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. It was won by Alexandra Burke, with new judge Cheryl Cole emerging as the winning mentor. Auditions in front of producers were held in April/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 Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Girls Aloud, Take That, Il Divo, and series 3 winner Leona Lewis performed during the live stages of the show.
Burke's prize, as winner, was a £1 million recording contract with Syco Music. Her debut single, "Hallelujah", written by Leonard Cohen, was released for digital download at 00:01 on 14 December 2008, with the physical format following on 17 December. It was later announced that her single had become the fastest selling song of all time.
The 10 remaining acts return to perform live for the third time. This week each act has to perform a Big Band song. The judges give their verdicts on what they have heard. At the end of the show the phone lines are opened for this week's public vote.
The finalists performed a cover version of the Mariah Carey song "Hero" on behalf of the Help for Heroes charity. This song will be released as a download on Sunday 26 as a download and Monday 27 physically.
Down to nine acts and the contestants must sing again for a place in next week's show. This week they must sing classic disco songs for the judges and the viewers at home. The viewers will then vote for their favourite and the two acts with the lowest number of votes will be forced to sing again for the judges who will then decide to save one act.
Celebrity Guest: Will Young
Song performed by celebrity guest: Changes
Dermot O'Leary hosts the fifth live show of the series. This week, the eight remaining acts meet Mariah Carey and must perform her songs for the judges and the viewers. The viewers will then vote for their favourite and the two acts with the lowest number of votes will sing again for the judges who will choose to save one act and send the other home.
Theme: Mariah Carey
Celebrity Guest: Mariah Carey
Song performed by celebrity guest: TBA
Theme: Best of British
Celebrity Guest: Leona Lewis
Song performed by celebrity guest: "Run"
Five acts remain in the competition and the acts must now perform 2 songs each. This week the theme is American Classics as the contestants perform for the viewers' votes. The two acts with the lowest number of votes must then sing again for the judges Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue.
Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus appears in this episode.
Theme: Songs by Britney Spears and American Classics
Song performed by celebrity guests: "Womanizer" (Britney Spears), "7 Things" (Miley Cyrus)
With only four acts remaining in the competition, we reach the 9th live show of the series. The contestants must each perform 2 songs for the viewers' votes. The 2 acts with the lowest number of votes will have to sing again judges Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue who, for the last time, will choose an act to send home.
There are only three acts remaining in this week's grand final. After auditions, boot camp, the mentors' houses and nine live shows, the three acts remaining in the competition sing for one last time for the audience vote. The act with the highest number of votes will be crowned The X Factor champion of 2008 winning a £1m recording contract with Simon Cowell. Dannii Minogue is the only judge with no acts left in the competition.