The former painter and decorator beat mother-of-two Rebecca Ferguson and boyband One Direction to win the prize of a recording contract – although all three acts are being tipped to have careers in the music industry after the competition.
The 27-year-old singer declared "I'm so proud" after his name was called out on stage by host Dermot O'Leary.
Cardle, from Colchester, had emerged as the favourite to win earlier in the day after his duet with pop star Rihanna on Saturday night. His performance last night of Biffy Clyro's Many of Horror song – which he will now release as a Christmas single – was described by judge Simon Cowell as his best of the series.
Liverpudlian Ferguson, 24, finished runner-up, having sung Duffy's Distant Dreamer which would have been her winner's single.
Earlier in the night boy band One Direction – who feature two singers from Yorkshire: Zayn Malik, from Bradford and Louis Tomlinson, from Doncaster – were named in third place.