The definitive ranking of every X Factor ‘Under-25 Boy’ finalist

This is now a ‘thing’. It’s the turn of the boys now, so we turn to their mentor… Warning: contains shirtlessness.

29. James Arthur

People that hate The X Factor automatically come last.

28. Nicholas Dorsett

I have no recollection of Nicholas Dorsett even being on the show, and he has been wiped from YouTube. However, the above video is someone filming him doing some shopping. Someone got a bit excited though:


27. Frankie Cocozza

Frankie Cocozza was terrible. Even Gary Barlow thought he was shit. But he isn’t at the bottom because if he wasn’t kicked off the show, we wouldn’t have Amelia Lily.

26. Ashley McKenzie

I can’t remember exactly but wasn’t Ashley the favourite going into live shows in Series 3? Or was that just me? This is all a bit pitchy.

25. Phillip Magee

If the opening transition in this video was a human, it would be Phillip Magee. Also, WHY WOULD YOU CHOOSE ‘JONNY BE GOOD’ FOR YOURSELF?!

24. Jahmene Douglas

He suffers from Jessie J-syndrome ie trying to throw as many notes into a song as possible rather than making sure the ones you do are actually good. Seriously, that performance of ‘Listen’ is dire.

23. Eoghan Quigg


22. Rikki Loney

He’s seen Robbie Williams four times. He’s a good singer/bad popstar, but the ‘crescendo’ of this performance being him picking a hat off a piano is amazing.

21. Sam Callahan

Unlike Rikki, Sam is all-round average. He looks incredible in a hat though (I could have ranked this category on post-series nude shoots).

20. Scott Bruton

A young Dermot O’Leary. To be honest I actually thought him and Rikki Loney were the same person, so see above.

19. Tabby Callaghan

The only under-25 boy from Series 1, Tabby was quite good at the time but clearly the standard was a bit lower then than it is now.

Just for old times sake, here he is at the Smash Hits Poll Winners’ Party:


(source: MSN)

18. Leon Jackson

Leon sort-of won Series 4 by default, didn’t he? Same Difference had no chance anyway, and Rhydian was too polarizing to win. Inoffensive at best.

17. Ray Quinn

Same as Leon Jackson tbh, although Ray gets props for doing it first.

16. Nicholas McDonald

If we grew an X Factor contestant in a lab, based on every talent show cliché, it would be Nicholas McDonald. He’s inoffensive, can sing a power ballad and is innocent (he can’t relate to love songs because he’s never had a girlfriend, remember?)

15. James Michael

James was sent home over Frankie Cocozza. Think about that whilst you keep looking at Andy Williams’ face. Does James still live in rented accommodation?

14. Craig Colton

As good as Craig is at singing, he’s just a bit boring. Ella Henderson without Ghost, tbh.

13. Lloyd Daniels

He was a bit awful, but he has more of that ‘something’ that they’re looking for than any contestant above. He’s also managed to remain semi-famous (he’d get on Celebrity Big Brother) despite doing nothing but topless photoshoots, so you’ve got to give him credit for that.

12. Andy Williams

Ok so he’s not the best singer ever, but look at that face:


(source: Attitude)

Look at that bracelet


(source: Digital Spy)

Look at that bath:



(source: Attitude)

11. Matt Cardle

Did Rihanna really want to come back and duet with Matt Cardle? Did she really believe in him? Nonetheless Matt Cardle was another case of good singer but not much else (it comes with being in this category), but fortunately his voice was more memorable than your Craig Coltons of the world.

10. Austin Drage

Austin is one of the first on this list to have star quality and a good voice. It’s a shame he went out on the fourth live show because there was a very good popstar there. Oh well. Shoutout to the lady playing the acoustic guitar – she definitely liked Austin.

Here’s a picture of Austin Drage having a shit at Butlins:




(source: Wikipedia)

9. Rhydian Roberts

Dannii Minogue may have styled Rhydian based on her camp fantasies, but there’s no denying that the man can sing/dance/be a popstar. Hideous suit aside, there’s something very Nick Tilsley about his glare at the start.

8. Marcus Collins

Marcus Collins was one of the only boys ever to have any worldwide potential. Well, until they turned him into a sub-par Bruno Mars impersonator on Week 5 anyway. I imagine he’ll probably be on Big Brother in January.

7. Nicolo Festa

Nicolo’s take on ‘Just Dance’ is perhaps the most bizarre X Factor performance OF ALL TIME. The slicked back hair. The sunglasses that don’t match what the dancers are wearing. It’s a shame because Nicolo could really sing :(.

6. Paije Richardson

Remember when Louis Walsh said that Paije reminded him of Lenny Henry? I guess he was pointing out that Paije actually has star power and charisma, both of which are almost always aren’t in the boys category. I think I went out and bought a jumper like Paije’s cardigan too, so there’s that.

5. Joe McElderry

Ok so technically Joe is another good singer without much stage presence, but he has an incredible voice. There’s something a little more endearing about him too, in that he probably didn’t know he was that good going through the show.

4. Rylan Clark

Rylan doing The Spice Girls is in the Top 3 best X factor performances of all time. Yes he can’t sing that well, but he was the only fun thing about the slog that was the 2012 series (well bar Scherzy).

3. Luke Friend

Luke ‘Kimberly Walsh with dreadlocks’ Friend should have won last year’s series. Once Tamera Foster had been written-off by everyone, Luke was the only act left with the potential to have a career. If the free voting was introduced last year, I think he probably would’ve.

2. Shayne Ward

Shayne is the only male contest to maintain a career post-show. That might be more because he was the first person to enter that could be better than the show, but nonetheless his music was really good (particularly ‘If That’s Ok With You’).

1. Aiden Grimshaw

I hate myself for saying it, but I think Aiden Grimshaw was too good for the show. He was too polarizing to ever win, and if you were going to vote for a boy in 2010, chances are you’d pick Matt Cardle. His own music is too off-kilter to go mainstream, and part of me wishes that he never entered because he’s probably have more success. Having said all that, we wouldn’t have his beautifully weird performance of ‘Mad World’, so every cloud.

He does incredible seriousface too:


(source: Tumblr)


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