Steve Brookstein

Last updated

Steve Brookstein
Birth nameStephen Desmond Brookstein
Born (1968-11-10) 10 November 1968 (age 52)
Mitcham, England
Years active1997–present

Stephen Desmond "Steve" Brookstein [1] (born 10 November 1968) is an English singer, who is best known for winning the first series of The X Factor in 2004. He is originally from Mitcham, South London. [2]


Early and personal life

Brookstein was born in Dulwich, London, England, the son of Malle, a council worker, and Errol Brookstein, a lorry driver. [3] [4] His father is South African and his mother is of Estonian descent. His great-grandfather was an Orthodox Jew. [5] He is a supporter of Crystal Palace F.C. [6] In 1997, seven years before his breakthrough on The X Factor, Brookstein was a finalist on the ITV series The Big Big Talent Show, hosted by Jonathan Ross. [7]


2004–2005: The X Factor and Heart and Soul

In early 2004, Brookstein auditioned for the first series of The X Factor , a talent series that aimed to discover new recording artists in the UK. His audition failed to impress two of the judges, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh, who thought he lacked the motivation and confidence to succeed but the third, Simon Cowell, asked Brookstein to return the following day and sing again. At the second audition, Brookstein managed to impress the other judges and was put through to the next stage of the competition. He went on to reach the live shows, where contestants are put to the public vote, as one of three contestants in the Over 25s category mentored by Cowell. He reached the grand final on 11 December 2004 alongside G4 and won, despite him mixing up words and lines in his winner's song and a controversial outburst against him from Osbourne. [2] However, according to Osbourne's subsequent autobiography, he had gained the most votes in every single one of the live shows. For five years, he held the record for the greatest number of votes ever received in the final - 6 million, but this is now held by series 6 winner Joe McElderry, who received over 6.1 million votes. [8]

After winning The X Factor, Brookstein was immediately signed to the Sony BMG record label through which he released his first single, a cover of Phil Collins' 1984 power ballad "Against All Odds", on 20 December 2004. The song debuted on the UK Singles Chart at number two and then climbed to number one on 2 January 2005, [9] going one better than Collins' original and staying there for one week. In Ireland, the song peaked at number 11. The music video for the song was a montage of clips from his time on The X Factor, from his initial audition to his final performance after being declared the winner.

Brookstein released his debut album Heart and Soul on 9 May 2005 through Sony BMG. Although Brookstein continued to perform tracks from the album on television shows such as CD:UK , a second single failed to materialise. In August 2005 it was announced that Sony BMG had dropped him from their line-up only eight months after his X Factor victory and despite the success of his debut single and album. Brookstein maintains that the decision to drop him reportedly came after he was offered a second album and to come back on the show, which he declined as it was to be another album of covers and he preferred a mix of old and new. [10] In August 2005, eight months after being dropped from his record label, [11] Brookstein publicly attacked The X Factor, claiming the show was "one big theatre... turning music into the WWE" and that it was "killing music". [12] Brookstein has been vocal in his public feud with Simon Cowell and The X Factor, claiming "there is absolutely no way he would want me within 100 miles of him" [13] and admitting spending years feeling bitter about the way he was treated on the show. [14]

Although Brookstein enjoyed fleeting success with both his debut album and single both reaching number one - "Heart and Soul" and "Against All Odds" respectively - he was dropped by Cowell's management after the latter was accused of refusing Brookstein creative freedom. [15]

2008–2010: Musicals and controversies

In June 2007, Brookstein appeared on the P&O Portsmouth to Bilbao car ferry, alongside The X Factor series 2 alumni Chico Slimani and Journey South.[ citation needed ] In 2008, he played 'the father' in a touring production of the award-winning musical Our House . [16]

