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The Voice, X Factor: is it better to be in a runner up position?

25th June 2013

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Series two of The Voice ended earlier this week, with Andrea Begley being named as the winner. But will her time run out before she can even make a name for herself?

As with the X Factor, the history of the show doesn’t instill confidence in the winners' future careers.

There was uproar on twitter the night James Arthur was crowned X Factor winner in December last year - some feared that he shouldn’t have won, so he could be signed by another successful record company. Voters didn’t want James to follow the footsteps of previous winners such as Steve Brookstein, Joe Mcelderry and Matt Cardle. You are possibly confused about those names... which says a lot. Winners, but where are they now?

As it is, James Arthur's single Impossible went on to become the biggest selling X Factor winner's single ever, and won the BRIT for Best Single. He is now set to support Justin Timberlake and Jessie J in Dublin this July. 

Out of the nine series, we have only seen three commercially successful winning acts - Leona Lewis, Little Mix and now hopefully James Arthur. The other artists only experienced short lived fame before soon being dropped by Simon Cowell's record label Syco. Steve Brookstein was by far the least popular winner and was dropped just eight months after being signed. Alexandra Burke also followed as she was the most recent singer to be dropped by her label earlier this month. So can the show really be classed as successful? Out of a possible nine artists only three have successfully made a mark in the music industry. 

Saying this, however, the show has indefinitely brought huge success to other artists - maybe not so much to the winners but certainly to some finalists. JLS, Olly Murs, Rebecca Furguson, Misha B, One Direction, Union J: all huge names; all with global records. These artists may have failed to win the X Factor, however could this have been for the better? Maybe so.

One Direction in particular have been the living proof that you don’t need to win the show to be successful. They are the most admired British boy band the show has produced, with over 14 million records sold worldwide and two BRIT awards.  

Generally speaking, the majority of the runners up are seen to have far more success in the music industry than the winners. Out of the five male winners the show has produced, only one has proved to be successful and this is the recent winner James Arthur, for whom the future is looking bright. The past few months, whilst he has been touring, competing finalist group Union J have already got a single out. This again reiterates how winning may not always be the best outcome. Only time will tell how long James Arthur's success will last, hopefully he follows the footsteps of previous winners Little Mix.

The Voice faced similar issues in terms of minor success from last year's winner. The groundbreaking voice of winner Leanne Mitchell won the hearts of the public as she was crowned winner of series one. She released her new album in May, almost a year after winning the competition, though it proved unsuccessful. Less than 900 copies were sold in the first week and it only made it to number 134 in the album chart.

Will.I.Am was outraged at the fact the record label Universal had delayed the release of the album and said “someone should be slapped”. Opposing views were shared by judge Danny O'Donoghue, though, who felt that no-one was to blame but Leanne herself. When asked why Leanne’s album hadn’t sold he said: “That's not my fault, that's not the show's fault, that's not the BBC's fault, that's just her fault.”

The other finalists have had better outcomes. Tyler Williams landed himself a record deal and one of this singles made it in the top 40. Vince Kidd's album is to be released this summer and he supported Cheryl Cole on tour. Sam Buttery is now working in musical theatre. All runners up seem to have gained greater success than winner Leanne. 

From both ITV and BBC we have noticed the achievements of the runners up have been far greater than that of the winners. So is it really all about winning? The blunt truth is if you are in a runner up position, this could be better for you in the long run. Time will tell how Andrea Begley fares.

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