The X Factor: Leon wins!

Leon Jackson has won the 2007 series of The X Factor and the coveted recording contract worth £1m.

The 18-year-old Scottish singer beat fellow finalist Rhydian Roberts to the top prize, after both performed the song When You Believe – which will now become Leon’s first single.

The teenager, who was overcome with emotion after the result was announced, said winning “meant the world”.

“I so wanted to pursue this because I love singing,” he said tearfully, “and I knew as it went along I could potentially change my mum’s life, and I’ve just done it.”

And he said he never thought when he auditioned he would end up winning. “I thought I would try my hand at this to get some experience, and then I found myself in the final and I end up winning.”

Runner-up Rhydian – who had been favourite to win the series – said he felt “fine” about finishing second. “Some things are meant to be in life, and I can’t complain,” he said, “I’ve had a lovely time.”

Earlier in the evening duo Same Difference finished third in the show.

The final saw Leon performing White Christmas, as well as duetting with Kylie Minogue on a jazzy interpretation of Better The Devil You Know. He also reprised You Don’t Know Me, which he had performed earlier in the series.

He received warm praise from the judges. “You came into this contest a shy little boy,” Sharon told him, “now you are a confident gorgeous you man.” Louis, meanwhile, said he was “fantastic. And you must have a career,” he concluded.

Rhydian impressed the judges also with renditions of the Christmas song O Holy Night, as well as duetting with opera star Katherine Jenkins on You Raise Me Up. He rounded off the final with another rendition of the West Side Story song Somewhere, which again he had sung on a previous show.

Leon’s debut single, When You Believe, will be released on Wednesday and is hotly tipped to be the Christmas number one.