Jubilant Joe McElderry was crowned X Factor king last night and said: “I owe it all to Cheryl Cole.”
He beat Olly Murs, right, to land a £1million record deal.
And in an exclusive interview with The Mirror, Joe, 18, said of mentor Cheryl: “She’s amazing. She is so caring and has been a real friend to me.”
I’m like jelly.. I nearly fainted
Cheryl Cole and Joe McElderry (PicL:ITV)
Jubilant Joe McElderry told how he nearly collapsed on stage with shock when he won X Factor.
After scooping top spot, the stunned 18-year-old said last night: “What has just happened? I can’t believe it. I nearly fainted at the end. I feel like I’m just floating around and like jelly.”
Joe wept as it was announced he had beaten Essex boy Olly Murs – then admitted he didn’t think he would win.
He paid tribute to mentor Cheryl Cole, declaring: “I couldn’t have done it without her.” And he promised to buy his devoted mum Eileen a house with his riches.
The bookies had Joe at 9/2 to beat Olly and millions of viewers proved them right by voting to hand him the £1million recording deal.
But Joe said: “I never really took much notice of the hype because I think the minute you take any notice of it, it puts you off. It was flattering but just because everyone was saying it, I didn’t think it was going to happen and I was actually going to win.
“The fact it has is something out of this world. I can’t stop crying.” Asked about winning for the second year in a row, Cheryl said: “It was Joe, not me. I am extremely proud of him.”
Simon Cowell added: “I have a mixture of emotions, I am sorry for Olly but I am happy for Joe.” Referring to Cheryl, he said: “This one is going to be so smug, but she did a great job. The two of them together deserved to win.” X Factor insiders predict Joe could now earn as much as £5million over the next two years, especially if he’s a hit in the US.
One said: “With the right management and advice, anything is possible. But the hard work starts now.”
Last night’s show was seen by an estimated TV audience of 17 million – making it one of the most-watched finals ever. This series has seen viewing figures go up by 20 per cent as the show goes from strength to strength.
And it is thought that up to 10 million votes were cast over this weekend alone. Joe got 61.3 per cent of the vote compared to Olly’s 38.7 per cent. He was one of 200,000 original applicants for the show.
A star-studded 700-strong audience at London’s Fountain Studios including Katie Price, Ronan Keating and Paul McCartney saw Joe’s triumph.
Mum Eileen and dad Jim, both 47, as well as aunts, uncles and cousins all made the 250-mile trip down from South Shields to support him. And after his triumph an emotional Joe, who was brought up alone by Eileen in a tiny flat, said: “This is all for my mum. I want to thank her for everything and buy her a house. She means everything to me and I just want her to know how much I love her. Spending some money on her is the least I can do. Mum, this is for you.”
Joe auditioned for the show in 2007 but quit Boot Camp because he felt he lacked experience. He added: “After the first time I said I would never do it again just because I didn’t feel ready or confident.
“I was really down and in tears. My world was turned upside down and I couldn’t cope with the pressure
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“And after coming back, I still didn’t think I would get through the first audition. But the reality was so much different. I just cannot believe it that I’m the last person standing. It’s been a truly amazing experience and winning is really the icing on the cake.”
Joe, who impressed the judges at his first audition singing Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross, paid an emotional tribute to Geordie Cheryl.
He admitted the Girls Aloud singer has even helped him with advice about personal problems outside of the show.
Joe said: “She has been absolutely amazing and I don’t think I could have picked a better mentor. She makes sure the song is right and I am comfortable.
“Clothes, hair, even make-up. If I wasn’t comfortable, she went out of her way to get it changed. She is really caring and helpful all the way through it.
“I would say she has been a good friend as well as a mentor. I have been able to talk to her about things which aren’t to do with the show.”
Joe admitted he will now be forced to leave the north and settle down south.
He said: “It’s a real shame but what can I do? It’s not as if I can jump in a helicopter and go up and down all the time. But I won’t forget my roots, believe me. I am not going to change. If I have enough money, I would love to buy a house in London. But it’s going to take a hell of a lot of work to get to that stage
“My plans now are that I’ll probably do some gigs for a couple of weeks and then go on holiday, sit on a beach and take it all in because it has been so mental.
“Olly’s also been saying I need elocution lessons because no one can understand my accent so maybe I’ll have some. If I have any success in America nobody will be know what I’m on about.” Part of Joe’s success over the weekend was down to his duet with George Michael performing Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.
Joe said: “To be able to perform with George was such an honour. I only found out on Tuesday. First they told us the song and then they explained who was singing.
“And I told them they were lying. There was no way this kid from South Shields would ever get that sort of privilege.”
The duet and Joe’s other great performances over the weekend won him warm praise from the judges.
Cheryl told him: “You are on the brink of a life -changing moment.”
And Simon Cowell said: “I have said all the way through, you are very special.”
Joe is now destined for the Christmas No 1 with his version of Miley Cyrus’ The Climb. Ladbrokes’ Nick Weinberg said Joe’s final victory was odds on.
He added: “Olly had two or three weeks where he was favourite, but he fell away.”
Last night’s show saw performances from Paul McCartney, George Michael, Leona Lewis and a duet by JLS and last year's winner Alexandra Burke. The other finalists came back to sing a medley.
This series of The X Factor is estimated to have earned ITV almost £100million.