JLS were an English four-piece RnB/pop group who participated in Series 5 of The X Factor as part of the Groups category mentored by Louis Walsh. They finished as runners-up to winner Alexandra Burke but are one of the most-successful acts to come from the show.
The X Factor
After changing their name from UFO due to its use by a 1960s English band, they auditioned in front of the judges, who were very impressed with their vocal harmonies. They gained four yeses and successfully made it through bootcamp where they were put in the groups category mentored by Louis Walsh. From here they made it to Judges' Houses and were picked as one of the Top 3 groups for the live shows.
With the eliminations of girl groups Bad Lashes and Girlband in Weeks 1 and 2 respectively they were the last remaining act in their category. They ended up in the Bottom 2 with Rachel Hylton. However, they survived when she was eliminated via majority vote. Cowell stated when casting his deciding vote that the group did not deserve to be in that position. The following week, they received negative comments from two of the four judges after their performance of Britney Spears' "Baby... One More Time", with Cowell saying "at the moment you're out", but after their second performance, "You Light Up My Life", he commented that they were "back in the race" and that they could "have a hit record" with the performance.
In Week 9, after their performances of "Umbrella" and "I'm Already There", Cowell predicted that they could win the series. They made it to the final along with Alexandra Burke and Eoghan Quigg and made it through to the Top 2 after the latter was eliminated. Both they and Alexandra Burke performed what would be their winners' song, a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and they finished the show as the runners-up.
Post The X Factor
In spite of finishing as runners-up, they were signed to Epic Records in January 2009 and six months later they released their debut single "Beat Again". The song was an instant hit, giving them their first UK #1 single. In November, their released their eponymous debut album which also peaked at the top of the UK charts.
Due to the success of their album, the group went on their first headline tour, with twenty-five dates around the UK and Ireland. The group also became the first X Factor contestants to win a BRIT Award in 2010, winning the British Breakthrough and Best British Single for "Beat Again". Jay-Z predicted that they would become as big as 'N Sync.
Their follow-up studio albums also performed well on the UK charts, peaking inside the Top 3 but the latter failed to go platinum in their homeland.
On 24 April 2013, the band released a statement on their official website announcing that they would be splitting up after releasing their greatest hits collection and completing their third and final arena tour. This was preceded by a new single to coincide with their farewell arena tour across the UK. It was confirmed on 26 September that their final single would be called "Billion Lights", which was released on 17 November 2013 and charted at number 1 on the UK Singles Chart.
They officially split up following the final gig of their Goodbye Tour at The O2 Arena in London on 22 December 2013. They have sold over 6 million records in the UK alone and more than 10 million records worldwide.
In 2017, Aston Merrygold signed up to compete in the fourteenth series of Strictly Come Dancing alongside his former X Factor competitor and winner Alexandra Burke.
|Series 5 Finalists|
|Alexandra Burke • Austin Drage • Bad Lashes • Daniel Evans • Diana Vickers • Eoghan Quigg • Girlband • JLS • Laura White • Rachel Hylton • Ruth Lorenzo • Scott Bruton|