Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell is hoping to discover the next big thing when he returns to The X FactorITV

A new group of likeable wannabes will be unleashed on to TV viewers this weekend when The X Factor returns for its 11th series.

Putting the drama, sob stories and forgotten lyrics aside, there is no doubt the ITV talent show has produced some epic performances and uber-successful acts.

To celebrate the return of the show (and Simon Cowell back to the judging panel), IBTimes UK takes a look at some of the biggest stars to have come from the show.

Olly Murs - Came second in 2009

Cheeky Essex lad Olly Murs proves that sometimes second place is better. After he was the runner-up to Joe McElderry, the 30-year-old singer's career has gone from strength to strength.

Murs briefly returned to TV as a presenter for spin-off show The Xtra Factor and has had several UK number one singles.

Little Mix - Took the crown in 2011

After being given the chance by the X Factor judges to form a group, following their failure to get past the bootcamp stage as soloists, this quartet of feisty females made history back in 2011 when they became the first group to win the show.

With the help of their mentor, former N-Dubz star Tulisa Contostavlos, and their perfect mix of pop and r'n'b, Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall sailed past the finish line.

Not only do they have two UK number one singles under their belt, Missy Elliot collaborated with the group on their track How Ya Doin'?

JLS - Runners-up in 2008

JLS were once described by the X Factor judges as the best group to ever appear on the show. Their undeniable talent meant that despite losing out to Alexandra Burke, they secured a record deal and won over legions of loyal fans.

Before their split in 2013, Marvin Humes, Aston Merrygold, Oritse Williams and JB Gill had topped the chart five times and sold over one million albums in the UK.

Alexandra Burke - Won the show in 2008

During her time on The X Factor, Alexandra Burke not only got to duet with Beyoncé, she also won over the hearts of the nation.

In the wake of her victory, she was signed to Simon Cowell's Syco record label and released a series of chart-topping singles, including Bad Boys and Hallelujah.

Burke has received award nominations three times for Brits, twice for the Mobos and once for an MTV Europe Music Award.

Leona Lewis - Won The X Factor in 2006

Leona Lewis is one of the few X Factor champions to taste international fame. Since winning the show in 2006, the singer has sold over 40million records and has been nominated three times for the Grammys.

Not only does she have fans in the UK, she also cracked America with hits including Bleeding Love, Better in Time and Footprints in The Sand. Not bad for a shy girl from east London's Hackney.

One Direction - Finished third in 2010

Although they missed out on the crown, One Direction - aka Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson - have gone on to become the biggest boy band on the planet and have a combined fortune of £70m.

They have sold millions of records and have two sold-out tours, perfume and make-up ranges under their belts, and have been on the silver screen too. Who says winning is everything?