The X Factor ends with spectacular finale

The 2011 series of The The X Factor came to an end on Sunday night with a spectacular grand finale, which saw Little Mix and Marcus Collins perform to a crowd of thousands at Wembley Arena.

In a show which eventually saw Little Mix crowned series champions, both acts reprised their favourite song from earlier in the series as well as singing a Christmas song.

They also both performed their version of Cannonball, the Damien Rice song which has now become the winning act’s debut single.

The show started with Little Mix and Marcus joined on stage by the other former finalists, including Craig Colton, Misha B, Kitty Brucknell, Johnny Robinson and the groups Nu Vibe, 2 Shoes and The Risk.

It was then left to Marcus to perform his favourite song from the series, opting for his rendition of the Jackie Wilson classic Higher and Higher.

Afterwards Louis told him, “You are a born little pop star,” while Tulisa added, “You look like a star up there tonight and I predict a very bright future for you.”

The hairdresser also won raves for his rendition of Wham’s Last Christmas. “What a great early Christmas gift,” Kelly Rowland remarked, while his mentor Gary Barlow said, “I can’t tell you what a pleasure it’s been to work with you, you made the series for me.”

And they also approved of his performance of Cannonball, with Kelly calling his rendition “beautiful” and Gary adding, “I would never have picked that song for you but you sang it wonderfully.”

Little Mix, meanwhile, wowed both judges and audience with their reprisal of the En Vogue hit Don’t Let Go, which they sang earlier in the series.

“This time next year you will be the biggest girlband in the UK by a mile,” Louis told them, while Kelly, who was reduced to tears by the performance, added, “To watch you today and your great friendship…you performed your butts off.”

The panel were similarly enthusiastic about their version of Silent Night – which saw all of the girls perform solo.

“You have done so well and who’s to say a group can’t win?” Tulisa said. “I believe you can do it.” Louis Walsh simply added, “Little Mix. Big future.”

The band’s final performance of the night saw them perform Cannonball – again with each band member taking on a solo section.

“You are going to go on to big things,” Gary said after their performance, “and will need all the support you can get from each other.” Kelly added, “Look at how dynamic you are together collectively…congratulations.”

Sunday’s show also featured performances from Coldplay, who sang their next single Charlie Brown as well as recent hit Paradise, and Westlife, who performed their hit What About Now to a backdrop of highlights from the series – featuring clips from auditions, boot camp, judges houses and ultimately the finals.