Now the hard work starts for X Factor's Matt

He won the show, but can he turn his victory into cold, hard cash?

By Luke Blackall
Tuesday 14 December 2010 01:00

After the fireworks, the tears and the nervous excitement he showed after performing with a barely-dressed Rihanna, it was down to business for X Factor winner Matt Cardle yesterday.

At one point 19.4 million people watched the former painter and decorator from Essex sing his way to victory over Rebecca Ferguson in the Sunday final of the ITV show.

Meanwhile telephone voting figures revealed Cardle had been the audience favourite since week two.

But as viewers laid down their remote controls and mobile phones, it was left to the X Factor supremo Simon Cowell, whose record company, Syco, is representing Cardle, to turn hype into hard cash.Success is by no means a guarantee. X Factor crowns have turned sour for many winners. Steve Brookstein, who won the first series in 2004, warned Cardle to be careful, after playing a gig in a coffee shop last week to which nobody turned up.

Leon Jackson, who won in 2007, was dropped by his record company little more than a year later, while Joe McElderry, last year's winner, limped into the charts at 68 with his latest record, "Someone Wake Me Up".

Celebrity publicist, Mark Borkowski, believes Cardle will have to work on his image if he is to sustain his popularity. "The X Factor is a great show, but not necessarily a star creation vehicle," he said. "Once the hype has died down he's got a year, possibly two to prove himself. He's seen as a nice, ordinary guy but he doesn't have an attitude. I would certainly try to find a hook and a creative spark for him to electrify the audience."

There is, of course, the £1m contract to ease his entry into a cut-throat world. But even that isn't what it seems. Cardle can expect an advance of around £150,000, plus 15 per cent of album and single sales. But if it goes wrong, 15 per cent of not much won't make him rich. First things first – a bid for the lucrative Christmas No1 spot with his winning song, "When We Collide", which saw Matt touring TV studios yesterday.

In one interview, he revealed he had only auditioned for the show after 14 years of trying to break into the music industry. As he returned to his suite at the luxurious May Fair Hotel last night (compliments of Cowell), he may have decided he had nothing to lose. But what he stands to gain remains to be seen. Brookstein, in a stream of outspoken tweets during the weekend said, "In 8 months, I got 2 gigs, an album of covers, 1 single, no video."

Borkowski was more positive. "Cardle had a compelling narrative but he needs a post-X Factor narrative so we can see how he's going to succeed. If not, we might be seeing him in the jungle in two year's time."

Cardle can expect some competition for the No 1 spot from aggrieved fans of Biffy Clyro, composers of "When We Collide". A Facebook campaign with almost 25,000 members has been set up to persuade people to buy the Scottish group's version instead.

Don't despair, Rebecca: losing isn't always a bad thing


The all-male four-piece suffered the same fate as One Direction; reality TV shows seem incapable of letting groups win (perhaps we don't get the chance to engage with their personalities properly). JLS have, however, carved out a lucrative niche by recording retro Nineties-sounding ballards and thumping dancefloor favourites that are a hit wtih teenage girls – and on the gay club scene.

Olly Murs

His cheeky chappiness was a bit too much for those who preferred Joe McElderry's humility. One Robbie Williams was more than enough – or so we thought. Murs's return to the pop scene with a calypso influenced first single has been a highly successful launch for a singer full of personality and charm.

Diana Vickers

Vickers was too quirky to garner the full appreciation of the British public – with her reedy vocals and barefoot performances, she was reminiscent of Sandy Shaw and Cilla Black, owing a lot to folky pop-songstresses of yore. But since her ascension to the pop charts, she has taken a successful big-band route and thrown in her lot with the fashion crowd and trendy partygoers.

Stacey Solomon

The Essex girl with a heart as big as her voice, Stacey Solomon this month won the Queen of the Jungle crown on I'm a Celebrity. Although she has quite a set of pipes on her, Solomon became know for her bubbliness and fun-loving sense of humour. Voters couldn't take her seriously as a diva but she is now adored.

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