On Thursday night, millions of fans were left heartbroken as Little Mix confirmed the rumours of a break to be true.
After being grouped together on The X Factor a decade ago, Jade Thirwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Perrie Edwards told fans on social media they “felt the time is right” to recharge separately after next year’s Confetti tour.
The girls were keen to stress they’re “not splitting up” and promised fans more “music, tours and performances” in the future.
Originally a four-piece, Little Mix has been subjected to break up rumours since original member Jesy Nelson sensationally quit the band at the end of 2020.
Alongside releasing a new album and proving they’re stronger than ever, the remaining have also been branching out into solo projects throughout the year.
As Little Mix reflect on an incredible 10 years of the pop sensations, we take a look at some of the band’s career highlights – and a couple of low points.
Making X Factor history
It’s hard to imagine a world without Little Mix, but the four founding members very almost never met on their quest to be solo singers.
Leigh-Anne, Jade, Perrie and Jesy all first auditioned for The X Factor individually in 2011 but were put together as a group by producers who spotted a connection.
Ken McKay/Talkback Thames/REX/Shutterstock)
With mentor Tulisa taking her “little muffins” under her wing, Little Mix wowed the judges and the viewers at home as they grew more confident as a band with each live show.
In December 2011, the young girl band beat off competition from Marcus Collins and Amelia Lily to be crowned the first ever group to win The X Factor.
At the time, judge Louis Walsh predicted the four-piece would become one of the biggest girl groups in the country – and the girls went on to prove the music mogul right.
Name change drama
We know them best as Little Mix, but there was once a time when the award-winning singers performed under the less catchy monkier Rhythmix.
After performing on the live X Factor shows under their original name, a dispute arose when a Brighton-based children’s music charity of the same name raised an issue with the programme trying to trademark the name.
In October 2011, after deliberation, Little Mix was born – with some of the members not feeling the new name at first.
Speaking to RuPaul on his podcast What’s the Tee?, Little Mix confessed they “hated” the rebrand at first.
“We were like, ‘It’s the end of our career,; we sound like children’. I guess in hindsight, it has kept us young,” Jade recalled.
Jesy Nelson quits
Almost 10 years on from first winning the ITV show, Little Mix had cemented themselves as one of the country’s biggest bands.
With a string of number one singles under their belt, and adoring fans across the globe, the girls were riding high on the waves of success.
But in December 2020, Little Mix fans were gutted when Jesy decided to walk away from the band in order to protect her wellbeing.
The singer, 30, emotionally explained that being part of one of pop’s biggest groups had “taken a toll” on her mental health.
Speaking in a social media statement at the time, she said: “I find the constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to expectations very hard.”
Jesy, Perrie and Leigh-Anne all publicly backed and supported their former bandmate as she made the tough decision.
The remaining trio assured fans Little Mix would continue with new music and a tour.
Historic awards win
Just months after becoming a three-piece, Little Mix made history at The Brit Awards in May 2021, becoming the first ever female act to win the Best Group award.
At the time of collecting their record-breaking gong, Leigh-Anne and Perrie were both pregnant – having just confirmed the happy news weeks before.
As they took to the stage to collect their award, the trio delivered an inspirational acceptance speech – calling out the sexism, racism and misogyny that they have faced throughout their career.
Leigh-Anne said: “It’s not easy being a female in the UK pop industry. We’ve seen the white male dominance, misogyny, sexism, and lack of diversity.
“We’re proud of how we’ve stuck together, stood our ground, surrounded ourselves with strong women, and are now using our voices more than ever.”
The victorious band then went on to dedicate their award to all the girl groups that had come before them yet failed to be honoured by the awards show.
Putting Noel Gallagher in his place
While most of the country was celebrating Little Mix’s incredible success, former Oasis singer Noel Gallagher decided to try and dampen the mood.
The ageing rocker claimed that the award-winning girl band were “not in the same league as Oasis” and suggested that their record-breaking win highlighted a problem within the music scene.
But Jade had the perfect clap back for the 54-year-old’s unsolicited comments.
Appearing on an episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks in September, the Little Mix star addressed the criticism from Noel.
“Noel did [slag us off]” Jade said on the new season of the revived series.
“Something about that we were undeserving of the Brit Award because we’re women and don’t – well we do write music – but he thinks we don’t write music.”
“Yeah, shame really,” the award-winning singer continued.
“Because you know, we are definitely the most successful girl group in the country, but he’s not even the most successful performer in his family!”
Noel has yet to respond to Jade’s witty put-down and critique.
Despite no longer being a member of Little Mix, Jesy’s personal drama managed to involve the trio as she launched her debut single, Boyz.
In October of this year, the former Little Mix singer was hit with criticism as she was accused of blackfishing in the video for her first solo venture with Nicki Minaj.
Jade, Perrie and Leigh-Anne all kept a dignified silence about the controversary – although did go on to admit they had raised concerns about Jesy’s tanning with her before her departure from the band.
However, when a TikTok star leaked alleged messages between himself and new mum Leigh-Anne, the girls were dragged into the drama.
In the messages shared by creator NoHun, Leigh-Anne is seen pointing out that Jesy is a “blackfish”.
Jesy repsonded by hopping on an Instagram Live with collaborator Nicki, laughing as the rapper dubbed her former bandmates “jealous miserable clowns”.
A lasting legacy
Even though Little Mix plan to regroup again in the future, should they choose not to, they leave behind a legacy most bands can only dream of.
Earlier this year, the band made chart history as they become the first ever girl group to rack up 100 collective weeks in the Top 10 Official Singles Chart.
Not only that, alongside their Brit awards, the talented trio have six MTV Europe Music Awards, two Teen Choice Awards, five Global Awards and many more gongs adoring their trophy cabinets.
Over the last 10 years, 19 million listeners have blasted out their iconic hits – with a collated 12 billion streams worldwide.
Not bad at all.
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