So The X Factor is all over for another year. After all the overhaul and a return to basics, the show recorded the lowest ever ratings for a final where Matt Terry was crowned the winner. So is there any future for TV's slowly expiring talent show? We take a look at previous winners and how they fared...

2004: Steve Brookstein

Steve Brookstein won the first ever series of The X Factor in 2004 after impressing Simon Cowell with his jazz and soul-style. However, the singer was dropped from the record label Sony BMG a mere 8 months after signing to them following his X Factor success.

Since then he has been vocal in his criticism of the show and music mogul Cowell - saying it was "killing music" and released a kiss and tell book about his experience called Getting Over the X. He's now best known for his tin-foil-hat Tweets which are becoming more enraged and bitter by the week.

2005: Shayne Ward

Pop singer Shayne Ward came to fame on the second season of the singing competition with his original song That's My Goal, which landed him a Christmas number one. Since then the baby-faced singer has released four albums, the first two of which sold well in the UK and Ireland, while 2010's Obsession failed to generate the same sales.

His most recent release was 2015's Closer, which he put out as an independent artist after being dropped from Cowell's Syco label. He has also branched out into the acting world, appearing on soap favourite Coronation Street.

2006: Leona Lewis

London-born singer Leona Lewis came to international success after she won the third X Factor in 2006 and she earned success across the pond in the States after signing to Clive Davis's record label J Records. She has sold 20 million records worldwide and picked up a slew of awards, including an MTV Video Music Award and three World Music Awards.

2007: Leon Jackson

Pint-sized Scottish lad Jackson was the underdog in that year's show and his victory over fight wig squealer Rydian left bookies reeling. One over-enthused observer even went as far as to describe Jackson's triumph as "the biggest shock in the history of reality TV betting."

That Christmas Syco flung out a cover of a song no one really wanted in the first place - a version of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston's duet When You Believe. Naturally, the masses nodded along with the then still omnipresent pop evil genius Cowell and put it at No 1.

With almost textbook obedience, Jackson then followed the career trajectory of nearly every X Factor winner and was dumped by Syco. He's now best known for his rather buffed physique which he gladly shares with fans on Instagram and is currently working on a new record. Apparently.

2008: Alexandra Burke

Like Noah herding sheep into the Ark, Cowell is convinced that the world of pop is going to need one of each. So after giving us two variations on the theme of Steve Brookstein with 'lil Leon and Shayne Ward, we got Leona Mark II in the shape of Alexandra Burke in 2008. Invested with a personality - something sorely lacking in Leona - she will mostly be remembered for delivering a version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah devoid of any of the song’s haunting beauty.

Alexandra went on to win a load of industry type awards and she released her last album, Heartbreak on Hold, in 2012. She was last seen hoofing it around the West End and Dublin's Bord Gais Energy Theatre in the lead role in The Bodyguard.

2009: Joe McElderry

Quiveringly sincere pretty boy McElderry was the victim of a long simmering X Factor backlash when his stab at the Christmas No 1 was trumped by Rage Against The Machine's well-known festive ditty Killing in The Name Of. Of course, it served him right for releasing a cover of The Climb by the pre-nekkid Miley Cyrus. 

His debut album, Wide Awake, was a top three hit in the UK but lo and behold, he was dropped like a mouldy potato salad by Syco two years later. Joe is at least a good example of how Cowell's masterplan actually works - X Factor is just a TV format continuum whose sole purpose is to churn out contestants for further reality show torment.

In 2011 he went on to win Popstar to Operastar, there was also a spot in The Jump and next year he will take to the stage in Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Altogether now "I dreamed a dream...".

2010: Matt Cardle 

Ah! Matt Cardle, the cheeky chappie with a signature hat who beat out One Direction to win the seventh series of The X Factor. His winning song was a cover of Biffy Clyro's Many of Horror - which was re-titled When We Collide - made it to the top of the charts just in time for Christmas and stayed there for three consecutive weeks.

By 2012 it had become the fourth biggest selling single in Ireland of all time and it reached the one million sales mark worldwide. Pretty impressive. So what's Matt been up to since? Well aside from ditching the hat, he's been keeping very busy with a new tour and album out this year, released on his website.

2011: Little Mix

The first and only group to ever win The X Factor, Little Mix were formed on the show and have gone on to reach global success. The four-piece released a cover of Damien Rice's Cannonball as their first single, which topped the charts in the UK and bagged the Christmas number one spot here in Ireland. While the success of their songs like Wings, Salute and Move earned them fans around the world, it was band-member Perrie Edwards' relationship with 1D's Zayn Malik that kept them in the headlines. 

The whole drama also provided them with the lead single for their latest album, Shout Out to My Ex, while their new single Touch is expected to do quite nicely as well. Little Mix have cemented themselves into a rare group - X Factor winners that aren't only known for their stints on the show. They've even co-written with Britney Spears and joined Taylor Swift on stage? Talk about girl power.

2012: James Arthur

The X Factor's bad boy James Arthur won the competition in 2012 - the year that also produced Ella Henderson and Union J - but his time at Simon Cowell's record label was cut short due to a number of fallouts over his lyrics, Twitter comments (some blasting The X Factor's greatest creations - One Direction) and his dodgy behaviour. 

After a brief relationship with now X Factor mentor Rita Ora, a public apology for all his wrong-doings and many more tabloid headlines along the way, Arthur released his second album this year called Back From the Edge, which amazingly went on to top the UK charts. Oh yes and it was released on Cowell's Syco label after the pair kissed and made up (but not in a gay way).

2013: Sam Bailey

Sam was once a prison warden and she sure could sing sing (you're fired - Ed) but during the course of that year's X Factor slog, her sordid past as a cruise ship performer was also revealed. This probably helped her win. Her single, an utterly pointless cover of Demi Lovato's Skyscraper, was the first X Factor song since 2010 to take the Christmas number one spot. 

Since then, she's supported Beyonce in Birmingham (the glamour!) and had the first X Factor number one album since Alexandra Burke's 2009 debut. Bailey even published her autobiography a few years ago. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. 

2014: Ben Haenow

London lad Ben Who-now? covered OneRepublic's lily-livered Something I Need and like a pop Pavlov's dog the once great British buying public installed it at number one for Christmas. Who-now (Ok, it was funny the first time - Ed) released his self-titled debut studio album in November 2015, preceded by the single Second Hand Heart, a duet with Kelly Clarkson, which peaked at Number One.

Since then he has been on the receiving end of the traditional Syco Christmas card which said "(Insert name of act)... and Syco have parted ways by way of mutual agreement” 

2015: Louisa Johnson

Louisa (for that is her official name) was the youngest ever winner of the X Factor. Surely a young fanbase would be enough to ensure her longevity? Think again. Her cover of Bob Dylan’s Forever Young scraped into the top ten and her most recent single So Good, which she released in October this year, peaked at No. 13 in the UK chart. She's also said to be working on her debut album - watch this space as they say.

Alan Corr