going to get anywhere because I'm not like them'. I've got a beard and a cap, checked shirt, and no sense of fashion. Sort of Brokeback Mountain meets a woodsman."
He won 1 million pounds of recording contract and the number would double as he goes touring and does advertising. He is now poised to take Christmas number 1 with his cover of Biffy Clyro's "Many of Horror". He will go to Los Angeles in January to begin recording his new album which would be released around next Autumn.