Feature: Sam shone like a beacon in the hearts of a nation

Guest stars - Nicole Scherzinger with Sam Bailey. Photo by Tom Dymond/Thames/REX (3428698et)

Guest stars - Nicole Scherzinger with Sam Bailey. Photo by Tom Dymond/Thames/REX (3428698et)

As Sam Bailey waits to hear whether she has secured the Christmas number one today, the Mail looks back at the night she was crowned X Factor champion.

During last weekend’s final in front of 10,000 people at Wembley Arena, Sam took 53.4 per cent of the overall public vote.

Even the power of the Scottish voters failed to beat her, with runner-up Nicholas McDonald failing to seriously challenge Sam as clear winner of the 2013 competition.

Along with the plaudits, prize money and inevitable fame that being the X Factor champion will bring, Sam will also get to support megastar Beyonce on tour.

Today she will find out whether her single, Skyscraper, will gain the Christmas number one slot.

The 36-year-old sang, shimmied and shone her way through to last Sunday’s night final showdown after her two performances on the Saturday received huge praise from the show’s four judges.

She was the bookies’ favourite going into the show but there were some fears that complacency might lead to people not picking up the phone to vote for Sam.

Before her first performance of the night on the Saturday where Sam sang Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga, producers showed emotional footage of Sam returning to Leicester last week.

As well as seeing her two children and husband Craig, she was shown a clip of her grandma Rita who tearfully explained how proud she was of her grandaughter.

The cameras then followed as she played a gig at Eyres Monsell Social Club and later at Athena in Leicester.

She even sang karaoke with mentor Sharon Osbourne.

Her second song of the night was And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going from the Broadway musical Dreamgirls where she duetted with X factor judge and former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger.

The combination of the two powerful singers made for a winning formula aside from the fact that a stagehand had left their mic on and who could be heard during the performance.

Third finalist Luke Friend got the boot on the Saturday night and on Sunday, Sam continued to impress the judges and the viewers who voted for her, by belting out her chosen song of the series, The Power of Love by Jennifer Rush.

The judges heaped praise on Sam and gave the mum-of-two a standing ovation.

Nicole said: “You make it look too easy.

“You were born to do two things: to be an amazing mum and to be a star on that stage.

“Having known you and having worked with you, you are a beacon light and so inspiring and empowering to all the other mums out there.”

Gary Barlow said: “I know this is your song of choice but I’ve got to be honest, for me, you could have sung anything from this series because every single performance has been amazing.”

Louis Walsh said: “You are what this show is all about.

“Giving somebody a chance ... to someone who deserves it. You’ve got it all.”

Her second song of the night was her version of the winner’s single Skyscraper, which was originally sung by Demi Lovato.

The judges again credited her performance which reduced Nicole and Sam’s mentor Sharon, who was left speechless, to tears.

Nicole said: “That voice is a gift from God.

“This time is your time.”

Gary added: “You’ve stolen the hearts of the nation.

“You sung that as if on behalf of all those people whose dreams have never died.”

After the result was read out a clearly emotional Sam performed her single again amid jubilant scenes on the Wembley Arena stage.

She was the consummate professional, carrying on singing even when enveloped by hugs from fellow contestants from this year’s series.




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