7 vintage X Factor stars now – jail, suicide, racy pics and back on the bins

For many aspiring stars from humble backgrounds, an appearance on X Factor is the stuff of dreams, a chance to shine in front of a massive TV audience.

The ITV show has a long track record of helping talented singers and acts to give up their day jobs and swap it for a life of fame and fortune.

Past X Factor success stories include One Direction, Olly Murs, Leona Lewis, Little Mix, JLS and James Arthur, all of whom have gone on to enjoy enormous success and wealth.

Other finalists have moved into TV or careers in other areas of the media, but many have also returned to the normal lives they had before their 15 minutes of fame, and not everybody enjoyed their short-lived stardom.

Here, we look at seven X Factor favourites from the show's vintage years and what happened to them after they were on our screens.

Andy Abraham

Former London bus driver Andy Abraham made a memorable appearance on X Factor in 2005 when he sang Me and Mrs Jones.

Married with two children, Andy was working as a binman when he auditioned for the show and he was mentored by Sharon Osbourne.

Andy won 1.2% of the public vote but narrowly lost to winner Shayne Ward.

After that, he released his debut album, The Impossible Dream, which reached number two in the UK album chart.

Andy, now 56, was chosen to represent the UK in 2008’s Eurovision Song Contest.

Unfortunately, the song Even If came joint last and went down in the history books as one of the UK’s worst-performing Eurovision tracks ever.

Andy eventually returned to his job as a binman and says he’s often asked to sing for people while on the job.

Danyl Johnson

Mentored by Simon Cowell, singer Danyl Johnson made it all the way to the semi-finals of the 2009 series of X Factor alongside Stacey Solomon, winner Joe McElderry and Olly Murs.

Danyl came fourth in the live show, singing Michael Jackson’s Man in The Mirror and Whitney Houston song I Have Nothing.

In 2017, Danyl was in the running to represent the UK in that year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev.

He sang the song Light Up The World but lost out to fellow X Factor finalist Lucie Jones was picked to sing in the final with Never Give Up on You, which finished 15th.

Now 39, he now works as an Ambassador for the People’s Postcode Lottery and can often be spotted on his social media channels holding aloft oversize cheques with surprised lottery winners.


Retired Brazilian PE teacher Wagner Fiuza-Carrilho became an overnight sensation when he appeared in the seventh series of The X-Factor in 2010.

At the age of 54, he was the oldest finalist although he nearly didn’t make it through to the live shows.

It was only a wildcard from mentor Louis Walsh that got the long-haired singer into the over-28s category and he certainly didn’t disappoint.

Although his energetic performances were fun, Wagner was reported to have had several run-ins with fellow X Factor contestants and he left house they shared during the show.

In 2010, it was revealed that Wagner was being investigated by welfare officials over his claiming of incapacity benefit for a frozen shoulder while appearing on the show.

Still making public appearances, the 64-year-old now looks after his two children with girlfriend, Lydia, who is 36 years his junior.


Welsh-born singer Yousseph "Chico" Slimani reached the quarter-finals of X Factor in 2005.

Mentored by Sharon Osbourne, he lost out to winner Shayne Ward but his high-energy performances went down a storm with audiences.

The following year, Chico had a number one single with Chico Time, although the follow-up, "Curvy Cola Bottle Body”, only reached number 45.

He continued to record songs and appear on TV, as well as touring Butlins holiday camps, but he suffered a stroke in 2018, aged 47.

Thankfully, the dad of two made a full recovery and continues to work on his own Block Fit fitness programmes, which he launched after losing his life savings.

“Luckily I've made a 100% recovery and it's completely changed my outlook on life,” he told WalesOnline in 2020.

Last year, he joined Jeremy Corbyn's brother Piers and conspiracy theorist David Icke at an anti-lockdown demonstration.

Janet Devlin

Flame-haired Northern Irish singer Janet Devlin burst onto our screens in series 11 of X-Factor in 2011whenshewasstill16.

She performed Elton John’s Your Song in the audition and sang Coldplay’s Fix You in week one. Janet topped the public vote more times than any other act, receiving the most public votes for the first four weeks and reached the quarter-finals.

She ended up in the bottom two with Misha B but was eliminated in the final showdown after performing Chasing Cars.

Janet has since been very open both about her struggles with depression and alcoholism, revealing that she attempted to take her own life at one point.

Now 26, she has a huge following on Instagram where she shares racy snaps, showing off her enviable figure and tattoos in lingerie and bikinis.

Ariel Burdett

Self-proclaimed "holistic vocal coach" Ariel Burdett became an internet sensation after her 2008 audition on X Factor.

Her performance of an original song has since been re-watched several million times on YouTube.

She described the piece as an ‘academic construction’ and Cowell branded her voice a ‘nightmare’.

After her appearance on the show, Ariel, who was born Amy, changed her name to Ara Amy Starblaze.

Tragically, her body was discovered on the bed of her Leeds flat in November 2019.

An inquest heard she had died from a self-inflicted wound to her neck and drug toxicity.

She had previously been diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

Danny Tetley

Yorkshire singer Danny Tetley competed in the 2018 series of The X-Factor and came sixth place as a semi-finalist after receiving the fewest public votes.

During the series, he had performed songs such as Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Who Wants to Live Forever, This is My Life and ABBA’s Thank You For The Music.

Tetley, who was born with a cleft palate, also appeared in the first ever Pop Idol in 2001 and went on to make a cameo appearance as a singer in ITV comedy Benidorm.

But his career came to an abrupt end when he was jailed in January 2020 for exploiting teenage boys.

A court heard Tetley sent thousands of texts and WhatsApp messages to the boys.

The judge branded him a "despicable creature" after he groomed and induced teenage boys to send him indecent images for money.

The disgraced singer was jailed for nine years as part of a 17-year extended sentence.

  • ITV
  • Simon Cowell
  • X Factor

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