The 18-year-old former shop assistant - who performed a duet with pop princess Kylie during the finale of the TV talent show – saw all his dreams come true on Saturday when he sang his way to victory
Photo: © Rex
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Almost 13 million viewers tuned in to see Leon claim victory - by only a few thousand votes - over blond Welsh tenor Rhydian Roberts, who had been favourite to win
Photo: © Rex
17 DECEMBER 2007
Months ago he was a shy teenager who lived with his mum in West Lothian, Scotland, and dreamed of singing for a living after he won a karaoke competition. Now 18-year-old Leon Jackson is on the road to stardom after singing his way to victory - and a £1 million recording contract - on Saturday night's dramatic final of The X Factor.
Almost 13 million viewers tuned in to the finale, during which Leon beat Welsh operatic singer Rydian Roberts - the favourite to win - to the coveted number one spot. The race was closer than anyone expected - only a few thousand votes separated the two performers.
"It's not real," said stunned former shop assistant Leon, who joined pop princess Kylie Minogue in singing her hit Better The Devil You Know during the show. "My birthday's just after Christmas, and this is probably the best birthday and Christmas present I've had in my whole life."
The singer, who burst into tears while performing Whitney Houston's hit When You Believe at the end of the programme, will be releasing the track as a festive single. He is no doubt hoping to follow in the footsteps of former winners Shane Ward and Leona Lewis, who have claimed the Christmas top spot with their own efforts in previous years.
While the modest Scot insists he won't let his new circumstances change him, there's one thing he will be splashing out on for his 40-year-old mum Wendy. "I want to buy my mum a new house," he reveals. "She's been so amazing to me all my life – bringing me up on her own. She's always provided for me and I always said I wanted to look after her and I will."
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