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Little Mix sent shockwaves through the music industry yesterday when they announced their plan to split, 10 years after finding fame on The X Factor.  

Jesy Nelson, Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards and Leigh-Anne Pinnock, then aged 18-20, auditioned for the show as solo acts before being put into a group that went on to release six studio albums, scoring five No. 1s and racking up over 12 billion streams across all streaming platforms worldwide. 

But what happened to their fellow X Factor hopefuls from 2011? While none of the other series eight contestants have achieved close to their level of fame, some have built careers as wedding singers and cruise ship crooners. Ashley Baptiste, who was part of boy band The Risk, is now a BBC journalist and presenter fronting TV shows and documentaries. 

Others have had a rockier road, with Kitty Brucknell trying unsuccessfully to enter Eurovision on behalf of Switzerland and Moldova before giving up on the dream. She is now living the high life in Los Angeles. 

Meanwhile X Factor bad boy Frankie Cocozza, who famously had girls’ names tattooed on his bum, is now a settled family man, living with his wife and son in Sydney.  

Here, FEMAIL reveals the varied fortunes of Little Mix’s X Factor contemporaries… 

Marcus Collins

Runner-up: Singer Marcus Collins, from Liverpool, was just 23 years old when he charmed X Factor audiences under the mentorship of Gary Barlow. He lost in the final to Little Mix but found enough success on the show to build a career in the entertainment industry. Pictured, Collins on stage during the X Factor (left) and in a recent Instagram photo (right)

Famous friends: Marcus has remained friends with Little Mix star Jade Thirwall, pictured on holiday together

Versatile: Collins, pictured on a work trip to Dubai and hosting a Halloween event in drag, has continued to perform on stage in the decade since the X Factor. He recently revealed he battled depression and anxiety before being diagnosed with ADHD

Singer Marcus Collins, from Liverpool, was just 23 years old when he charmed X Factor audiences under the mentorship of Gary Barlow. He lost in the final to Little Mix but found enough success on the show to build a career in the entertainment industry. 

Collins, now 33, released a self-titled debut album after finishing the show which reached the top 10 in the UK albums charts and included the top 10 single Mercy. Although there were plans for a follow-up album, Collins parted way with RCA Records and the record was never released. 

A talented stage performer, he went on to star in the 2013 UK Tour of Hairspray in the lead role of Seaweed Stubbs and later landed a role in the West End production of Kinky Boots.

Now Collins, who has remained friends with Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall, performs as a drag queen and at events. 

When Covid-19 hit and put an end to live performances, he began an undergraduate degree in psychology and counselling with the Open University. 

As part of his course, he read reports of people who may have had ADHD and it led to him being diagnosed. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo in October, he told how he had spent years battling depression, anxiety and suicidal feelings.  

‘If I felt sad, I was suicidal. If I felt amazing, I felt like I’d won the lottery. There was no balance in between,’ he said

‘I read somewhere, somebody quoted as saying, “my reds burn fiery red, but when I’m blue, it’s the darkest, deepest blue you can ever imagine”. And that’s how I’ve always felt. Like, each end of the scale was always 100%.’  

Amelia Lily

Think pink! Multi-talented Amelia Lily on the X Factor, aged 17 (left) and looking just as fresh-faced today at 27 (right)

Stage star: In 2015, Amelia Lily joined the case of Green Day musical American Idiot, in the lead role of Whatsername. She also appeared in the 2017–2018 UK tour of Shrek the Musical in the role of Princess Fiona, pictured

Reality TV star: Like many other former X Factor stars, Amelia Lily has also had stints in reality TV. In 2017, she finished as runner-up on the 20th series of Celebrity Big Brother, pictured, behind Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding 

Pucker up! Amelia Lily shared a kiss with James Tindale on Geordie Shore – but the fling ended when he kissed someone else

Teen singer Amelia Lily, from Nunthorpe, North Yorkshire, was one of the breakout stars of the season, landing a £500,000 record deal with Sony once filming wrapped. 

Capitalising on her fame, Amelia released three singles in quick succession, which all placed in the UK Top 40 and led to her supporting her ITV talent show alumni Girls Aloud and Olly Murs at gigs across the UK.  

When her career as a solo star failed to take off, Amelia Lily made the transition into musicals. 

In 2015, Amelia Lily joined the case of Green Day musical American Idiot, in the lead role of Whatsername. She also appeared in the 2017–2018 UK tour of Shrek the Musical in the role of Princess Fiona.

