When we first met Ben Haenow, he was just a van driver from Croydon England. All of that changed on June 26, 2014 when he blew the judges away with his rendition of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.” He may have been criticized for his dance moves, but his gritty and authentic voice earned him a unanimous yes and spot in the arena auditions.
Performing in front of 5,000 people could make anyone nervous, but not Ben. As Cheryl put it, he had the entire audience in the palm of his hand, which was pretty obvious given he got a standing ovation. He once again got four yes’s from the judges, with Simon saying putting him through to Boot Camp was the easiest yes he gave the entire competition.
Although he said it was the he’s ever done his life, Ben delivered another powerhouse performance at the Judges Houses. Simon called it from the beginning that Ben would be one to watch throughout the competition and he was proven right after this cover of “With A Little Help From My Friends”. Ben could sing soul, rock, and brought his all every week. Thus, he rightfully earned a coveted spot in the live shows, with the legendary Simon Cowell as his mentor.
Week after week, Ben consistently brought the rock to The X Factor UK with songs by Simon and Garfunkel, John Lennon, Aerosmith, and AC/DC. He powered through the competition despite having a throat infection and received a standing ovation after every single performance. Simon Cowell even admitted that having Ben on his team was an answer to his prayers.
Over the next few weeks, Ben Haenow took on quite a few risks. He traded in his rock ‘n’ roll mentality for an acapella cover of the King of Pop’s “Man in the Mirror,” a big-band rendition of the jazz standard “Cry Me a River,” and the unbelievably iconic pop ballad, “I Will Always Love You.” However, the risk paid off. He still got rave reviews, with Louis calling him a “true musician with true star quality.” We have to agree with Simon’s statement that watching him perform was like watching a “star being born.”
Thanks to One Direction’s song choice, Ben Haenow got to go back to his rock roots in week eight. His cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together” showcased why he deserved to go the finals. He continued to show growth as a musician and stayed genuine as a person, which earned him major respect amongst the judges and fellow contestants. Even though his performance of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” and the classic “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen received mixed reviews in week 9, he still held the highest number of public votes and made it to the finals.
After a grueling 10 weeks, The X Factor UK was coming to a close. We had to say goodbye to Andrea Faustini, leaving Ben Haenow and Fleur East as our final two. Both finalists performed the Winner’s single, “Something I Need,” then it was time for the big moment. We were all on the edge of our seats as Dermot announced that Ben was the big winner. Confetti fell, tears of joy were shed, and Ben Haenow’s hard work finally paid off.
Who will follow Ben’s footsteps and win 2015’s X Factor UK? Watch the brand new season of the #UKintheUSA exclusively on AXS TV starting Sunday, August 30th!
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