Joe McElderry

Pop to opera and now back to pop!

Pop to opera and now back to pop!

Joe McElderry was the second X Factor winner, after Steve Brookstein, who did not achieve the UK Christmas No 1 with his winner's single.

An acutely organised Facebook campaign saw Rage Against the Machine stop Joe in his tracks with song Killing in the Name.

McElderry, however, showed no signs of giving up straight away though, and he actually reached No 1 the week later with his debut song, a cover version of Miley Cyrus’ The Climb.

He was born in South Shields, just downstream from Newcastle upon Tyne on 16th June, 1991. McElderry attended Newcastle College to study performing arts. During this time, he auditioned for the 2007 X Factor, but he was considered too young compared to the other contestants. Two years later, he was mentored by Cheryl Cole to win the £1 million recording contract. Just over a year after that, his contract was allowed to expire and not renewed by his record label, Simon Cowell’s Syco.

McElderry went his own way, starred on TV show Popstar to Operastar, won the show, released a successful opera album and is now back on the pop scene with 2012's album Here's What I Believe.

McElderry admirably came out as gay in an interview with the Daily Mirror in July 2010. The gay charity Stonewall has also listed him as a gay role model. “It feels weird,” McElderry said of the accolade, “I don’t really see myself as a role model but I would never do anything that is bad as I realise people are looking at me.”