Like many other former X Factor stars, Amelia Lily has also had stints in reality TV. In 2017, she finished as runner-up on the 20th series of Celebrity Big Brother, behind Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding. 

In 2020, she was announced as a new cast member on MTV’s hit series Geordie Shore.  

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Alongside her performing career, Amelia Lily, who is often spotted at celeb bashes, has trained as a makeup artist and now offers event and bridal makeup through a popular Middlesbrough salon.    

Misha B

Clouded by unfair bullying claims: Misha was just 19 when she appeared on the singing competition and was a favourite to win under the guidance of judge Kelly Rowland. But during the third live show, judges Tulisa Contostavlos and Louis Walsh accused Misha of being a bully, which she revealed last year left her feeling suicidal. Tulisa and Louis later apologised and did not comment on the issue when contacted last year. Pictured, Misha on the show (left) and in a recent Instagram snap (right)

Social media star: In the years since, Misha has established herself as an Instagram star, boasting 73,000 followers, and is believed to be involved with the National Diversity Awards

Misha was just 19 when she appeared on the singing competition and was a favourite to win under the guidance of judge Kelly Rowland.

But during the third live show, judges Tulisa Contostavlos and Louis Walsh accused Misha of being a bully, which she revealed last year left her feeling suicidal. Tulisa and Louis later apologised and did not comment on the issue when contacted last year.

X Factor judge Gary Barlow opened up about the incident in his book A Better Me a few years later, claiming that bosses on the show told the judges to use the bullying line. 

Misha went on to sign a record deal, releasing a 2012 single, Home Run, which debuted at number 11 in the UK chart. She later toured with Nicki Minaj and released further singles and EPs, before leaving her record company in 2014 to set up her own label Emboom.

In the years since, Misha has established herself as an Instagram star, boasting 73,000 followers, and is believed to be involved with the National Diversity Awards, an annual event which recognises positive role models and organisations who are connected to diversity.

In 2018 she released the single Rosa Parks Flows followed by Letter to My SiStars the year after. The stylish musician continues to perform and recently headlined a gig at Manchester United’s Old Trafford. 

Speaking on the ‘bullying’ incident last year, an X Factor spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘We are very concerned to hear Misha’s comments regarding her experience on The X Factor in 2011. 

‘We are currently looking into this matter and are reaching out to Misha to discuss the important issues she has raised. The welfare of contestants is our priority and we are committed to diversity and equality.’

Janet Devlin

Behind-the-scenes struggle: Northern Irish singer Janet Devlin, then 17, was a shining star on the X Factor, left, finishing in fifth place, but behind the scenes was battling with her mental health. Right, Janet promoting her music today

Song bird: Despite her private struggles, Devlin found success in the music industry and released her debut album in October 2021. Her second studio album, Confessional, was released in June 2020. Pictured, on stage in December 2018

Opening up: Devlin revealed last year that she had also struggled with alcohol but had been sober since the age of 20

Northern Irish singer Janet Devlin, then 17, was a shining star on the X Factor, finishing in fifth place, but behind the scenes was battling with her mental health. 

Speaking about being in a dark place while she was on the show, she said in her biography, My Confessional: ‘During my time on the show the dark clouds came back in full force. If I wasn’t rehearsing a performance or surrounded by other contestants at the X Factor house, I would be contemplating suicide, though I could never bring myself to think that word.’

She was taken to London’s Harley Street for an assessment. There, it became apparent just how much Janet’s mental health was suffering, with Janet stating: ‘On a scale of one to 100, 100 being the worst, I scored 93. This was not good news. Proof, were it needed, of just how on the edge of suicide I was.’

MailOnline contacted X Factor for a comment at the time. 

Devlin revealed last year that she had also struggled with alcohol but had been sober since the age of 20. 

Despite her private struggles, Devlin found success in the music industry and released her debut album in October 2021. Her second studio album, Confessional, was released in June 2020. 

The singer has worked with singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner and appeared in 2018 short film Songbird, for which she also wrote two original songs.     

Last month she released a cover version of Elton John’s Your Song. Janet, who has made TikTok videos about her mental health, also has 135,000 followers on Instagram. 

Craig Colton

Transformation: Craig Colton, pictured left on the show and right today, said he lost 4st in the five years after X Factor

Powerful voice: Colton has also made headlines for his weight loss, telling Loose Women he had shed 4st since the show but was less confident in himself. Pictured, Colton on stage on The X Factor

Loved up: The former reality TV star also credits his long-term boyfriend Shane Cooper, with having a positive impact on his life. Shane is a skincare and cosmetics procedure specialist with a London salon frequented by stars including Vicky McClure, Maya Jama and Bridgerton’s Phoebe Dynevor

Biscuit factory worker Craig Colton continues to describe himself as a musician, although there are no details of his career in the 10 years since leaving the show. 

