Ray Quinn-2006-2008 Media

X FACTOR hopeful Ray Quinn is pumping iron to keep in shape for his efforts to win the show. Meanwhile Leona Lewis, 21, and Nikitta Angus, 18, have found another way to keep fit, The girls, right, worked off some energy with a good old-fashioned pillow fight. Ray, 18, and Leona also managed to grab some time with their partners this week. An insider said: “They were desperate to make some sweet music of their own.”

Ray’s Corker Of A Deal

X FACTOR runner-up Ray Quinn cracked open a bottle of bubbly after learning he’d landed a megabucks record deal with his mentor Simon Cowell. The 18-year-old Scouser – who lost out to Leona Lewis in Saturday’s final – is expected to release an album of Rat Pack swing songs in the spring. And last night he beamed: “I’m made up. This is great news. I said if I didn’t win on Saturday then it wouldn’t be the last people have heard of Ray Quinn – and it’s right. I was to born to perform. All I want to do is entertain people.” Cowell, 47, held hush-hush talks with Ray just hours after the show and gave him the good news. He said: “Now the show’s over I am going to have a quiet word with Ray and he will be happy. “We certainly won’t be letting him go. He will be smiling with the news I’ve got for him.” Former Brookside star Ray – who’s dating Kirsty McInerney, 19 – had been a strong contender to win at the weekend. In the last week fans started backing him as the dark horse of the contest. Cowell said he didn’t mind who won because both singers had been hand-picked by him for his 16 to 24-year-olds category. But Ray – whose idols include Elvis and Frank Sinatra – had always hoped he might “swing it” with the public. He said: “I am an allround performer who just loves to entertain people. “That’s why I hoped I could win this. “But it was always down to the public at the end of the day to decide who they wanted.” Now Ray will be able to realise his dream of becoming a chart star by signing a record deal with Cowell in the New Year. Under show rules, he won’t be able to release his own material until the spring – after Leona’s debut single and album have been launched. He laughed: “I have no idea what to call the album yet. How about Quinny’s Hits or Swing When Your Quinning?” Ray said The X Factor had changed his life for the better. And he hoped he could prove his critics wrong. He added: “The show taught me that to be the best then you have to give it everything you’ve got. “I hope I did that. And just like Frank Sinatra, I did it my way.” Ray admitted that Leona was a better singer than him. He was dubbed “panto boy” by judge Sharon Osbourne, 54, and a “one-trick pony” by her colleague Louis Walsh, also 54. He said: “It did hurt but they were comments I needed to take on board. Of course, I’d like the champagne lifestyle. But fame won’t change me.”