Artists who found fame on TV talent shows

They have TV to thank!

Beyonce, Liam Payne and Britney Spears

by Alex Ross |
Published on

They are all massive stars in the UK and worldwide now, but the likes of Little Mix, One Direction, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Leona Lewis and Justin Timberlake all started their careers on TV talent shows.

And with the new series of The X Factor hitting our TV screens this weekend (September 1st), we've decided to take a look at just how they found fame.


Artists who started life on TV talent shows (stacked)

Little Mix1 of 22
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Little Mix

Little Mix made history in 2011 when they became the first ever band to win The X Factor. Perrie, Jesy, Jade and Leigh-Anne released the track 'Cannonball' as their winners' single before going on to have hits such as 'Wings', 'No More Sad Songs' and 'Power'.Although Jesy Nelson quit the band at the end of 2020, Jade, Perrie and Leigh-Anne carried on as a trio. The band have now announced they will be taking a break following their 'Confetti' tour in 2022, to allow them to work on solo projects.

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She's one of the world's biggest superstars but Beyoncé first found fame on TV show Star Search back in 1993. Beyoncé enjoyed massive success alongside Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams in girl band Destiny's Child but made a name for herself with her massive solo singles.

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One Direction

They are one of the biggest bands in the world but we wouldn't have One Direction if it wasn't thanks to The X Factor. Harry, Louis, Niall, Liam and Zayn all auditioned for the show as solo artists but were later put together in a group. Despite finishing third in 2010, the band went on to achieve massive success. They went on to have five albums, four world tours and sold millions of records with hits such as 'Best Song Ever' and 'What Makes You Beautiful'. After Zayn Malik announced his departure, the band started their hiatus in January 2016 and have all gone on to release solo material.

Britney Spears4 of 22
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Britney Spears

Britney appeared on Star Search at the age of just 11!She went on to release her first two albums in 1999 and 2000 which turned out to be international successes. After a hiatus away from music due to personal issues, Britney returned with a bang with hits such as 'Womanizer', 'Piece Of Me' and 'If You Seek Amy'. Britney went on to land a Las Vegas residency for her 'Piece Of Me' show at Planet Hollywood, which later got adapted into an arena concert tour.

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Girls Aloud

Girls Aloud were first created when they appeared on Popstars: The Rivals in 2002. With Cheryl Tweedy, Nicola Roberts, Sarah Harding, Kimberley Walsh and Nadine Coyle all winning a place in the band, the group went on to achieve their debut number one with the track 'Sound Of The Underground'. Girls Aloud went on to achieve massive success in the UK and scored a record 20 consecutive top 10 singles in the UK Charts. In 2013 the band announced their split after their final UK tour, and have since gone on to release solo material and work on different solo projects. In 2021, Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding sadly passed away after losing her battle with cancer.

Adam Lambert6 of 22
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Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert shot to fame when he finished in second place on American Idol back in 2009. The singer went on to release his debut album 'For You Entertainment' and has since sold over 5 million records to date. In the past few years Adam has been touring as the lead vocalist with rock band Queen.

Becky Hill7 of 22
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Becky Hill

Believe it or not, chart-topper Becky Hill actually appeared on The Voice UK back in 2012, making it to the semi-finals with her mentor Jessie J.However, she didn't let not winning the show stop her! Becky has since gone on to achieve massive success, featuring on tracks with the likes of Rudimental, MK, Wilkinson, Oliver Heldens and Sigala.In 2021, Becky dropped massive hit singles 'Last Time' and 'Remember'.

Christina Aguilera8 of 22
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Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera appeared on Star Search as a youngster back in 1990.It wasn't until 1999 when the singer really made waves in the music industry with hits including 'Genie In The Bottle' and 'What A Girl Wants'.Throughout the noughties Christina had some massive hits such as 'Dirrty', 'Beautiful' and 'Hurt' and later went on to star in a number of movies such as Burlesque.The singer now has five Grammy Awards, has sold over 50 million albums worldwide and appeared on The Voice as a mentor.

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Olly Murs

As well as an appearance on Deal or no Deal, pop star Olly Murs actually has The X Factor to thank for kick-starting his music career! Although Olly finished in second place behind Geordie lad Joe McElderry back in 2019, the singer went on to release six successful albums and had hundreds of sold-out shows.Olly also returned to The X Factor to host the show in 2015, and now he's a judge on The Voice UK.

Fifth Harmony10 of 22
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Fifth Harmony

American girl band Fifth Harmony started their success when they finished third on The X Factor USA back in 2012. The band signed to Syco Records and enjoyed a number of hits both in the UK and USA including 'Work From Home' and 'Worth It'. In 2017, Camilla Cabello announced she had left the band to focus on her solo career, and in March 2018 the group revealed they were going on a hiatus. Normani also decided to go solo, releasing hit single 'Dancing With A Stranger' with Sam Smith.

