It probably wasn't as strong as the 2008 and 2010 years but I think 2009 was probably when the show was at it's absolute peak in terms of culture and media coverage. Cheryl, Alexandra and JLS launched their careers in the absolute biggest ways possible. Fight For This Love sold almost 300K in a week didn't it?I'm sure she was getting huge media attention and endless front pages on newspapers around this time, plus if I remember correctly JLS sold an insane amount of albums and beat the comeback of Robbie Williams (who also got a ton of hype and coverage over his big return and performance on XF) while Bad Boys also beat out Bodies as well. It was probably the year that people started to pay attention and realize that Leona Lewis wasn't just a one-off and that the show could produce genuine artists. Plus throw in the controversy with Jedward beating Lucie, Jedward becoming the most recognizable cult figures in the country, the whole Dannii "outing" Danyl thing, Rage Against The Machine campaign, the introduction of arena auditions, group performances and the Sunday results show, Danyl's audition being hyped as the greatest audition of all time (I remember newspapers building it up for ages), Whitney Houston mentoring and performing, Black Eyed Peas vs Leona Lewis chart battle and Olly Murs subsequently becoming one of the most successful X-Factor contestants we've had and damn, you realize just how big the show used to be and how much impact it had in the media and the charts. 2010 was the peak for ratings and 2008 was the peak for actual quality of the contestants but the 2009 show was insane. The show nowadays just seems so trashy and Z-List compared to what it was like in the peak years.