In December 2009, when a Facebook campaign was launched to stop The X Factor's winner from achieving the coveted Christmas number 1 spot, Brookstein backed the campaign to see Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name" reach the top of the chart, [17] blasting Cowell in an online rant. [18] He further attacked Cowell, claiming the latter "ruined Christmas" and that he was dropped from his record label because he "wouldn't play the game". [19] Brookstein also claimed the show was staged and the winner was fixed, and was subsequently removed from the official The X Factor website following those comments. [20] Despite Brookstein's bitterness towards The X Factor, he signed up to critique the show weekly on London 24 in 2010, [21] where he labelled the judges "ridiculous" and questioned the standards of several of the finalists, [22] including One Direction band member, Louis Tomlinson, and the vocal coach. [23]

2011–present: Musical hiatus and Forgotten Man

In 2013, Brookstein announced that his new album would be called Forgotten Man and would be released on 23 March 2014. [24]

He released a book on 21 November 2014, [25] Getting over the X, [26] that describes his journey from winning The X Factor to having the press and industry turn their backs on him. [27]



TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positionsSales and certifications
Heart and Soul 11
40,000 Things165
  • UK: 3,632
Forgotten Man
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released.


YearTitlePeak chart positionsAlbumCertification
2004"Against All Odds"111Heart and Soul
2006"Fighting Butterflies"19340,000 Things-
2010"Don't Give Up" [30] Non-album single-
"—" denotes single that did not chart or was not released.

Concert tours

Twitter controversies

Brookstein has been at the centre of several controversies for his opinions on the Twitter social network. In July 2013, he defended child murderer Jon Venables against media scrutiny. [31]

On 15 September 2019 he tweeted, “The hypocrisy of gay men discussing HIV is astonishing. They don't like HIV being compared to obesity or smoking. Yes it is unfortunate and treatable but so is obesity and smoking. #GarethThomas”. He was criticised for his lack of empathy towards the former Welsh rugby captain who had been forced to out himself as HIV Undetectable by a tabloid newspaper. His tweet was also deemed homophobic. [32]

Related Research Articles

Simon Cowell English reality television judge, television producer and music executive

Simon Phillip Cowell is an English television personality, entrepreneur, entertainment manager, and record executive. He has judged on the British television talent competition series Pop Idol (2001–2003), The X Factor UK and Britain's Got Talent (2007–present), and the American television talent competition series American Idol (2002–2010), The X Factor US (2011–2013), and America's Got Talent (2016–present). Cowell is the principal, founder and chief executive of the British entertainment company Syco.

G4 (group)

G4 are a four-piece British vocal troupe who first came to prominence when they finished second in Series 1 of The X Factor in 2004, and are known for their operatic delivery of modern pop songs. Originally a barbershop quartet, the members met at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, from which the name G4, standing for "Guildhall 4", derives.

The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent; the winner of which receives a £1 million recording contract with the Syco Music record label. The first series was broadcast from 4 September to 11 December 2004. The competition was split into several stages: auditions, bootcamp, judges' homes and live shows, with Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell as judges. Kate Thornton presented the show on ITV, whilst Ben Shephard presented the spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2.

The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The second series ran from 20 August to 17 December 2005. Shayne Ward became the winner and Louis Walsh emerged was the winning mentor. The second series was longer than the first, with seven acts in each of the three categories going to the judges' homes, and 12 acts in the finals instead of 9. Kate Thornton returned as presenter of the main show on ITV and Ben Shepherd presented the spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2, while Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Walsh returned as judges. 75,000 people auditioned for the series.

Shayne Ward

Shayne Thomas Ward is an English singer and actor. He is best known for his role as Aidan Connor in Coronation Street from 2015 to 2018. He rose to fame as the winner of the second series of The X Factor. His debut single, "That's My Goal", was released in the United Kingdom on 21 December 2005 and reached number one on the UK Singles Chart and was that year's Christmas number one. It sold 313,000 copies on its first day of sales, making it the third-fastest-selling single of all time in the UK, behind Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997" and Will Young's "Evergreen", which sold 685,000 and 400,000 copies in their first days of sale, respectively.

The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The third series was broadcast on ITV from 19 August 2006 until 16 December 2006. Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell all returned for their third series on the judging panel. Kate Thornton returned to present the main show on ITV, while Ben Shephard returned to present spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2. After the semi-final on 9 December, Cowell became the winning judge even though the series had not yet finished, as two of his acts, Ray Quinn and Leona Lewis, became the two finalists. Lewis won the series on 16 December, with Quinn finishing as runner-up.

