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14 Stars Who Made The Most Out Of Finishing In Second Place

Olly Murs isn't the only one who had great success after failing to nab first place.

09/01/2017 15:32 | Updated 09 January 2017

We’re constantly told from childhood that “winning isn’t everything” and it’s the “taking part that counts”, so it’s always reassuring when you see an example of it in the real world.

Surprisingly, in the often cut-throat world of reality telly, quite often it’s those who fall at the final hurdle who are able to dust themselves off and make the most of the situation they’re in, sometimes even managing to eclipse the success of the actual winners.

Proving there’s no shame in second place, here are 15 stars who were able to fully use being a runner-up to their advantage…

  • Liberty X - 'Popstars' (2001)
    MJ Kim via Getty Images
    Talk about making the most of a bad situation, the five solo singers who failed to make it into the pop group on 'Popstars' decided to cut their losses and form their own group.

    While eventual winners Hear'Say only lasted a year, Liberty X had a much more lucrative pop career, racking up an impressive eight top 10 singles over four years, including the chart-topper 'Just A Little'.
  • Adam Lambert - 'American Idol' (2009)
    John Phillips via Getty Images
    And speaking about runners-up overshadowing the success of a show's winner, look no further than former 'American Idol' singer Adam Lambert.

    Now three albums into his career, he's toured with Queen, been hailed as a 21st century LGBT+ icon and even broken into acting.
  • Olly Murs - 'The X Factor' (2009)
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    Closer to home, Olly Murs has gone on to become one of the most successful 'X Factor' contestants of all time since his time on the show, even briefly serving as its co-host, alongside Caroline Flack.

    Not bad going, considering he didn't even win it.
  • Susanna Reid - 'Strictly Come Dancing' (2013)
    Karwai Tang via Getty Images
    Just months after Susanna's profile got a shot in the arm on 'Strictly', she was chosen to front a reboot of ITV's 'Good Morning Britain'.

    For her new job, she left her post on 'BBC Breakfast', which she'd held for more than a decade.
  • Susan Boyle - 'Britain's Got Talent' (2009)
    Doug Gifford via Getty Images
    Despite being a celebrity all over the world by the time the 'BGT' final rolled around, Susan finished in second place to dance troupe Diversity, which she's since admitted she was "gutted" about.

    What she didn't realise was that this was just the beginning of her journey as a musical star, and in 2017 she's got an impressive seven albums under her belt, she's performed with her musical idols and even been nominated for two Grammys.
  • Danny Mac - 'Strictly Come Dancing' (2016)
    Chris Jackson via Getty Images
    Danny wasted no time in capitalising on his time on 'Strictly', and announced days after the 2016 live final that he was to star in a new musical production of 'Sleepless In Seattle'.
  • Kerry Katona - 'Celebrity Big Brother' (2011)
    Simon Burchell via Getty Images
    Shortly after her time in the 'CBB' house, Kerry did something we never thought she'd be able to do again... and actually managed to surprise us!

    The aforementioned surprise came when she announced she was returning to her first love of singing, and rejoining her Atomic Kitten bandmates as part of ITV2's 'The Big Reunion'.
  • Mark Wright - 'I'm A Celebrity' (2011)
    Danny Martindale via Getty Images
    Mark was a man on a mission when he entered the 'I'm A Celebrity' jungle in 2011, fresh from quitting 'The Only Way Is Essex', determined to leave his reputation as a badboy in the past.

    He was actually successful, and since finishing in second place, he's been able to re-invent himself as a legitimate TV personality, with his past rows with ex-fiancée Lauren Goodger and 'TOWIE' history often overlooked in favour of his presenting efforts.
  • JLS - 'The X Factor' (2008)
    Samir Hussein via Getty Images
    Let's be honest, JLS didn't stand a chance in the 2008 'X Factor' final, largely thanks to an appearance from underground indie artist, Beyoncé.

    Still, interest in them remained long after the show, and they went on to scoop an impressive five number one singles, including their debut 'Beat Again', a first for an 'X Factor' boyband.
  • Myleene Klass - 'I'm A Celebrity' (2006)
    Danny Martindale via Getty Images
    Five years after topping the charts as a member of Hear'Say, Myleene's public profile was in a bit of a lull, it's fair to say.

    One relentlessly positive outlook (and one white bikini) later, and Myleene managed to make it through to the final, and carved a new career for herself as a TV presenter.
  • Rebecca Ferguson - 'The X Factor' (2010)
    Luca Teuchmann via Getty Images
    True, Rebecca has never quite managed the chart success of 'X Factor' acts like Olly Murs, Leona Lewis or One Direction, who finished in third place the same year she was runner-up.

    Still, she's succeeded where so few before her (or since) have been able to, and actually had critical acclaim for her musical output, forcing people to rethink the way they look at talent show acts.
  • Adore Delano - 'RuPaul's Drag Race' (2014)
    Araya Diaz via Getty Images
    Few would contest that Bianca Del Rio was the worthy winner of season six of 'Drag Race', but Adore still did her best to capitalise on her position as runner-up, releasing her debut album 'Till Death Do Us Party' almost immediately after the final.
  • Jack Carroll - 'Britain's Got Talent' (2013)
    Karwai Tang via Getty Images
    Few comedians have managed to make a name for themselves after 'BGT', and even fewer have done it before the age of 18.

    Even so, when he was still just a teenager, Jack was cast as a new character in the hit Sky1 comedy 'Trollied', and is still working on his stand-up career.
  • Saara Aalto - 'The X Factor' (2016)
    David M. Benett via Getty Images
    Of course, the jury's still out on how well Saara will fare in her post-'X Factor' career, but considering her debut single is co-penned by Sia and she's tipped to be at the centre of a new reality series, we can probably expect big things from Saara.
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