The ninth UK series of The X Factor began on ITV on 18 August 2012 and ended on 9 December 2012. The live shows starting on 6 October 2012. The twelve chosen finalists were James Arthur, Rylan Clark, Jahméne Douglas, Jade Ellis, Ella Henderson, Lucy Spraggan, Melanie Masson, Carolynne Poole, Kye Sones, District3, MK1 and Union J. Before the start of the live shows, one previously eliminated act from each category was chosen as a wildcard, with Christopher Maloney, from the over 28s, being voted in by the public as the thirteenth finalist.
Nicole Scherzinger mentored the boys (Arthur, Clark and Douglas), Tulisa Contostavlos mentored the girls (Ellis, Henderson and Spraggan), Gary Barlow mentored the over 28s (Masson, Poole, Sones and Maloney) and Louis Walsh mentored the groups (District3, MK1 and Union J). Arthur won the show on 9 December, with Douglas as the runner-up and Maloney in third place.
Within four-and-a-half months of the final, Arthur, Douglas, Henderson, Maloney, Union J and Spraggan had all been signed to record labels.