X Factor 2009 winner Joe McElderry ‘climbed’ his way to the top, but what happened then…?
Aged 16, Tyne And Wear born Joe McElderry auditioned for the 2007 series of X Factor in the UK, but walked away feeling that he was just a bit too young to take on the pressure of a singing contest and potential stardom. Two years later, he came back and won it. So was that it?
The X Factor final of 2009 pitted 18 year old Joe alongside 25 year old Olly Murs and it was a close call. Both singers performed outstandingly but when it came to the final vote, McElderry was the clear winner with 61% of the public vote. He performed “The Climb”, which had been a US No.4, UK No.11 hit for Miley Cyrus earlier that same year. McElderry entered the chart Christmas week at No.2, despite being tipped for the Christmas number one that year, only to be beaten by Rage Against The Machine’s X Factor protest song “Killing In The Name” to the top.
The following week, however, Joe McElderry ascended to the top spot and would eventually sell over 800,000 copies in the UK, double what Cyrus’ version had sold there. He also topped the Scottish singles chart as well as the Irish singles chart, where he was Christmas number one! He also performed with the other X Factor contestants on the charity single “You Are Not Alone”, a cover of Michael Jackson’s 1995 hit, which topped the UK singles chart and raised over £1 million for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
He spent most of 2010 recording his debut album and released his second single “Ambitions” in October, formerly a chart topper by Norwegian band Donkeyboy. McElderry took the song to No.6 in the UK and No.4 in Scotland and Ireland. His album “Wide Awake” followed later in the month and would peak at No.3 in the UK and No.2 in Scotland, selling over 100,000 copies.
“Someone Wake Me Up” was released as the third single from the album peaking at No.68 in the UK, the B side to which was his version of Carrie Underwood’s “There’s A Place For Us” from the film ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’.
He participated in another charity single that year for Helping Haiti following the horrific earthquake there. “Everybody Hurts”, a cover of REM’s 1993 hit, topped the UK singles chart and sold over 650,000 copies there as well as charting high across Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Joe McElderry went straight into the studio soon after to record his second album “Classic”, released in August 2011 and performing better than his debut, reaching No.2 in the UK and selling over 200,000 copies. The album is made up of previously recorded show tunes and opera songs ranging from “I Dreamed A Dream” to “Nessun Dorma” and “Dance With My Father”, a song he had performed on X Factor. That same year he also released a festive album “Classic Christmas” which included the WHAM! hit “Last Christmas”, which McElderry released as a single that December. The album reached No.15 in the UK and sold over 100,000 copies there.
In 2012 he released his fourth album “Here’s What I Believe”, which included the title track as a single and “Rescue Us”. The album peaked at No.8 in the UK and sold 65,000 copies. He spend the next few years performing on stage appearing and performing in musicals as diverse as ‘Set Your Soul Alive’, ‘The Who’s Tommy’ and the lead role in ‘Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’.
In 2017 he released an album of movie tunes called “Saturday Night At The Movies” which made the UK top ten. He has been touring the UK in the Autumn of 2018 and in 2019 he co-starred in Club Tropicana the musical, which ran till the early months of 2020. In 2021, Joe released a brand new song, “Baby Had Your Fun”, as he seeks to make a music comeback, while he continues to be sought after for stage shows and musicals. Welcome back Joe!