The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The fourth series was broadcast on ITV from 18 August 2007 and was won by Leon Jackson on 15 December 2007, with Rhydian Roberts finishing as the runner-up and Dannii Minogue emerging as the winning mentor. Dermot O'Leary presented for the first time, replacing Kate Thornton, who had been presenting the show since series 1 in 2004. Fearne Cotton replaced Ben Shephard as presenter on the spin-off show The Xtra Factor. The original judging panel consisted of Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Brian Friedman and Minogue. Friedman left the panel halfway through the first audition episode and was replaced by former judge Louis Walsh.

Leon Jackson

Leon Jackson is a Scottish singer. He won the fourth series of British talent show The X Factor in 2007. Following his win, Jackson was the main star of his on-web series entitled Leon's Life, which ran from 2007 until 2008. Jackson's début album, Right Now (2008) finished the year as the 75th best-selling album in the UK, and included the singles, "Don't Call This Love", "Creative" and "Stargazing".

<i>The X Factor</i> (British TV series) British reality television music competition

The X Factor is a British reality television music competition to find new singing talent. Created by Simon Cowell, the show began broadcasting on 4 September 2004 with 445 episodes broadcast over fifteen series as of 2 December 2018. The show is produced by Fremantle's Thames and Cowell's production company Syco Entertainment. It is broadcast on ITV in the UK and simulcast on Virgin Media One in Ireland. "X Factor" refers to the undefinable "something" that makes for star quality. The first three series were presented by Kate Thornton. Since series four, with the exception of series twelve, the show has been presented by Dermot O'Leary. The X Factor previously had a spin-off behind-the-scenes show called The Xtra Factor. This aired until 2016. It was replaced by an online spin-off show Xtra Bites exclusively on the ITV Hub. The main show was rested in 2019, with Cowell and ITV opting to broadcast The X Factor: Celebrity and The X Factor: The Band as mini-series instead. On 7 February 2020, it was announced that the show would be placed on hiatus during 2020. On 27 August 2020, it was suggested by ITV bosses that the show's hiatus may be indefinite; pending Cowell's decision on when to recommence the competition.

Syco Music is a division of Syco Entertainment founded by British entrepreneur and record executive Simon Cowell. Originally founded as S Records, the label launched while Cowell was still employed by BMG, the label oversaw music releases by Robson & Jerome, Five, Westlife and Teletubbies. A year later, BMG, now named Sony BMG, bought Cowell's share in both Syco Music and Syco Television. Later in 2010, Cowell and Sony Music entered a joint venture agreement that would see Cowell and Sony each own 50% of the new Syco Entertainment company which encompassed both the previous Syco TV and Syco Music divisions. In July 2020, Sony sold the rights to the television formats and assets back to Cowell, effectively divesting all of Syco's non-music divisions. As part of the venture, Syco Music, its current roster and back catalogue remain with Sony Music as a wholly owned subsidiary. However, as of September 2020, and according to industry magazine Music Week, the label is now defunct, with staff either leaving or being redeployed elsewhere within the Sony Music group.

The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The fifth series was broadcast on ITV from 16 August 2008 until 13 December 2008. Dermot O'Leary returned to present the main show on ITV, while Fearne Cotton was replaced by Holly Willoughby as presenter of spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2. Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, and Dannii Minogue returned to the judging panel. Sharon Osbourne left after four series and was replaced by Cheryl Cole. The series was won by Alexandra Burke, with Cole emerging as the winning mentor. Auditions in front of producers were held in April and May, with callbacks in front of the judges in June. The number of applicants for series 5 reached an all-time high with a reported 182,000 people auditioning. A number of well-established music acts from around the world, such as Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Girls Aloud, Take That, Il Divo, and series 3 winner Leona Lewis, performed during the live stages of the show.

