Joseph McElderry (born 16 June 1991) is from South Shields, near Newcastle, Tyne & Wear and is a student at the Newcastle College of Performing Arts. He started singing when he was 14. He took the role of Danny in Grease performed at Harton Technology College. He auditioned for The X Factor in 2007, but felt too young compared to the other contestants and opted to walk away. He was the Pride of South Tyneside's Young Performer of the Year in 2008.
In 2009 he auditioned in Manchester singing Luther Vandross's "Dance With My Father". After he sang Whitney Houston's song "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" in the second week of live shows, Simon Cowell said his performance was "note-perfect". After week 3 "big band" week, Cowell said: "I have to give it to you. Whatever is thrown up at you, you just rise up to the challenge". Louis Walsh tipped him for the final, after his rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'" on the fourth live show. This performance caused the original song to briefly re-enter the UK Singles Chart.
After his rendition of "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", on the seventh live show, he received a standing ovation from all four judges (the first one this season), with Simon calling it "the performance of his life".
He received another standing ovation after he sang "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word", on the eighth live show, with Dannii and Louis admitting they have to see him in the final. As of November 29, he is the only remaining competitor in Cheryl's category. After singing the song Open Arms by Journey, Louis Walsh said: "I think if you recorded that song in the morning, you'd have a number one record with it." Joe McElderrry won the title.
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