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Kent’s X Factor contestants and where they all are now

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Original article from Kent Live

Since The X Factor's inception in 2004, the show has seen countless people from Kent take to the stage in a bid to impress the judges.

However, the talent show will not be returning to our screens this autumn after ITV issued a statement following reports that creator Simon Cowell axed the programme after 17 years.

An ITV spokesman said in a statement: "There are no current plans for the next series of The X Factor at this stage."

Read more: Former This Morning presenter Fern Britton's life and career and her links to Folkestone

We've taken a look back at Kent's iconic X Factor contestants and found out what they're up to now.

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Ben Mills

Ben's first audition at the X Factor got rave reviews from the judges

Whitstable businessman Ben Mills auditioned for the X Factor in 2006.

The former marquee-erector even made it to the finals of the show, finishing in third place.

He left Kent behind after his X Factor success to tour Europe and the US, and released an album with collaboration from Take That's Mark Owen and singer songwriter James Morrison.

After the release of his album he left the Sony record label behind and formed a Rod Stewart revival band called Simply Rod.

He got married in Blean church in Canterbury in 2009.

By 2011 he was invited to join Jim Cregan's band Cregan & Co as lead vocalist and performed at the Music on the Hill festival in West Malling in aid of Demelza Hospice.

Ben singing at the X Factor tour in 2007

He hasn't been in the public eye much in the years that followed but Ben has continued to pursue his music career – he streamed live music from his lounge during the COVID-19 pandemic to raise money for struggling musicians.

On Friday (August 6), the Ben Mills Band will be playing A Broadstairs Folk Festival Fringe Event at The Wrotham Arms pub in Ramsgate Road, Broadstairs, according to his Facebook page.

Entry is by ticket only.

Danyl Johnson

Danyl Johnson appeared on the X Factor in 2009

Rochester’s Danyl Johnson appeared on The X Factor back in 2009 and was a strong contender to win, finishing in fourth place overall.

The ex-drama teacher competed to become the UK’s Eurovision contestant back in 2017 but the place was taken by his fellow contestant Lucie Jones.

11 years on from his X Factor debut and his career has taken a completely different path – he’s now working as an ambassador for the People’s Postcode Lottery.

He told OK! in 2016: “Pretty much I give people money for a living – so it’s not bad really.”

Danyl also retweeted the news surrounding The X Factor after the story broke yesterday (July 28).

Lucy Spraggan

Lucy Spraggan opened up about her social media break on Instagram

Former Wincheap Primary pupil Lucy Spraggan got through to the X Factor's bootcamp in 2012 after singing her original song Last Night.

The Canterbury born star's success on the show came to an abrupt end when illness stopped her from competing.

The 29-year-old has continued to pursue a career in music since her departure from the show, releasing her debut album Join the Club in 2013.

The album reached number seven in the UK charts and she has since released four more studio albums with Cooking Vinyl Records.

She made headlines recently after getting into fitness and transforming her appearance.

Lucy told her Instagram fans that she is feeling strong

Lucy also announced her UK tour in May, which is set to start in October this year.

Sam Bailey

Sam Bailey won the X Factor in 2013 – but what has she done since then?

Sam Bailey had a successful run on The X Factor back in 2013, winning the competition and going to number one in the UK charts with a cover of Demi Lovato's Skyscraper.

Former prison officer Sam was born in Bexley and spent her younger years in Sidcup, going to Cleeve Park School and Bexley College.

The 44-year-old was awarded a £1 million recording contract with Syco Music and was scheduled to support Beyonce on her tour.

The mum-of-three released a studio album The Power of Love in 2014 and sealed a book deal for her autobiography Daring to Dream.

After her headline tour in 2015, Sam parted ways with Syco Music and got involved with musical theatre productions.

She was cast in Chicago, Fat Friends – The Musical and Vampires Rock Tour.

She later released her second album, Sing My Heart Out, in 2016 and took part in the musical collaboration project Stronger Together raising funds for LGBT communities.

More recently she recorded a song called Wonderful for High Strung Free Dance, an independent film starring former Bond actress Jane Seymour and Disney Channel star Thomas Doherty.

Since the coronavirus lockdown, Sam has been spending time with her husband Craig and sausage dog Woody.

She is active on social media, regularly posting to Instagram and Twitter with singing and comedy videos, as well as giving online singing lessons with Little Dreams Foundation.

Bella Penfold

Bella went back to perform at St Gregory's in Tunbridge Wells before the start of the competition

Former Tunbridge Wells schoolgirl Bella Penfold graced our TV screens in 2018 after earning the golden buzzer on The X Factor.

The 22-year-old, who attended St Gregory's, made it to eighth place before being booted off the show but has continued with music since and released her debut single Crocodile Tears in February.

Tamera Foster

Gravesend singer Tamera Foster placed fifth in the tenth season of The X Factor back in 2013 when she was just 16-years-old.

The now 24-year-old released her debut single Romeo later that year and a further single in May 2020 titled Flipside.

She dated fellow contestant Sam Callahan, but the pair split in 2014.

She recently revealed her heartbreak after splitting from her secret girlfriend of 18 months.

Only the Young

2014 X Factor hopefuls Only the Young hailed from Canterbury and Thanet.

The four-piece included childhood friends Charlie George from Chartham and Parisa Tarjomani from Ramsgate.

Unfortunately, they were eliminated in week seven, finishing seventh.

They had already released a charity single in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust and performed at Wembley prior to auditioning for the X Factor.

In May 2015 they signed with Warner Music but their single faced numerous problems including a YouTube hack and issues getting the physical CDs to shops, resulting in it charting at number 53.

Original Article