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Ben Haenow wins X Factor

PUBLISHED: 11:23 15 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:23 15 December 2014

Ben Haenow pub

Ben Haenow pub

Archant

West Wickham singer storms to victory

HE did it, and he did it in style – Ben Haenow took the X-Factor by storm and was gracious in his victory over Fleur.

The former supermarket van driver from West Wickham paid her a massive compliment for being such a star performer.

In the end, Ben won with a 20 per cent lead over his head-to-head rival in the final show in this latest series. And his single is already out, and ready for download.

A Christmas number one with his rendition of One Republic’s Something I Need, is now on the cards for the lad who had to battle his demons to get to where he is now.

After starting out gigging at pubs like The Swan in West Wickham with his brother Alex, he never imagined hitting the heights like this – some reports say he is set to earn around £6 million in the coming couple of years.

The ratings for the finals show last Saturday had dropped to a 10-year low, but that didn’t detract from his taking the top slot on Sunday’s vote show. The final still attracted a healthy 8.4 million viewers, including those who caught it on catch-up services.

All those millions watched on Saturday as Andrea Faustini was voted off early leaving Ben and 27-year-old Fleur East to battle it out for top honours on Sunday.

Former Spice Girl Mel B was ill and replaced on Saturday by N-Dubz performer Tulisa Contostavlos, making a return to the judging panel. Mel was back on Sunday.

Ben, 29, looked in genuine shock when it was finally announced he was the winner of the 11th series after an interminable pause from host Dermot O’Leary.

Battling the tears, he spluttered: “I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it. Thank you so much. My dream has come true. You can’t imagine you are going to get to this point in the competition.”

As emotions started to overwhelm him, he said: “Thank you so much for making my dreams come true. It’s been an amazing, talented year, with contestants like Fleur.”

And Simon Cowell, who mentored both the head-to-head acts, added: “I couldn’t be happier for you, Ben. You’ve deserved it – you are a great guy and I’m so proud of you.”

He added: “This is what you’ve waited for. Everything you’ve dreamed of, and this is what turning into a star feels like.”

Another of the judges Cheryl Fernandez-Versini went on: “You chased your dream and Wembley are speaking for you. Drink it in. Enjoy your moment.”

After Ben won, his brother Alex told us: “It just hasn’t sunk in yet.

“Our mum was in tears – she is so proud of him.”

The guitarist added: “It was absolutely crazy in the hours after the show. I have been walking around in a daze.

“Ben was whisked off quite quickly and he now has a manic schedule. We are over the moon for him, but now the hard work starts for him.

“Winning this was on the start – this is the first step and now he has a career to cement, and that is the hard part.

“He is not under any illusions of what is ahead of him, and he wants to have as much input as he can.”

Just as he got off a tube train in London, he said: “It hasn’t sunk in yet – I really want to watch the show again to make sure we have got it right.

“I need to see it on telly to believe it and make it real. It was all over in a flash when we were at the studio. I want to relive that moment – I am so proud.

“Even for Ben it has not sunk in yet – it’s like a dream. The whole family was there when he won.

“She could not be prouder of Ben. He put in so much work prior to X-Factor even starting that it has now made it so worthwhile.

“People have just seen the eight weeks of X-Factor, but there was 10 years prior to that where it was just hard work. Mum was in tears and so, so proud.”

As he made his way home the following day on Monday, Alex said: “I have not seen Ben since last night, and I didn’t see too much of him then. He was whisked off fairly early as he has this amazingly busy schedule this week.

“We are just looking forward to getting him back when he has a couple of weeks off just to relive it all together and have some quiet family time.

“He will need us as much as we need him. It’s important to keep some normality in your life when something like this happens.

“Once that’s over, it will really kick off. The journey is only just start now, really.”

Thanking the Bromley Times for its support, he said: “The hard work for Ben starts now.”

Ben also has some long-term plans for his girlfriend of the last six years, Jessica Jones.

He said: “I am going to get married to Jess. I can’t really give you a timescale, I would like to concentrate on the matter at hand first, then see what it brings afterwards.”

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