Justin Timberlake11 of 22
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Justin Timberlake

Mr Timberlake appeared on TV show Star Search in 1992 singing a country song in his audition.He's come a long way since then! In the late 1990s Justin became one of the lead vocalists in boyband NSYNC.He then went solo and achieved massive success with hits such as 'Cry Me A River', 'Rock Your Body' and 'Sexy Back'. In 2016 Justin voiced a character for hit film Trolls and returned for the sequel.

Jordin Sparks12 of 22
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Jordin Sparks

Jordin Sparks became American Idol's youngest ever winner when she won over competition at the age of just 17 in 2006. The singer has since enjoyed massive success with her hits including 'Tattoo', 'Battlefield' and her 'No Air' debut with Chris Brown.

Leona Lewis13 of 22
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Leona Lewis

Leona Lewis won a £1 million recording contract with Simon Cowell when she won the third series of The X Factor in 2006. Leona went on to have five successful albums and has completed three tours to date. In 2016, Leona made her Broadway debut as Grizabella in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats.

Kelly Clarkson14 of 22
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Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson shot to fame in 2002 when she became the first winner of American Idol**.** Kelly has now released seven albums to date including the likes of 'Breakaway', 'Stronger' and her 2015 album 'Piece By Piece'.She's also a mentor on The Voice US.

Fleur East15 of 22
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Fleur East

Fleur East actually appeared on The X Factor as part of a band way back in 2005, but it was her solo appearance in 2014 which really got people talking. After going on to win the show, Fleur's debut single 'Sax' become a massive hit, with the singer later going on to release her debut album 'Love, Sax and Flashbacks' in 2015. Fleur went on to appear on I'm A Celebrity in 2018, before becoming a radio presenter in 2019. Then, in 2020, Fleur released brand new music with single 'Lucky', before releasing her second album 'Fearless' in March 2020.

Carly Rae Jepsen16 of 22
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Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen enjoyed massive success with her hit single 'Call Me Maybe' in 2012 but before that she came third on Canadian Idol. After getting her break with 'Call Me Maybe', Carly went on to have hits such as 'I Really Like You' and 'Run Away With Me'.

Jennifer Hudson17 of 22
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Jennifer Hudson

Despite her amazing success, Jennifer unbelievably only finished 7th on American Idol back in 2004. She's since went on to appear in hit movie Dreamgirls, released three studio albums and became a mentor on TV show The Voice UK.

Nicole Scherzinger18 of 22
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Nicole Scherzinger

She enjoyed massive success in The Pussycat Dolls but before that Nicole Scherzinger appeared on Popstars in 2001. It was her time in girl band The Pussycat Dolls which really started her success. The band became one of the world's biggest selling girl bands with hits such as 'Don't Cha' and 'Jai Ho'. Nicole later left the band and has enjoyed a solo career. The singer is also a judge on The X Factor. The Pussycat Dolls reunited in 2020.

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JLS boys, Marvin Humes, JB Gill, Aston Merrygold and Oritsé Williams finished in second place behind Alexandra Burke on The X Factor back in 2008. After gaining a loyal fan base from the show, JLS went on to have a number of hit singles including 'Beat Again', 'One Shot', and 'Everybody In Love', before they announced their split in 2013 following seven years together. However, fans were left hyped in early 2020 when JLS announced they'd reunited, going on tour and releasing new music.

Susan Boyle20 of 22
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Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle first shot to fame when she appeared on Britain's Got Talent in 2009. After shocking audiences and the judging panel with her incredible rendition of 'I Dreamed A Dream', Susan went on to finish in second place behind Diversity. This was just the start for the Scottish singer as she went on to achieve massive success, selling millions of records worldwide.

James Arthur21 of 22
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James Arthur

James Arthur is another success story from The X Factor! The Middlesbrough born singer was crowned the winner in 2012 and his debut single 'Impossible' went on to sell over 2.5 million copies across the world. James went on to release four studio albums, including 'It'll All Make Sense In The End' in 2021.

Ella Henderson22 of 22
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Ella Henderson

Ella Henderson, now known for huge hits like 'Ghost' and 'Glow', also started out on The X Factor. The singer competed in the ninth series of the popular talent show, in 2012, and was a strong favourite finishing in sixth place. Ella has since shot to true pop stardom, with her debut album selling over 500,000 copies in the UK and over 1,000,000 copies worldwide! Impressive.In 2022, Ella released her single 'Brave', also revealing the exciting news that she has a new album heading our way on 11th March.

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