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Rylan's rise from X Factor fame to primetime TV as star announces next move

The star has become a favourite on TV and on the radio

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 04:  Rylan Clark Hosts a Q&A session at the DVD launch of 'Steps Party On The Dancefloor' at the Everyman Cinema on June 4, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)
Rylan has been in the public eye since 2012. (Getty Images)

It’s something few can do, take a couple of minutes of ‘novelty act’ X Factor fame and turn it into a career on primetime TV, but Rylan has certainly managed it.

The star first stepped onto the stage to belt out a dance track on the X Factor in 2012 and since then he has reinvented himself to become one of our favourite TV stars. Whether it’s hosting Strictly spin-off It Takes Two, launching game shows, living it up at Eurovision or entertaining radio listeners, Rylan seems to be everywhere.

He is now adding yet another string to his bow, telling his BBC Radio 2 audience that he is taking a few weeks off to film something “very special”, while Paddy McGuinness fills in.

We have a look back at Rylan’s rise to fame.

X Factor

Rylan on The X Factor. (ITV screengrab)
Rylan on The X Factor. (ITV screengrab)

In 2012, Rylan auditioned for The X Factor in front of judges Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow, Tulisa and guest judge Rita Ora. While his vocals were reasonable, it was his banter than won people over.

The audience was in fits as he told Barlow his pale blue blazer was “love”, joked that the reason for his nerves was “sunstroke” and discussed how his own tan was “fake bake”.

He ended up going through, making it to the live finals before getting the boot.

Celebrity Big Brother

BOREHAMWOOD, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 25: Rylan Clarke is crowned winner of Celebrity Big Brother at Elstree Studios on January 25, 2013 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)
Rylan won Celebrity Big Brother. (Getty Images)

Although his X Factor run didn’t end in a win, Rylan had clearly caught the eye of TV bosses and he won a place in the Celebrity Big Brother house the following year. He proved to be a great housemate to watch, not least because of the clashes with US stars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt.

Rylan made it right to the end and was crowned the winner of the series after a tense final.

TV success

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30:  Rylan Clarke attends the Cosmopolitan Ultimate Woman of the Year awards at Victoria & Albert Museum on October 30, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Tim Whitby/Getty Images)
Rylan has presented on a slew of TV shows. (Getty Images)

Rylan’s Big Brother success seemed to cement his celebrity status and TV jobs started to roll in.

He did some hosting on spin off show The Xtra Factor, got some presenting work on This Morning and then in 2013 he was announced as a new host on Big Brother’s Bit On The Side. He also became a presenter on Celebrity Big Brother.

Other programmes under his belt included Celebrity Ghost Hunt, Spa Wars and Celebrity MasterChef.

Up Late With Rylan

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02: Rylan Clark-Neal arrives at ARIAS 2023 at Theatre Royal Drury Lane on May 02, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)
Rylan got his own show in 2016. (Getty Images)

In 2016, Rylan landed his own late night chat show called Up Late With Rylan. The programme, which featured a mix of gossip, games and guests, debuted on Channel 5 in May that year but only lasted for one series.

However, while the programme hadn’t made much of a splash it didn’t dent Rylan’s career as just a year later he was cast as the host of new game show Babushka. The game saw contestants rummaging through giant Russian dolls in a bid to win prizes, but some viewers said at the time that it was “slow”.

Plus it didn’t help that Babushka aired during The Chase’s annual break, and some fans of Bradley Walsh’s TV juggernaut didn’t think it measured up.

Still other shows followed, like Supermarket Sweep, with Rylan presenting a revived version of the much-loved classic, and he also started working as a stand-in presenter on The One Show.

Radio beckons

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11: Rylan Clark attends the screening of
Rylan is also a radio presenter. (Getty Images for NOW)

Rylan also added radio to his CV and in 2018 he took a slot on BBC Radio 2 on Saturday afternoons following a bit of a reshuffle.

"I'm so excited and honoured to be joining the BBC Radio 2 family,” he said as the news was announced. "I can't wait to get started and look forward to being in the studio from the New Year."

Strictly and Eurovision

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Rylan said Eurovision was a 'dream come true'. (PA Images/Alamy)

By 2019, Rylan had bagged himself two of the glitziest gigs in town – Strictly Come Dancing spin-off It Takes Two and the Eurovision Song Contest.

The TV star joined Zoe Ball on the sofa for the spin-off of the BBC ballroom contest and stayed on the show until 2023, when he left, telling fans: “After four fantastic years it's time for me to hang up my glittery jacket.”

He joined the Eurovision family in 2018 and, as a long-time fan of the contest, said it was a “dream come true”.

"Very excited to say I’m joining the @bbceurovision family alongside @grahnort and @scott_mills and will be a Semi Finals commentator in Lisbon,” he said on Twitter, now X, at the time. “Dream come true mate.”

Rylan later suggested that his Eurovision role helped him after he split from husband Dan Neal in 2021.

“Last year I needed to get away from the UK and the Eurovision bubble was perfect for that,” he told the Daily Star last year.

“'It was what I needed on a personal level. Being there was a full circle moment for me. It was like, 'I'm back, I'm ready to go'. That's why Eurovision is so important to me. If you cut me open, it's there."

What has Rylan got coming up?

Rylan - Hot Mess Summer. (Prime Video)
Rylan in Hot Mess Summer. (Prime Video)

As 2024 gets under way, Rylan already has a couple of big projects in the pipeline.

One is Hot Mess Summer, which will see the star guiding a bunch of party-lovers through to learning how to stand on their own two feet. The show takes places on a stunning island and the contestants think they are there for a summer of fun – not realising there is a twist. They soon discover that their friends have nominated them to go to the island to pit in some hard graft running a bar.

Rylan is also going to host a new dating show - where singles looking for love strip off.

The star has said that viewers will “not want to miss this”, teasing: “Not only does it feature dating and drama, on top of that everyone will be totally starkers!”

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