X Factor star Liam Payne and his bandmates from One Direction today signed a lucrative £1 million contract with Simon Cowell.
Despite losing out in the TV talent show to Matt Cardle, music mogul Cowell declared it "just the beginning" for the band and Wolverhampton teenager Liam.
He has now signed the five-piece boyband to his Syco record label in a rumoured £1 million deal and will be heading into the studio with Cowell.
An estimated 20 million people tuned in last night to see Matt crowned winner, followed by Liverpudlian Rebecca Ferguson in second place and One Direction in third.
Liam, a 17-year-old former St Peter's Collegiate School pupil from Bushbury, was today recording in the music studio of Cowell's right-hand man, Steve Mac.
Fellow contestants Rebecca Ferguson, Cher Lloyd and Mary Byrne are also believed to have been signed up by the 51-year-old multi-millionaire.
"I think they've all got potential," Cowell said. "It's now down to how much they want it. They've all got talent."
Despite believing in all of his new acts, Cowell is particularly backing One Direction, saying they could make it big in America.
Liam's family today said they were disappointed by last night's result but they believed the talented youngster was destined for fame and fortune. Father Geoff, who works at Goodrich in the city, said: "He is a star and this will not be the end."
Producer Steve Mac, who is known as "Mr X Factor" in the music industry, has already shaped the careers of former contestants Leona Lewis and JLS and is tipped to help propel Liam into the charts.
One Direction, made up of 16-year-old Harry Styles from Cheshire and 17-year-olds Niall Horan from Mullingar, Zayn Malik from Bradford and Louis Tomlinson from Northampton, were put together by Cowell after failing to make in the individual boys category.
Liam's family today spoke of their pride at the Bushbury teenager.
Speaking after the show Liam's 80-year-old grandfather Ken, who had travelled from his home in Cornwall to watch the live show, said: "There have been no losers.
"The three of them are all winners. It was fantastic."
Liam's father Geoff said that celebrities Dawn French and fashion guru had made a beeline for Liam after the results were announced, and is sure his celebrity star will continue to rise.
"We were sad when the result was announced but he is a star and this will not be the end," he added.
"We are so proud that he and the band made it so far in the competition."
Winner Matt Cardle is expected to make £2 million from touring and advertising but One Direction could exceed even that after being dubbed "the find of the series".
Matt today said he still felt "numb" after his victory. He added: "It was so shocking that it made me numb straight away. I am still in a bit of a spin."
Asked about reported criticism he has made about Dudley contestant Wagner, and alleged remarks about 17-year-old Cher Lloyd, Cardle said: "I was a bit more vocal maybe than I should have been about my thoughts. I think he was slightly misunderstood, Wagner.
"As far as Cher is concerned, she was just amazing, for her age, she was just incredible."