The X Factor in the UK has been subject to much controversy and criticism since its launch in 2004. This has included allegations of conflict of interest, voting irregularities and overcharging, product placement for sponsors, staging scenes, use of pitch correction technology, and exploiting vulnerable contestants. The series has also been criticised for developing singers as marketable products rather than creative individuals. As of April 2020, there have been a total of fifteen completed series of the show broadcast on the ITV network, as well as spin-offs The X Factor: Celebrity (2019) and The X Factor: The Band (2019).

<i>The X Factor</i> (American TV series) Former American television series

The X Factor is an American reality television music competition show created by Simon Cowell and produced by FremantleMedia North America and SYCOtv, a partnership between Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment, which aired on Fox. Based on the original UK show, and an addition to The X Factor franchise, the series found new singing talent, drawn from public auditions, and they competed against each other for votes. The winner is determined by the show's viewers via telephone, the Internet, and SMS text voting, and is awarded a recording contract with Cowell's record label Syco Music, worth $5 million in seasons one and two, and $1 million in season three. America voted for the following winners: Melanie Amaro, Tate Stevens, and Alex & Sierra, respectively.

The first season of the American version of the music competition show The X Factor began airing on Fox on September 21, 2011.

The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The tenth series began airing on ITV on 31 August, and finished on 15 December 2013. Dermot O'Leary returned to present the main show on ITV and Caroline Flack was back to present spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2, along with comedian Matt Richardson, who replaced Olly Murs. Flack also presented backstage segments during the live shows. Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow and Nicole Scherzinger returned as judges for their respective tenth, third and second series, with Sharon Osbourne returning to replace Tulisa after five series away. This was Barlow's final series as a judge. Osbourne and Scherzinger also departed the series, but reprised their roles as judges with Walsh again in series 13 and series 14.

The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The eleventh series began airing on ITV on 30 August 2014 and finished on 14 December 2014. Dermot O'Leary presented his eighth series of the main show on ITV and Sarah-Jane Crawford presented spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2, replacing Caroline Flack and Matt Richardson. Louis Walsh was the only judge from series 10 to return and was joined by former judges Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Simon Cowell, and new judge Mel B, who replaced Sharon Osbourne, Gary Barlow and Nicole Scherzinger. Former judge Tulisa returned as a guest judge for the final on 13 December due to Mel B being ill. The series also saw the lower age limit decreased from 16 to 14, as it was in series 4 and 5. This was Walsh's final series as a judge before returning in series 13. It was also the only series in which Mel B was a main judge. It was O'Leary's final series as presenter on the main show, as he announced on 27 March 2015 that he was leaving to pursue other projects, before returning in series 13. On 11 May, Crawford also confirmed via Twitter that she would leave her position as The Xtra Factor presenter.

The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The thirteenth series began airing on ITV on Saturday 27 August 2016 and ended on Sunday 11 December 2016. Dermot O'Leary returned to present the main show on ITV for the ninth time to replace Olly Murs and Caroline Flack, who left after series 12. Simon Cowell was the only judge from the 12th series to return; Nicole Scherzinger, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh all returned, replacing Rita Ora, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Nick Grimshaw. Matt Edmondson and Rylan Clark-Neal replaced Rochelle Humes and Melvin Odoom as hosts of The Xtra Factor, which was rebranded as The Xtra Factor Live and was broadcast live twice every week, with Roman Kemp making appearances as a digital presenter and social media reporter. Matt Terry was announced the winner on 11 December 2016, making Scherzinger the winning mentor for the second time. Saara Aalto came second.

Anna Georgette Gilford, professionally known as Honey G, is an English rapper. She was a contestant on the thirteenth series of The X Factor in 2016.

The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The fourteenth series began airing on ITV on 2 September 2017, presented by Dermot O'Leary. For the first time in seven years, the judging panel remained the same as the previous series, with Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh returning. This is the first series not to include companion show The Xtra Factor, after it was cancelled in January 2017. Its replacement is a programme called Xtra Bites presented by Becca Dudley on the ITV Hub. This is also the first series to be sponsored by Just Eat, with the show having being sponsored by TalkTalk since 2009, as well as the second time the show has premiered in September, rather than August, since the first series in 2004. Rak-Su won the competition on 3 December 2017 and they became the second group to win the competition and Simon Cowell became the winning mentor for the fourth time.

