By ANDREA MAGRATH
Star quality: X Factor contestant Matt Cardle, pictured during this week's live show, is a favourite to win the competition
Only three weeks into the live shows, he is already the firm favourite to win this year's competition.
But success hasn't always come so easily to X Factor hopeful Matt Cardle.
As his star rises, details of the 27-year-old's struggle to find success in the industry before joining the talent show are emerging.
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His former band Seven Summers, who Matt was playing with as recently as June, have enjoyed a sudden surge in sales.
The alternative four-piece rock band saw their self-titled album, which was originally released back in January, suddenly soar to number 26 in the Amazon download chart.
On their Myspace page, Seven Summers say their sound 'centres on Matt's extraordinary voice; instantly recognisable and suited perfectly to this comfortably alternative yet accessible band.'
Their bio adds that Matt and other members - Alex Baker (drums), Jon Holland (bass) and Neillo (guitars) - 'gelled instantly from the first rehearsal. As songs and arrangements fell quickly into place, the chemistry was obvious.'
Front man: The singer fronted band Seven Summers up until his stint on the ITV talent show
The band from Chelmsford, Essex have also expressed their appreciation of their influx of new fans on Twitter. The band wrote on October 11: 'Its great to see so many new followers! Thanks for the comments and a big big thank you for buying the album, glad you're all enjoying it. x'
But they have stopped short of acknowledging the person behind their sudden fame, failing to publicly back their former lead singer on either of their Twitter or Facebook pages.
Seven Summers left a cryptic message on Twitter on August 31- days after Matt's audition on X Factor aired on television - which read: 'Well its certainly been an interesting few days in the Seven Summers camp....'
Crowd favourite: Cardle has said of his former band's success: 'If they are doing well and benefiting from this then I'm happy for them'
Cardle appears supportive of former band mates' sudden success. He said: 'If they are doing well and benefiting from this then I'm happy for them,' according to the Sun.
When Matt played a gig at Halstead venue Scenarios in September he appeared onstage with his former band mates from group Darwyn, who he performed with in 2007.
He appears to be on good terms with old Darwyn members, who have been vocal in their support of Matt's X Factor bid.
Friend and former band mate Darren Gear, who helped select Cardle's audition song, Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good, says: 'He has an incredible voice. I have never been able to keep up with him.
Gigs: The Chelmsford band played at the 2010 Panic Awards in Essex in April
'He’s really enjoying his time on X Factor and taking it all in his stride. He gets really nervous when he’s gigging and he has no self confidence.
'Everytime I speak to him he says: "The others are so amazing." I would say to Matt "you’re amazing, you need to listen to yourself".'
Betting outlet Paddy Power have given Cardle 6/4 odds to win this year's series, ahead of boy band One Direction (5/2) and female contestant Rebecca Ferguson (9/2).
Reunion: The painter/decorator took time out from X Factor to play with another former band, Darwyn, in September
He is a favourite with both the judges and audiences with consistently strong performances, including this weekend's acoustic version of Britney Spears hit Baby One More Time for the Guilty Pleasures theme which received thunderous applause.
Cheryl Cole told him after the performance: 'That is such an iconic song, but I felt like I was sat in an unplugged session listening to an acoustic artist.'
Simon Cowell was equally impressed and told him it was 'incredible'.