The X Factor’s Anthony Russell returns after drug scandal: Everything you need to know about the 2018 finalist

He's going against Scarlett Lee and Dalton Harris

x factor anthony russell

by Aimee Jakes |
Updated on

The X Factor's Anthony Russell was booted off the competition in 2017 after it emerged he had been taking drugs whilst on the show. Known for his 'erratic' performances, heartfelt songs and humble Liverpudlian roots, fans were shocked to find out that contestant Anthony Russell was caught up in a drug scandal.

Anthony broke his silence after being kicked off the show last year. The 'born and bred Scouser' tweeted, 'Thanks for all the kind words. @TheXFactor have been brilliant and all the judges. Best of luck to all the acts this year. #xfactor #ARMusic'. [sic]

So, now Anthony's made it to the final alongside Scarlett Lee and Dalton Harris with a little help from his mentor Louis Tomlinson, let's get to know him a bit better.

Why did Anthony Russell leave The X Factor 2017?

Anthony left unexpectedly due to 'personal reasons.' At the time, The X Factor said: "Anthony has been going through some personal issues for some time – as he sang about at his audition. Those issues were still affecting him. So everyone has urged him to concentrate on getting himself better right now."

Who's duetting with the finalists at The X Factor final 2018?


X Factor final 2018 duets stacked

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Dalton Harris and Emeli Sande

On Saturday, Dalton Harris is set to perform 'Beneath Your Beautiful' alongside Emeli Sande MBE after singing 'I Believe I Can Fly' by R Kelly.

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Scarlett Lee and Robbie Williams

Scarlett Lee could sing 'Angels' with judge Robbie Williams on Saturday night's show following a rendition of 'Defying Gravity' from the musical Wicked.

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Anthony Russell and Tom Walker

Anthony Russell might be performing 'Leave a Light On' by Tom Walker with the man himself, after first singing 'Born To Run' by Bruce Springsteen.

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Dalton Harris and James Arthur

On Sunday night's show, Dalton Harris might be singing alongside 2012 winner James Arthur.

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Scarlett Lee and Leona Lewis

Scarlett Lee may be singing with Leona Lewis, winner of the 2006 series, on Sunday night.

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Anthony Russell and the Kaiser Chiefs

Anthony Russell could be set to perform alongside the Kaiser Chiefs on Sunday night's show.

What's Anthony Russell and Louis Tomlinson's relationship like?

Speaking about former One Direction fella Louis, Anthony said: "Louis is a godsend, I would be dead now if it was not for him. I think about it every day and pray for the kid every day, I owe him my life."

How old is The X Factor's Anthony Russell?

Where is Anthony Russell from?


What is Anthony Russell's Instagram?


What's The X Factor finalist Anthony Russell's Twitter?


Now, one year later, Anthony has returned to The X Factor stage in 2018 after new judge Louis Tomlinson got in touch with him and paid for his rehab.

When Anthony's 2018 audition aired on TV on Sunday 2nd September, Simon Cowell said, "I knew that Louis had reached out to help him with his demons a long time ago. I think it says a lot about the kind of person Louis is, he doesn't brag about it, he doesn't talk about it, it's a very personal thing for him.

"He called me when he saw Anthony's audition last year and said his story had really touched him and he wanted me to put him in touch with him. Louis genuinely looked after him."

Watch Anthony's 2018 X Factor audition below:

Which guest artists are performing at The X Factor 2018 final?


The X Factor 2018 final guest performers REVEALED

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George Ezra

He'll likely perform his new single Hold My Girl. That, or the INESCAPABLE Shotgun.

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Anne-Marie looks set to perform The Greatest Showman's Rewrite the Stars with James Arthur.

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James Arthur

James will probably perform, um, Rewrite the Stars with Anne-Marie.

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Ellie Goulding

We're hoping Ellie sings Diplo and Swae Lee banger Close to Me on the final.

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Take That

Take That have just been confirmed to perform on the final.

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Nile Rodgers and Chic

Temporary judge Nile Rodgers and Chic are also rumoured to be performing on the show.

During the show in 2017, Simon Cowell had commented on the dad of one's 'manic' behaviour and he had even turned up to his first audition with a black eye.

A source told The Sun, “Contestants are closely monitored by the production team. They were alarmed by how erratic he was during filming and decided to confront him. “He admitted he was a drug user and a decision was quickly taken to remove him.

“It’s a shame, as he was hotly tipped to make the live shows.

Anthony had originally made it to judges houses after a nail-biting Six Chair Challenge, but was replaced with another hopeful after being kicked off the show.

