Belfast Telegraph

Van man Ben Haenow triumphs as wheels come off for X Factor favourite Fleur East

By Hayden Smith

Van driver Ben Haenow is on the road to music stardom after being named winner of The X Factor.

The 29-year-old's victory came as a shock after his rival Fleur East (26) was installed as hot favourite.

Haenow, from Croydon in south London, performed Michael Jackson's Man In The Mirror as his song of the series.

After the result was announced, Haenow said: "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."

Simon Cowell, who was mentor to both of the remaining two acts, said: "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 hailed East as a "fantastic runner-up".

She said: "I'm so grateful. I love Ben so much, I'm so happy for him."

He performed the winner's single - a cover of OneRepublic's Something I Need - at the close of the 11th series of the ITV show.

The track will now be a strong contender for Christmas number one.

Earlier, Mel B thanked the nurses and doctors who cared for her during the illness that saw her miss the show on Saturday night. The former Spice Girl returned to the judges' panel after being released from hospital after being treated for an unexplained complaint.

It's emerged that the show drew its lowest audience for a decade - trailing Strictly Come Dancing by more than a million viewers.

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