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In a 2016 interview, he spoke about wanting to make a move into songwriting and said he had sent a song to Robbie Williams. It is not clear if the song was ever made. 

Colton has also made headlines for his weight loss, telling Loose Women he had shed 4st since the show but become less confident in himself. 

‘My insecurities began to heighten,’ he said. ‘When people lose weight, your insecurities can become stronger.’

The former reality TV star also credits his long-term boyfriend Shane Cooper, with having a positive impact on his life. 

Shane is a skincare and cosmetics procedure specialist with a London salon frequented by stars including Vicky McClure, Maya Jama and Bridgerton’s Phoebe Dynevor.  

Meanwhile Craig, who performs under the name Colton, hinted he was dipping his toe back into the music industry when he shared a photo of two guitars in July.  

Kitty Brucknell

Living in La La land: It’s been a journey of highs and lows for Kitty Brucknell in the 10 years since The X Factor (left). After two failed attempts to enter the Eurovision Song Contest, Kitty is now a girl about town in Los Angeles (right)

A girl about town, Kitty regularly dines out at some of the city’s coolest restaurant and is invited to film premieres and club openings. She has also taken up ice skating and has an entire Instagram account dedicated to her hobby (right)

It’s been a journey of highs and lows for Kitty Brucknell in the 10 years since The X Factor. 

Kitty, who competed in the ‘over-25’ category, launched a tour in January 2013 and garnered some critical acclaim for her original music, with Queen’s Brian May even praising a track. 

She later tried to enter the Eurovision Song Contest but to no avail. First, she entered the Switzerland audition with an original track, Yearning, but failed to make it to the final rounds of the process. The same song landed her on the shortlist to represent Moldova, but again she failed to make the cut. 

There was talk at one stage of a Broadway covers album, although this has never been released. 

Originally from Cheltenham, Kitty now lives in Los Angeles where she lives a seemingly lavish lifestyle and has made money through modelling. 

A girl about town, Kitty regularly dines out at some of the city’s coolest restaurant and is invited to film premieres and club openings. 

She has also taken up ice skating and has an entire Instagram account dedicated to her hobby.  

Frankie Cocozza  

X Factor Bad Boy: Frankie Cocozza, then 17, garnered headlines almost immediately on the show when he famously announced he had the names of six girls tattooed on his bum. He was kicked off The X Factor following an incident that was later blamed on ‘boasting about cocaine-fuelled sex sessions’. Right, Frankie is now a father-of-one in Sydney, Australia

Highs and lows: In January 2012, the musician made a reported £30,000 for his appearance on Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother. He finished second to Denise Welch. But in 2017 revealed he was earning just £7.50 an hour working on a building site

Found love: In May 2018, Frankie married Australian influencer Bianca, pictured, in a low-key ceremony in Brighton

Family man: The couple now live in Sydney, Australia, with their son, pictured, who was born in May 2019

X Factor bad boy Frankie Cocozza, then 17, garnered headlines almost immediately on the show when he famously announced he had the names of six girls tattooed on his bum.

After flashing his rear to the judges, the aspiring star went onto win over the judges and make it all the way to the live shows.

Frankie was then kicked off The X Factor following an incident that was later blamed on ‘boasting about cocaine-fuelled sex sessions’.

The performer was just 18 at the time but issued an apologetic statement admitting his life had ‘gone out of control’ when it was revealed that his departure was related to drugs.

In January 2012, the musician made a reported £30,000 for his appearance on Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother. He finished second to Denise Welch.

But in later years Frankie turned his back on fame, and in 2017 revealed he was earning just £7.50 an hour working on a building site.

That same year, he signed up to reality TV show Celebs Go Dating. He caused havoc by snubbing the women he was set up with, in favour of Ex On The Beach star Charlotte Dawson, daughter of the late comedian Les Dawson.

However just a few months later he was engaged to his now wife, Bianca Murphy. The couple tied the knot in a low key ceremony in Brighton in May 2018 and welcomed a son together the following year. 

Frankie and Bianca live with their son in Sydney, where Frankie continues to perform with a band. He also offers up videos on Cameo for £34.  

