Fleur East has signed to Syco Records.

The 26-year-old finished second in the 'X Factor' after Ben Haenow won the competition last month, but Simon Cowell has decided to sign the star up to his record label, and hopes to release her debut album later this year.

The music mogul said: ''Fleur proved what a star she was on the show last year and we now look forward to starting work on her record''.

Confirming the news on social media, the company - who also have the likes of One Direction, Ella Henderson, Labrinth and Olly Murs on their extensive roster - wrote: ''BREAKING NEWS: Fleur East signs to Syco. The X Factor finalist will release her debut album later this year.''

The contract was reportedly finalised last week - less than a month after the end of the ITV singing competition - with the head judge keen to personally oversee her career.

An 'X Factor' insider told The Sun newspaper: ''It's unprecedented for Simon to personally sign one of the runners-up. But it's a sign he believes Fleur is going to be a massive star.''

The 55-year-old talent scout and producer was wowed by the rising star when she sang the Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars hit 'Uptown Funk' on the show, branding it ''the greatest performance'' he had seen on the programme, with the cover rising to the number one spot in the iTunes chart just 24 hours later.

Losing out in 2008, JLS went on to become a hugely successful pop quartet, and now former member JB Gill says he is sure Fleur has a prosperous career ahead of her.

He said: ''Ben's great but Fleur's a really old friend. She was brilliant.

''She'll have a career. We came second and we did all right. Next year will be exciting for her.''