Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Women with X Factor


Scouse soulstress Rebecca Ferguson and rapping teenager Cher Lloyd are the two female finalists, up against Matt Cardle and One Direction in this weekend’s X Factor showdown. Stylist rewinds the previous six series and salutes the singing contest’s most memorable women

Series 1 (winner: Steve Brookstein)

Rowetta Satchell was the most memorable female in series one. The ex-Happy Mondays backing singer was a recovering alcoholic and victim of domestic violence, which gave her resurgence on the show a redemptive quality. But her erratic outbursts soon repelled public sympathy and she left in week 8.

Series 2 (winner: Shayne Ward)

Maria Lawson was the bookies’ favourite thanks to her diminutive appearance and modest manner. She remained so, until her shock departure after Louis Walsh controversially saved The Conway Sisters (four pulchritudinous sisters from Ireland who epitomised compliant femininity)

Series 3 (winner: Leona Lewis)

Lewis won the show with her diva-like performances but conducted herself with humility and restraint. When complimented by the judges, she smiled shyly and thanked them, but you’d never catch her going on about her “destiny” like Katie Waissel. She maintains a public image that is pleasant but vague.

Series 4 (winner: Leon Jackson)

Niki Evans was a reassuringly maternal figure whose appeal was tied up with her emotional “journey” and determination to win for her late father. She went out in the semis. Sarah Smith, the saccharine blond in brother/sister duo Same Difference, made it all the way to the final with her fixed cheerleader smile.

Series 5 (winner: Alexandra Burke)

Burke played a smart game, staying was pretty invisible during the show’s early weeks but slowly growing in stature as other females were ejected. These included Diana Vickers - nicknamed The Claw thanks to her hand mannerism when singing. But she later bagged a record deal and a starring role in the West End.

Series 6 (winner: Joe McElderry)

Essex mum Stacey Solomon has just enjoyed a renaissance in this year’s I’m A Celebrity… but the Dagenham-born single mum was initially a hit with X Factor viewers, coming third overall thanks to her sunny disposition, unaffected delights with the whole experience and lack of naked ambition.

Words: Julia Raeside

Image credit: Rex Features



Faces to watch


Stylish Party Tips


The Street's Style Icons



How to be a nasty woman: Stylist's 9 step guide

A must-read for all women considering themselves 'good girls'

by Harriet Hall
21 Oct 2016

Totally fetch: Rachel McAdams is on board with a Mean Girls reunion

Shut up.

by Moya Crockett
21 Oct 2016

“Criminalising purchase would be a danger to sex workers”

...argues sex worker and activist, Molly Smith

by The Stylist web team
20 Oct 2016

Eyebrows ahoy... A Cara Delevingne documentary is on its way

The Cara Project will follow Delevingne’s transition from model to actress.

by Moya Crockett
20 Oct 2016

The best A-list Instagrams of the week so far

From Emily Ratajkowski's team colours to Mindy Kaling's scarlet style

by Nicola Colyer
20 Oct 2016

Hilary Swank wins Oscars, still offered 5% of a male co-star's wage

Because woman < man

by Amy Swales
20 Oct 2016

Ellen DeGeneres reveals the secret to her happy marriage

And it's brilliantly simple

by Sarah Biddlecombe
20 Oct 2016

Amy Schumer shares open letter to Donald Trump supporters

“I shouldn’t have said that he was an orange, sexually-assaulting, fake-college-starting monster.”

by Moya Crockett
20 Oct 2016

Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall opens up about anorexia battle

“I just wanted to waste away and disappear”

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Oct 2016

Kerry Washington chooses old-fashioned name for baby boy

The Scandal star has welcomed her second baby with husband Nnamdi Asomugha

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Oct 2016