Johnny Robinson

Ageless: The oldest finalist, Johnny Robinson, from Harrow, was 46 years old when he wowed judges with his rendition of the Etta James classic At Last. Right, Johnny in a photo recently shared on Facebook, although it is not known when it was taken

Alter-ego: In 2016, he appeared on Loose Women as his drag artist alter-ego, Sara Lee, to promote a new single and claimed he had been mistaken for Katie Price. He said he wanted to perform in drag on the X Factor but producers ‘wouldn’t let him’

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The oldest finalist, Johnny Robinson, from Harrow, was 46 years old when he wowed judges with his rendition of the Etta James classic At Last. 

A favourite fans and judges’ alike, ultimately Robinson left the show  

He later revealed he had been suffering from PTSD while filming the show.  ‘I had a back story which I didn’t want to reveal at the time,’ he said in 2016.

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‘The public was sick of hearing that contestants were appearing on the show for their hamster. But I had lost my father in 2008. I auditioned in 2011. He had lung cancer and two brain tumours.

‘He didn’t want to go into a hospice so I took care of him. He was 12 weeks from diagnosis to death. I had a nervous breakdown and PTSD.’

In 2016, he appeared on Loose Women as his drag artist alter-ego, Sara Lee, to promote a new single and claimed he had been mistaken for Katie Price. He said he wanted to perform in drag on the X Factor but producers ‘wouldn’t let him’.

‘It was too revolutionary,’ he said. ‘Before my time.’ 

It is not known how Johnny now supports himself but he remains active on social media, where he shares viral dog videos and says he is interested in ‘free speech’ and ‘paranormal science’.     

The Risk

Boy band: A year after X Factor produced One Direction, Simon Cowell and the team were no doubt hoping to recapture the fandom with boyband The Risk, also put together from solo acts. However they ultimately went out early in the competition. Pictured left to right: Andrew Merry, Ashley Baptiste, Charlie Healy and Derry Mensah. Baptiste ultimately left the group

Still singing: Andrew (left) found success as a cruise ship performer and now lives in Norway with his partner and daughter, while Charlie (second from right) plays in wedding band and Derry (right) released a single in September. Ashley Baptiste (second from left) is an up-and-coming BBC journalist and presenter who fronts a show with Kym Marsh

A year after X Factor produced One Direction, Simon Cowell and the team were no doubt hoping to recapture the fandom with boyband The Risk, also put together from solo acts. 

Initially consisting of Ashley Baptiste, Andy Merry, Derry Mensah, Marlon McKenzie and Mitchell McPike, both Marlon and Mitchell were removed from the group at the judges’ houses stage of the competition. Charlie Healy, who had been in another group, was brought into the band. 

They were an early favourite with the judges and celebrity fans including JLS expecting them to make the final. 

Baptiste performed in the live shows but left prior to the start of the fourth round, saying he didn’t see his future in being in a boyband, and was replaced by Ashford Campbell, who had been a member of the group Nu Vibe. The Risk were eliminated after Baptiste left.  

Dropped out: Baptiste, pictured in the auditions, performed in the live shows but left prior to the start of the fourth round, saying he didn’t see his future in being in a boyband, and was replaced by Ashford Campbell

TV career: It turned out to be the best possible decision for Cambridge University graduate Baptiste, who is now a BBC journalist and presenter who has worked on BBC News and BBC1 show For Love Or Money with Kym Marsh, pictured

Ashley Baptiste: It turned out to be the best possible decision for Cambridge University graduate Baptiste, who is now a BBC journalist and presenter who has worked on BBC News, BBC1 show For Love Or Money with Kym Marsh and The One Show. He also presents a BBC Sounds podcast. 

He also fronted a BBC Three documentary Care Home Kids: Looking For Love, where he opened up about his own experiences of living in care. Baptiste previously worked for the Victoria Derbyshire programme. 

Away from his work, Baptiste has welcomed a daughter with his wife, Joanna. 

Andy Merry: Former Volkswagen sales assistant Andrew Merry, from Scotland, was able to build a full-time career in performing after leaving The X Factor and built a niche as a cruise ship musician.

He now lives in Oslo, Norway, with his fiancée Benedicte Bodin, a singer, dancer and actress.  

Charlie Healy: Another proud father, Charlie Healy, of Coventry, also continues to perform and works as a wedding singer. He shares videos of his gigs on Instagram, alongside details of his achievements as a distance runner.     

Derry Mensah: Like his bandmates, Derry also continues to perform and recently headlined a concert in Ghana, where he is currently staying with his partner and family. 

Describing himself as a singer, dancer and actor, Derry released his latest single, Sweetheart, in September. 

Charlie was on hand to watch his ‘brother’ Derry perform on a UK tour earlier this year.   

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