Reece Mastin has been named the winner of this year’s smash hit reality talent search The X Factor.
The 16-year-old South Australian school boy, who has just finished Year 11, beat Perth’s tradie turned pop star Johnny Ruffo and 40-year-old father of four Andrew Wishart to win a management contract and a Sony Music Australia recording contract, which will include the release of his winner’s single Good Night.
Ruffo was humble in defeat calling his time on the Channel Seven show the "greatest experience of his life".
The 23-year-old former Balcatta Senior High School student thanked his mentor Guy Sebastian for choosing him to feature in the top 12 out of the tens of thousands of people who auditioned.
“To be doing something that I love is the most amazing feeling and I have Guy Sebastian to thank for that,” Ruffo told The West Australian following the verdict.
“He has pulled me out of something which I really didn’t want to do, which is concreting and he has literally given me a lifeI can’t even imagine. I can’t even describe how much I want to thank him for that.”
"It is now up to Johnny," Sebastian said of Ruffo, who is planning a move to Sydney to try to crack the lucrative music market.
"He has grown more than anyone in this contest. He has proved me wrong," judge Ronan Keating said.
Star judge, former Spice Girl Mel B added: "We love us some Johnny Ruffo. Your journey has been incredible."
Despite being humble in defeat, Ruffo said he had some doubts when he first heard his possible winner’s song, You Don’t Wanna Know.
“In order to deliver a song well, you need to love the song and I had my doubts a little bit about the song and perhaps that did show a bit. But at the end of the day, what is done is done and I am happy about how I did,” he said.
After a whirlwind visit to Perth last week to perform to thousands of fans at Westfield Carousel, Ruffo said he was looking forward to a low-key homecoming this weekend before making a permanent move to Sydney to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
“I am going to head back to Perth this weekend for a short amount of time to catch up with family and friends and I can finally sleep,” he said.
From tomorrow, Mastin begins a massive publicity campaign ahead of his debut album which will be released on December 9.
Supported by his proud mum and dad, Debbie and Darren, and his three sisters, Mastin remained modest immediately following the result, even though he had been the red hot favourite.
“It feels like a dream, but a good dream,” Mastin, was born in England but moved to Australia six years ago, told The West Australian.
“The only fault about being on this show was you didn’t get to sing your own songs, so I am so happy my new song will now be played on the radio.”
The X Factor’s aim was to find a music artist who could crack the international market and Mastin said he couldn’t wait to take on the world.
“I love Australia but I want to go everywhere. American, England – I want to try to be as big as I can be,” he said.
While his is single, Mastin acknowledged he has a huge female fan base (he has over 30,000 twitter followers) who would love to get to know him better.
“I have had a girlfriend before but not at the moment,” he said.
“I have had some rough ones and some of them are trying to crawl back in.”
He said the biggest thing he has learnt about the whole experience is when you are in the public eye, not everyone is going to like you.
“I think you have haters no matter what happens. There is always going to be someone who wants to criticise you. But at the end of the day you have to do what you are going to do,” he said.
“When I did All By Myself, I tried to change myself too much and I got criticism for it, but it made me learn how to take it positively.”
The grand final verdict show wowed viewers with a stunning performance of I Should Be So Lucky from Kylie Minogue, backed by an orchestra and a return from warfare victim Emmanuel Kelly, who sang John Lennon’s Imagine which propelled him to national fame during the auditions and also saw praise from Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono and more than seven million YouTube hits.
An unexpected and more humorous return performance was from another Perth performer, Luke O’Dell, who works at Mirrabooka’s The Reject Shop, who returned with his unexpected viral hit Introvert Extrovert.