With the new series of The X Factor UK due to hit screens next month, I have the low down on what you can expect from the TV spectacle of the year (well, after Strictly, I’m A Celeb and Big Brother in my books).
It’s a return to the old this year as the talent show returns to it’s roots in more ways than one. First move backwards comes in the form of this years presenter Dermot O’Leary. He hosted the show for a number of years before being dropped (although he says he stepped down) last year in favour for Olly Murs and Caroline Flack, but that was a disaster waiting to happen and Olly made some BIG mistakes in the Live Shows by announcing wrong names, getting mixed up and generally looking like a fish out of water. But don’t worry Dermot is back to steer the ship successfully, hopefully!
It’s all change on the judging panel as well as the only returning judge is the head man himself Simon Cowell while the other three are all ex-X Factor judges brought back to make the show popular once more. Lucky charm Irish man Louis Walsh returns after a one year hiatus, Sharon Osbourne returns after another few facelifts (supposedly) and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger is back to add some sex appeal after dropping out of Andrew Llyod Webber’s Broadway musical Cats to take up her old seat. We have finally gotten rid of Cheryl Fernandez-Versini-Cole-Tweedy from the desk and the show altogether but she is threatening us with a new album later this year (damn!).
There are a couple of new faces gracing the sister show The Xtra Factor though with newbie presenters Matt Edmondson and over the top annoyance Rylan Clark-Neal. The ex contestant and Big Brother Bit On The Side host will takeover from Rochelle Humes and Melvin Odum who vacate their roles after just one series. Is Rylan making himself too familiar to TV audience? Did he never hear of the phrase ‘less is more’?
So now that all the presenters and judges are out of the way let’s take a look at the show itself. The audition stages have gone back to the beginning like a lot of the show with the Arena Auditions scrapped in favour of the smaller Room Auditions where it is just the 4 judges, contestant and however many cameramen needed to film all angles of Simon’s ever increasing head size. Does the intimate setting produce bigger stars in the long run? Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke and Shayne Ward all started in the Room and look where they are now!
It is also believed that the Bootcamp stage will be changed slightly and the 6-Chair Challenge made even tougher. If you have never seen this part of the competition, think musical chairs with cutting comments and being told the harsh reality that you’re not good enough so get out!
Sources say the Live shows may be transformed also to make them more ‘edge of your seat’ rather than cup of tea and digestive moments. Last year’s shows whimpered in the ratings compared to Strictly Come Dancing which Simon was not happy about and has pledged to do better this year. He also has to compete with Gary Barlow’s new singing show on the BBC called ‘Let It Shine’ in which he and Take That hope to find 5 new singers to form a band to perform as them in a West End musical. That show and the fact that ITV have bought The Voice UK. If X Factor doesn’t impress this year I think it will be going in the bin!
So we can expect all the things we loved about The X Factor, Louis and Sharon, Dermot, Nicole, 6 Chair Challenge, Room Auditions and I’m pretty sure Sinitta will pop up at the Judge’s Houses part of the competition (ain’t we lucky?) One thing is for sure, they are putting everything into it this year but we shall wait and see if it works!