X Factor 2014 review: Cheryl and Simon give the show back its oomph Factor

X Factor 2014 review: Cheryl and Simon give the show back its oomph Factor

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When the X Factor returns with Louis Walsh zipping along in a sports car admitting he’s literally never going to leave the show, it can’t go wrong can it?

Throw in Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in leathers on a motorcycle, plus Simon Cowell and Mel B joining them for a Batman-style X Factor logo reveal and the tone is set – this year is going to be seriously good fun.

Sure they’re on the hunt for a star. They always are. They’ve done pretty well so far. One Direction can’t seem to put a foot wrong in the charts, Olly Murs, Leona Lewis, Little Mix… they’re all artists from the world of the X Factor.

But there’s a playfulness among the judges, who seem genuinely chuffed to be back together.

Louis has been there all along. He’s Mr. X Factor himself. But Cheryl and Simon have returned after leaving the panel in 2010. They’ve been friends, enemies, frenemies…

Now every time Simon annoys Cheryl she just gets a fan out and wafts away his Mr Nasty act. I’m pretty sure she’ll hit him with it before the series is out.

Of course, the judges would be nothing without the wacky acts. They all admit they love the bonkers acts, with Cowell affirming the show would be pretty blooming boring if all they did was showcase really good singers.

Tonight, there was plenty to choose from. My favourite has to be Angelina Robinson, whose mum set about stuffing the judges with Chinese food and cake the entire time she was singing. There were no prawn crackers, much to Simon’s disappointment. He amused himself by plonking mammoth slices of cake in front of Louis, who happily tucked in.

Until he choked on it.

He’s OK. We’ve still got four judges.

And what a breath of fresh air Mel B is. Having seen her in action in the Wembley Arena stage, which will follow soon, I thought the first episode would be jam-packed with blunt – and at times cringe-inducing – comments from the former Spice Girl. But she just seemed to have a laugh, calling out the singers besotted with Cheryl for not giving her any attention. “Hello?! What am I, chopped liver?”

One act even managed to make her cry (for the right reasons) while another brought her a mini Scary Spice figure, which might make her cry for the wrong reasons.

There was the usual smattering of high-emotion. The return of Amy Connelly was sweet, if not a bit paint-by-numbers. But if we haven’t learnt the format of The X Factor by now, we never will. 

The X Factor continues tomorrow night at 8:00pm on ITV

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