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©Anthony Russell © ITV

It was thought he would be replaced by the popular Benji Matthews, who narrowly missed out on Judges Houses, but fans were shocked to find out that Louis Walsh has instead chose Sam Black to go through to the next round.

Telly judge Louis Walsh said about the switch around, "Anthony has been fantastic across the series, a great singer and performer who we are really sad to see go.

"I had to think for a long time who could take the place. Sam had a great reaction from the British public when his audition aired. So I re-watched it and realised we missed a trick not putting him through at Boot Camp.

"He has that retro 60s style viewers will love. He's really likeable and talented and I can’t wait to hear more.

WATCH: All of the past X Factor winners to date:

Find out everything you need to know about The X Factor 2018 right here.

GALLERY: How many of The X Factor winners' singles do you remember?


The X Factor winners' singles

Steve Brookstein - 'Against All Odds'1 of 15
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2004: Steve Brookstein - 'Against All Odds' (Over 25s)

Steve Brookstein's winning single debuted at Number 2 in the UK charts behind Band Aid 20's 'Do They Know It's Christmas', the following week it went to Number 1.

Shayne Ward - 'That's My Goal'2 of 15
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2005: Shayne Ward - 'That's My Goal' (16–24s)

Shayne Ward was the second winner of the competition and released an original song - whereas most winners released the covers. 'That's My Goal' became the fastest-selling song of 2005!

Leona Lewis - 'A Moment Like This'3 of 15
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2006: Leona Lewis - 'A Moment Like This' (16–24s)

According to reports, 1 million copies of the single were pre-ordered by stores and it was downloaded 50,000 times within 30 minutes of being available online! It reached Number 1 in both the UK singles and download charts.

Leon Jackson - 'When You Believe'4 of 15
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2007: Leon Jackson - 'When You Believe' (Boys)

The single was another successful winners' single getting to Number 1 in the UK and becoming a Christmas Number 1.

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2008: Alexandra Burke - 'Hallelujah' (Girls)

Alexandra's 'Hallelujah' became a Christmas Number 1 for the fifth X Factor winner.

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2009: Joe McElderry - 'The Climb' (Boys)

After winning the competition, Joe McElderry's version of 'The Climb' went to Number 1 in the UK. The song was a cover of the Miley Cyrus song which was also released in the same year and featured in Hannah Montana: The Movie.

Matt Cardle - 'When We Collide'7 of 15
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2010: Matt Cardle - 'When We Collide' (Boys)

Matt Cardle won the seventh series of The X Factor and released his cover of 'When We Collide' (original title - 'Many of Horror'). The song reached Number 1 in the UK and became the second bestselling single of 2010.

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2011: Little Mix - 'Cannonball' (Groups)

They might be releasing Number 1 songs here, there and everywhere, but back in 2011 Little Mix won The X Factor and released 'Cannonball'. Unlike past winner's singles, the song wasn't released during the week of the popular Christmas Number 1 battle. The song debuted at Number 1 becoming the fastest-selling single of the year.

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2012: James Arthur - 'Impossible' (Boys)

James Arthur's cover of 'Impossible' was released immediately after he won the ninth series of The X Factor. The single became the fastest-selling winning single from The X Factor!

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2013: Sam Bailey - 'Skyscraper' (Over 25s)

'Skyscraper', originally sung by Demi Lovato was released by 2013's X Factor winner, Sam Bailey. The song became a Christmas Number 1 with all proceeds from the single going to Great Ormond Street Hospital and Together for Short Lives.

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2014: Ben Haenow - 'Something I Need' (Over 25s)

Once again The X Factor winner hit the top spot for Christmas in 2014.

Louisa Johnson - 'Forever Young'12 of 15
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2015: Louisa Johnson - 'Forever Young' (Girls)

Louisa Johnson released her version of 'Forever Young' however, unlike many of the previous winners' singles it didn't make the top spot, only reaching Number 9 in the UK.

Matt Terry - 'When Christmas Comes Around'13 of 15
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2016: Matt Terry - 'When Christmas Comes Around' (Boys)

Written by none-other than Ed Sheeran and Amy Wadge, 'When Christmas Comes Around' was The X Factor's second ever original song to be released as the winner's single. It debuted at Number 3 in the UK.

Rak-Su - 'Dimelo'14 of 15
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2017: Rak-Su - 'Dimelo' (Groups)

'Dimelo' was yet another original single to be released as an X Factor winners' single. It reached Number 2 in the UK, being kept off the top spot by Ed Sheeran's 'Perfect'.

Dalton Harris - 'The Power of Love'15 of 15
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2018: Dalton Harris featuring James Arthur - 'The Power of Love'

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