Europe

Briton Matthew Raymond-Barker wins French X Factor

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Media captionMatthew Raymond-Barker: 'I don't have any idea why I won'

A British student who was knocked out in the early stages of the UK's X Factor has gone on to win the French version of the show.

Matthew Raymond-Barker, a 22-year-old language student from London, won in the final on Tuesday night.

He decided to give X Factor a second shot while he was studying in Toulouse.

He told BBC World Service that being English in a French competition may have helped him stand out.

Mr Raymond-Barker and his challenger Marina D'Amico, aged just 17, performed alongside international stars Beyonce and Bruno Mars in the final.

He beat Ms D'Amico by just 1,300 votes, and was visibly shocked when the result was announced live on French TV.

He thanked all those who had helped and supported him throughout the competition, before exclaiming, in English, "I don't believe it!"

Second chance

On the night of the final he sang Tik Tok by Kesha, a medley of Love The Way You Lie and Don't Stop the Music by Eminem and Rihanna, Vivre Ou Survivre by Daniel Balavoine, and Michael Jackson's Man in The Mirror.

Though he clearly struggled to hit some of the highest notes on the latter, the jury praised his energy, his presence on stage, and his progress throughout the competition.

Matthew Raymond-Barker sang in both English and French throughout the contest.

He admits his spoken French was "a bit iffy" when he first arrived in the country, but he is now fluent, and thinks the French appreciated the "massive effort" he made with the language.

And he was much more relaxed second time round.

"I thought I've got nothing to lose - it's going to be a good experience whatever happens.

"I just had the aim to go one step further than I did in the UK, but it obviously worked out a lot better!"

Not the 'lazy' way

"I was just trying really, really hard to do my best here," Mr Raymond-Barker told the BBC.

"I'm not the best singer in the world, believe me, but I just try really hard.

"I know people say that X Factor is the really quick way to do it - like it's the lazy way - but it can show your determination.

Image caption The jury praised the British singer's energy

"I'm not going to pretend it didn't hurt when I was rejected from the UK competition - I cried on the way back on the Tube!"

So what's next for Matthew Raymond-Barker?

"I think I'll be staying in France for the time being, and then hopefully in the future I can spread my wings and fly to many different countries."

He has won a recording contract and his first single, Vivre Ou Survivre - which he sang last night - will be released on Saturday.

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