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  M.   September 08, 2009

GQ magazine has honoured its men of the year at a glitzy showbiz ceremony – but the red-carpet gossip focused on more than just who was most stylish or sporty.

Mickey Rourke was named international man of the year while Elvis Costello scooped the award for outstanding achievement at the bash at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden.

And after making his name cross-dressing to play women in Little Britain, David Walliams took the accolade for most stylish man of the year.

But some of the celebrity guests had more to say about another subject – the new look X Factor.

Alexandra Burke, who won in 2008 and is preparing to release her second single and debut album, said she was thankful to be in last year’s contest.

This year, the candidates have to perform their initial audition in front of thousands of audience members as well as the four judges.

“It’s definitely helpful,” she told me as she showed off a new haircut to go with her new sound.

“People have to perform live in front of a studio audience in the final and live shows so this gets them prepared, but I’m just grateful I managed to get mine done in a quiet, smaller room. It’s the most nerve-wracking experience of your life.”

One person you probably wouldn’t expect to be a fan is former Strictly Come Dancing star Rachel Stevens.

But she let me into a secret: “Of course I watch the X Factor. It’s brilliant. I Sky+ it so I can watch it. I absolutely love it. Of course, I’m a fan of Strictly but I’m addicted to the X Factor.”

But it would appear not everyone is. You would think music veteran Costello would at least know who Simon Cowell is.

“Who’s he?” he asked quizzically. “I was asked about the X Factor and I have absolutely no idea who or what it is.”

You can bet he will have heard of Sherlock Holmes though – but don’t hold your breath waiting for the movie.

Director Guy Ritchie, another award winner, said: “We always planned it for a Christmas release. We finished it a while ago – but we have idle hands so we’re tweaking and tweaking away.”

He better hurry though – because the end of the world is coming soon if you believe Quantum of Solace star Gemma Arterton.

“The planet’s going to die in the next five years because of climate change. If you have plans, you best get on with them,” she said.

And she admitted she has a real soft spot for co-star Daniel Craig, saying: “I follow him everywhere and write down his movements but don’t print that. It’s for your eyes only.”

:: The GQ Men of the Year winners in full:

Outstanding Achievement: Elvis Costello

International Man: Mickey Rourke

Alfred Dunhill Film-Maker: Guy Ritchie

Woman: Lily Allen

Band: Take That

Sportsman: Jenson Button

Politician: George Osborne MP

Movie Mogul: Harvey Weinstein

Designer: Giles Deacon

Commentator: Robert Peston

Actor: Michael Sheen

Voice Of Reason: Vince Cable

Solo Artist: Dizzee Rascal

Writer: Geoff Dyer

TV Personality: Ross Kemp

Newspaper Editor: James Harding

Comedian: Michael McIntyre

Chef: Marcus Wareing

Entrepreneur: Matthew Freud

Smirnoff Black Most Stylish Man: David Walliams