Little Mix win The X Factor

Little Mix have been crowned the 'X Factor' champions after pipping Marcus Collins to the post in a glittering night from Wembley Arena.

The girls have made history by becoming the first group to ever win the competition and were lost for words after Dermot O’Leary eventually announced the result to a nation on the edge of their seats. It’s an outcome that many people had expected, but that takes nothing away from the achievement of a gaggle of girls who hadn’t even met each other just three months ago. Since then they’ve undergone name changes, an image overhaul and put in hours of work. But they can now reflect on a job well done and look forward to that big money record contract and a shot at the coveted Christmas number one spot as they get ready to launch their take on Damian Rice’s 'Cannonball' at the charts.

[Gallery: X Factor final in pics]

Looking back it may not have been a vintage year for the 'X Factor', but the seemingly never-ending Wembley final was certainly a night to remember. Thousands of people had applied for their shot at stardom, but after months of musical jousting only two remained as Marcus and Little Mix took to the stage to battle it out in one final bid to win the nation’s hearts.

The evening started with the acts trying to overcome their nerves with Marcus summing up the tense atmosphere by saying:

“A couple more performances now and one of us is going to be crowned the winner. It's amazing.”

No doubt the traditional group performance alongside their fellow live show participants helped to ease them into the evening, even though the auto-tuned medley skirted on the edges of awfulness.

Then it was onto the competition proper with Marcus choosing to sing his gospel choir backed rendition of 'Higher And Higher' before going on to perform Wham’s 'Last Christmas' as a festive filler later in the show. They were typically polished performances from the Scouser who’ll no doubt go on to become a superstar in his own right.

The judges were unanimous in their praise for Marcus with Tulisa saying:

“Marcus you look like a star standing up there tonight and I predict a very bright future for you.”

Before Louis Walsh added:

“Marcus if I was looking for the perfect popstar and fed everything into a computer, I’d end up with you.”

It was high praise for an act who’s lit up the competition, but Marcus was a little bit off of his game tonight. The same can’t be said for Little Mix however who, to use 'X Factor' parlance, either “Smashed it” or “Put it down” depending on your particular point of view. The group re-visited 'Don’t Let Go' before taking aim at 'Silent Night' and drew glowing praise from a clearly excited panel of judges.

Following their performance, Louis said:

“I'm going to predict that this time next year, this is going to be the biggest girl group in the UK by a mile.”

An emotional Kelly Rowland then added:

“I'm sorry I'm crying but I'm just so happy for y'all because I remember where you started. I love you guys, congratulations.”

Finally Tulisa clambered aboard her soapbox to say:

“Girls…I just want to say again how proud of you I am from the bottom of my heart. You have done so well and who says that a girl group can't win 'The X Factor' - I believe you can do it.”

And she was right. After musical interludes from Westlife and Coldplay, as well as a preview of how both acts would tackle Damien Rice’s 'Cannonball' – a song that suits neither of them particularly well – Little Mix were declared the winners amidst an avalanche of ticker-tape and the warm embraces of their fellow competitors.

First to congratulate them was Marcus. Ever the gentleman he was a gallant loser telling Dermot:

“The girls really deserve it, they’re amazing.”

A watery-eyed Gary Barlow then took a moment to thank the act he’s mentored for the past three months by saying:

“Marcus has been an amazing contestant, I’ve enjoyed every minute I’ve spent with him.”

[Download: Get the performances from the final on iTunes]

Now would be about the time I’d put in some quotes from Little Mix or Tulisa but they were all squealing hysterically as you might expect. A few minutes after the show the girls had calmed down enough though and speaking on 'The Xtra Factor' Leigh-Anne said:

“I’m so proud of us. Tulisa, we wouldn’t be here without you.”

Before Jesy told Tulisa: “You made our dreams come true literally.”

So that’s that for another year. A year in which Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Anne Pinnock made history as Little Mix became the first group to ever win the 'X Factor'. Thanks so much for sharing it with us, but before shoot off to thumb through the schedules in search of another way to spend your Saturday and Sunday nights, why not let us know if you thought the right act won in the comments section below.

We take a fun look back at this year's 'X Factor' highlights in the video below: