With a similar appeal as previous contestants Leon Jackson and Ray Quinn, schoolboy Eoghan Quigg very nearly became The X Factor's most surprising winner. Born in 1992 in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, Quigg began singing at an early age, performing in the school choir and in various local productions. In 2008 he auditioned for the fifth series of The X Factor, and after impressing the judges with his rendition of Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven," made it all the way to the live stages. His performances of songs by the likes of George Michael, Michael Jackson, and John Lennon made him an early front-runner to win, and thanks to a rumored affair with another contestant, he became one of the show's most talked-about stars. But in a close final, he eventually finished third behind Alexandra Burke and JLS. However, it was revealed after the series ended that Quigg had achieved the most public votes in six of the ten shows. Unlike previous years, Simon Cowell decided not to sign the show's losing finalists in an attempt to concentrate all his efforts on the winner. However, after performing a homecoming gig in front of 20,000 people, Quigg signed a deal with RCA Records and began work on his self-titled debut album. Featuring songs he performed on the show plus one original track written by Busted's James Bourne, it reached number 14 in the U.K. and number one in Ireland. Quigg was also personally invited to support Boyzone on their U.K. summer shows and also appeared on the annual X Factor Live arena tour. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi