James Arthur has been named the winner of The X Factor 2012.

The 24-year-old singer beat Jahmene Douglas to take the title in front of a 10,000-strong audience at Manchester Central, with millions more watching the ITV show live on television.

James looked stunned as host Dermot O'Leary announced the result and could only say "wow" when asked how he felt. "I don't know what to say," he added.

James walks away from the talent show with a recording contract and will now release his winner's single, a rendition of Impossible by Barbadian singer Shontelle, in a bid to top the charts with a Christmas number one.

After being announced as the champion of the ninth series of the show, a dazed-looking James performed the song for the second time. He was hugged by judge Nicole Scherzinger, who mentored both him and runner up Jahmene.

Jahmene, 24, was magnanimous in defeat, saying: "I think it's just a blessing to share the stage with such a talent. You're so amazing James, use this platform, use it wisely."

Both finalists had the chance to perform two songs during the two-hour programme, with each showcasing the singles they would release if they won as they made their final bid to win the public's vote. Jahmene was accompanied by a choir as he sang his soulful take on Let It Be by the Beatles before James sang Impossible.

It was the first time that a judge had mentored both acts to make it to the final, with Louis Walsh telling Nicole: "You've been the best mentor ever on the X Factor. You've got two acts in the final and you've worked so hard."

The show kicked off with a Christmas medley by former contestants from the series. But Liverpudlian Christopher Maloney, who was voted out of the competition in last night's show, was missing from the line up, tweeting that he had a sore throat.

It was reported that he did not appear as he had stormed out of rehearsals and had a row with fellow contestant Carolynne Poole. But Christopher later tweeted: "It's just a final stretch of sensational headlines lol. whatever xx we know the truth xx" followed by "this is a witch hunt" and claimed that he was being bullied.