X Factor winner Sam Bailey revealed she is backing Ben Haenow or Stereo Kicks to take the title in this year’s show on the night she wowed thousands in Leeds as the city’s Christmas lights were switched on.
And she admitted to being hugely excited at performing at a Christmas lights switch-on for the first time.
Her first live appearance since giving birth to her third child, daughter Miley, saw the estimated 15,000-strong audience in Victoria Gardens sing along with her hit debut single Skyscraper, O Holy Night and ‘Aint No Mountain High Enough.
Speaking before she went on stage, Sam confirmed she is taking a close interest in this year’s X-Factor contest.
“I’ve been watching it and I want to climb into the TV,” she told the YEP.
“I’m actually going on Saturday to go and watch it in the audience because I’ve got itchy feet and I want to say hello.
“My favourite was Paul because technically for me he is the best singer on the show. Vocally he could sing the phone book and I don’t believe he’s gone but I don’t think he got to show his full self.
“Now I’m rooting for Ben Haenow and Stereokicks.”
Sam admitted much of the year since winning the show has been a “whirlwind”.
“It’s nice that people still know who I am a year later, I’m grateful that I’m still about and being asked to do stuff like this because you hear of people who go on X-Factor and end up back working at Tesco because they just can’t get work.”
Her performance capped off an evening that included performances from a reunited G4 - who revealed they will go on tour next year starting at the City Varieties - as well as Leeds youngsters like George Hodgson, the winner of this year’s Breeze Has Talent contest.
There were also huge cheers as Leeds United head coach Neil Redfearn told crowd he felt the team has turned a corner after a difficult start to the season while stars from the Leeds Rhinos paraded the Challenge Cup.