The ads have been on our screens for weeks and now, the launch date has finally been released: X Factor Season 15 starts on Saturday, meaning we can all officially get excited. I personally can't wait to watch new judges Louis Tomlinson, Ayda Field, and Robbie Williams join Simon Cowell in the audition rooms. I wonder what kind of act they'll all be searching for. But as we all look forward and wonder who will make it to this year's live shows, can anyone remember who won X Factor 2017?
Fans of the X Factor know that there are certain categories that, for whatever reason, seem to do better on the show. The groups category is generally not one of them. However, last year’s winners bucked that trend. In fact, Rak-Su, the four man group from Watford, were the first boy band to win the show ever since it started way back in 2004.
Ashley Fongho, Jamaal Shurland, Mustafa Rahimtulla, and Myles Stephenson were childhood friends before auditioning for Season 14 of X Factor. During this series, for the first time in the show's history, Cowell changed the rules of the competition by allowing contestants to perform original material as opposed to covers. Rak-Su set themselves apart from the start, taking the potentially risky move of singling their own song 'I’m Feeling You'. Their initial audition seriously impressed all four judges and they then immediately became the ones to watch.
Being mentored by the grand overlord himself, Simon Cowell, the boys went on to do really well consistently week after week, performing eight of their own songs, three of which topped the UK iTunes charts whilst the show was still running. These boys weren’t there to mess about.
Some 5.2 million of us tuned into the series finale to watch the boys beat Grace Davies to win the competition. In a twist no one saw coming, it was then announced that the group's winner's single would be a duet. Not that they minded though as the feature act on their song 'Dimelo' was Wyclef Jean, meanwhile the legendary producer Naughty Boy also worked on the track.
The song debuted at number two and spent three weeks in the Official UK Chart top ten. At the request of the lads, all proceeds went to the charities, Together For Short Lives and Shooting Star Chase Children's Hospice.
Rak-Su then used the momentum of the show to launch their pop careers.
But what have Rak-Su been doing since X Factor 2017 exactly? Well, by the sounds of it the boys haven’t stopped since they walked out of the ITV studios. In February 2018 they released their first self- titled EP which included the songs 'Mamacita', 'Dimelo', 'Mona Lisa', and 'I’m Feeling You', which they performed on the show.
Speaking to Notion magazine, Jamaal said: "Yeah I think the X Factor as a process has been a whole developmental phase for us. We went in knowing the type of music that we would like to make and not knowing if the public or general music would accept that or receive it and when they did it was exciting for us to see. The X Factor has allowed us to develop in the way that we want to, and, as Ashley said, it’s almost like they’re just propelling us and giving that extra push."
If that wasn’t enough to be keeping them busy, in May 2018 they announced they would be joining girl band sensations and fellow X Factor winners, Little Mix as their support act on their Summer Hits Tour 2018.
With plenty of hard work and raw talent the boys seem to be living the X Factor dream. Supporting one of the biggest girl bands in the world right now and releasing an EP and single less than a year after winning the show? They must feel pretty sweet.
If Rak-Su's anything to go by, we are in for a treat as Simon Cowell's competition kick starts again.