Little Mix have become the first band ever to win The The X Factor after they were crowned champions of Sunday night’s final, following a closely fought battle with Marcus Collins.

The four-piece band – consisting of Jade Thirlwall, Jesy Nelson, Perrie Edwards and Leigh-Anne Pinnock – triumphed after a weekend-long final which saw the acts perform four songs each.

And the girls – who were also the first girl band ever to reach the final of the show – now win the much-coveted record contract, and will release their version of the Damien Rice song Cannonball, which they peformed on Sunday’s show, as their debut single.

The results were announced on Sunday night’s final which was once again held at Wembley Arena, following the first part of the final on Saturday night which saw Amelia Lily eliminated from the competition.

There were emotional scenes as Dermot O’Leary announced that the quartet – who had been the bookies’ favourites – had won, with both the band members and their mentor Tulisa bursting into tears.

Jesy said, “This is never going to sink in. We can never thank the public enough for voting for us.”

They were then joined on stage by the other finalists as they reprised Cannonball – but were unable to finish the song as the others crowded round to congratulate them.

Marcus Collins, meanwhile, accepted his defeat graciously, congratulating Little Mix on their win.

“I’m so proud of these girls,” he said. “And myself too! Little Mix worked so hard. They deserved it. I’ve enjoyed the whole experience, I just want to get writing and performing.”

Gary also praised his act, saying, “Be proud of yourself – you made the competition for me.”

Little Mix were one of three groups in the finals who were formed from boot camp rejects. The other two, boybands Nu Vibe and The Risk, were eliminated earlier in the competition.

Saturday night’s final had seen them perform the Candi Staton classic You Got The Love as well as duetting with Tulisa on a mash-up of If I Ain’t Got You and Empire State Of Mind.

Their mentor told them, “I am so incredibly proud of you,” while Kelly Rowland added, “Get used to being on the stage because you are something incredibly special.”

On Sunday night they performed En Vogue’s Don’t Let Go, and the Christmas classic Silent Night, as well as what is now their debut single.