Rak-Su are an English R&B group, formed in Watford. In 2017, they won the fourteenth series of The X Factor, becoming the first male group to do so. The group is made up of Ashley Fongho, Jamaal Shurland, Myles Stephenson and Mustafa Rahimtulla. "Dimelo", which features Naughty Boy and Wyclef Jean, was released as their winner's single, and marked the first time a winner's single was written by the winner. It entered the UK Singles Chart at number two, behind Ed Sheeran's "Perfect". Their self-titled debut extended play, Rak-Su, was released on 16 February 2018.


  1. Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1916–2005.; at
  2. 1 2 Steve voted The X Factor winner BBC News
  3. "Smarter News, Analysis & Research Communities". Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  4. "I'll be singing for my mum; X Factor winner Steve Brookstein jumped at the chance to perform in the show after his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer six months ago. - Free Online Library". Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  5. @stevebrookstein (15 September 2016). "My great grandfather was an Orthodox Jew. I lost family to the Nazis" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  6. "Steve Brookstein biography". Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  7. Bushell on the box: ITV'S RECYCLED TALENT
  8. "The X Factor Hall of Fame | tombola". Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  9. "X Factor star ends Band Aid reign". BBC News. 2 January 2005. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  10. Steve Brookstein: 'I turned down Simon Cowell's sloppy seconds' - The X Factor News - Reality TV - Digital Spy
  11. Brookstein: X Factor is killing music | Showbiz. Retrieved on 2010-11-11.
  12. TV - News - 'X Factor' winner slates "music-killing" show. Digital Spy (17 August 2005). Retrieved on 2010-11-11.
  13. Remember Steve Brookstein? | Television & radio. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2010-11-11.
  14. Hill, Susan. (15 August 2010) After standing up to Simon Cowell, Steve Brookstein is back on track. Daily Star. Retrieved on 2010-11-11.
  15. "the Razz: THE XTRAS FACTOR; Exclusive Steve: Simon turned me into a sad TV wannabe".
  16. Steve Brookstein turns down Christmas Madness cover. Retrieved on 2010-11-11.
  17. Kerrang! Former X Factor winner backs Rage campaign!. Retrieved on 2010-11-11. Archived 13 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  18. Former X Factor Winner Steve Brookstein: 'Simon Cowell Ruined Christmas'. Gigwise (17 December 2009). Retrieved on 2010-11-11.
  19. Steve Brookstein: 'Cowell ruined Xmas'. Digital Spy (17 December 2009). Retrieved on 2010-11-11.
  20. TV - News - Steve Brookstein: 'X Factor is staged'. Digital Spy (17 August 2010). Retrieved on 2010-11-11.
  21. Steve Brookstein - Albums by former X Factor contestants Archived 30 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine . (27 October 2010). Retrieved on 2010-11-11.
  22. Steve: 'X Factor judges are ridiculous'. Digital Spy (28 October 2010). Retrieved on 2010-11-11.
  23. Steve Brookstein questions X Factor's vocal coach. Retrieved on 11 November 2010. Archived 6 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  24. {}
  25. Getting Over the X: Steve Brookstein: 9781784621544: Books
  26. The book is finished. — steve brookstein Archived 9 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  27. "Steve Brookstein insults women who've had abortions, trans people + many more". Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  28. "Official Charts Analysis: Justin Bieber takes singles summit but misses out on albums". Musicweek. 21 November 2015. Archived from the original on 9 January 2016.
  29. Archived 11 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  30. "Brookstein releases charity Xmas record". Digital Spy. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  31. "Outrage after former X Factor winner calls for Jon Venables to be 'left alone' on Twitter". Sunday Express. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  32. "X Factor's Steve Brookstein accuses Gareth Thomas of 'hypocrisy' and suggests HIV patients are 'burdening the NHS'". Metro. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
Preceded by
Winner of The X Factor
Succeeded by
Shayne Ward