Belfast Telegraph

X Factor winner Joe McElderry teams up with Jedward

Less than 18 months ago he was riding the crest of a wave after being crowned the winner of X Factor. A smug Simon Cowell declared to the world that in baby-faced Joe McElderry he'd discovered the UK's answer to Hollywood's Zac Efron.

But the writing was on the wall for the Tyneside teenager when his single The Climb failed to reach the number one spot at Christmas — the first time since 2004 that an X Factor winner hadn't claimed the festive top chart position.

Instead, a Facebook campaign, organised as a backlash against Cowell's monopoly of the charts, helped Rage Against the Machine take the coveted slot with their single Killing in the Name.

Little more than a year on, McElderry's career has shuddered to a halt. His diary is practically empty, he's recently moved back in with his mum and his dreams of global success lie in tatters.

This afternoon the 19-year-old will join X Factor novelty act Jedward at an outdoor concert at Wallace Park in Lisburn — hardly Wembley Stadium and a far cry from what Cowell had in mind for him. Even Jedward, who divided the nation with their unique brand of entertainment and who were branded “vile little creatures” by Cowell, have eclipsed McElderry and will undoubtedly prove to be a bigger draw today.

Though a large enough crowd is expected at Wallace Park, it's still a relatively low-key gig and doesn't quite compare to the type of venues where previous winners Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke now perform.

Runners up in 2008, JLS are set to play an outdoor gig in Belfast this summer, and thousands are expected to attend that show at the massive King's Hall Complex. And just to rub salt in the wounds, Olly Murs, whom McElderry pipped to the post in 2009, has enjoyed much greater success than the victor.

So where did it all go wrong for McElderry and can the cute wannabe crawl his way back?

Some insiders believe McElderry's decision to announce that he was gay might have gone against him in his US bid for stardom.

It is understood he had a string of meetings in the US |last year, including one with a Disney executive, but nothing came from them.

According to one source, his coming out was seen as detrimental to a career with squeaky-clean Disney.

However, others believe he has been let down by his management, Cowell and his mentor Cheryl Cole.

His debut album didn't set the charts alight and his last single only made it to number 68 in the charts.

It's not known if he is planning to release any more material.

Whatever the reasons for his lack of success, it seems unfair that a teenage boy was promised so much, yet so little was delivered.

At the time of his victory, Cowell announced: “I remember the first time I saw you and I remember telling the other three judges, ‘This guy could actually win the show’.

“I feel responsible for your success and very proud of everything you’ve achieved.”

I wonder does he feel so responsible now?

Background

Joe McElderry was the winner of the 2009 X Factor series. His debut single The Climb failed to make it to the Christmas number one. His debut album was released in 2010 and a number of singles followed. The last one, Someone Wake Me Up, only charted at number 68. However, a song he performed for the movie The Chronicles Of Narnia, There's A Place For Us, was nominated for a Golden Globe. McElderry (19) lives in South Shields with his mum.

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