Liverpool's Rebecca Ferguson shone all the way through to the final stage of X Factor, beating 200,000 hopefuls but she could not overcome Matt Cardle, who was crowned this year's winner.
Former painter and decorator Cardle, whose dad is from Liverpool, was the runaway favourite to take the X Factor winner's title in the final sing-off of the series.
Rebecca was as dignified as ever when presenter Dermot O'Leary told the gorgeous diva that her time on the show had come to an end in second place.
After the result was announced, she said: "You know, I'm just
so happy and grateful to have got this far. Matt's amazing."
It was later revealed that Rebecca came close to pulling off
an upset as Matt's margin of victory was not as wide as
predicted, as he got 44.61% of the final votes, with Rebecca
earning 38.63%. The final was watched by nearly 20m viewers.
Rebecca's performance matches that of Childwall crooner
Ray Quinn, who finished second to Leona Lewis in 2006.
The 24-year-old mum-of-two from Anfield had been widely
tipped for the top from day one of this year's X Factor
competition. She stunned the judges and audiences from her
very first audition in Manchester, when she sang 'A Change is
Going to Come' by Sam Cooke.
The whole nation, and this city in particular, has watched with pride as the beautiful Scouser has developed from a nervous young girl with no self-belief into a true star, who would look at home on stage with the likes of Beyonce and Aretha Franklin.
Her final performances were stunning, including Eurthymics classic 'Sweet Dreams' and her breathtaking duet of 'Beautiful' with American superstar Christina Aguilera, who said: "She is incredible,
I saw a take of her singing a Nina Simone song and I was blown away. She is a very unique talent."
Rebecca has received nothing but praise during her entire time on the singing competition, especially in the final shows where she beat fellow finalists Cher Lloyd and One Direction to make it into the final two with Matt Cardle.
Her number one fan Louis Walsh told her: "When we
started out we were looking for an original, authentic
recording voice and you are it. Your my favourite ever
contestant, I love you!"
Rebecca battled it out with Matt in the final sing-off, giving a
show-stopping performance of what would have been her
winner's song, Duffy's 'Distant Dreamer', which prompted
Simon Cowell to tell her the "song was made for you".
Dannii Minogue said: "Rebecca, that was a beautiful
performance and I'm so glad you turned up at auditions."
A tearful Cheryl Cole told her protégé: "I could talk about
you all night. You are a true star, inside, outside, vocally.
You've been a dream to work with and I hope you realise
your dream tonight and are crowned winner."
However, it was not to be, but Rebecca was truly graceful
as she told show host Dermot: "My highlight was everything, I can't pick one thing." She then ran up to winner Matt Cardle and whispered in his ear: "Well done, babe."
Liverpool has been gripped by Rebecca's performances on the show over the past few months and hundreds gathered at the Echo Arena, with Coleen Rooney acting as host, to watch the final and scream their support.
Rebecca may have lost the battle, but she may yet beat Matt in the charts as she is tipped to earn a £1million recording contract from Simon Cowell, despite only finishing second.
By Camilla Cole, Entertainment Reporter
JMU Journalism: X Factor
Rebecca in pictures
X Factor 2010 official site >>
YouTube: Rebecca sings Duffy's 'Distant Dreamer' during the final
YouTube: Rebecca sings 'Beautiful' with Christina Aguilera as one of her final performances Pic © ITV.com
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