X Factor viewers will choose judges’ categories for first time ever

Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw will find out which category they're mentoring after viewers tweet their choices

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For the first time ever, the public is going to decide which categories this year’s X Factor judges will mentor.

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As it stands, the new-look panel – Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw – have no idea whether they’ll be looking after the Girls, Boys, Groups or Overs.

Cheryl may well have her eye on the Groups after saying they were “killer” during this year’s Bootcamp auditions. Simon may like the idea of sticking with the Over 25s after two of his acts – Ben Haenow and Fleur East – took first and second place last year. But what they want has nothing to do with it – this year it’s down to the viewers, who’ll make the decision via Twitter.

After the first show launches this Saturday night (8:00pm, ITV) the Twitter vote will open, running until 12:00pm on Tuesday 1st September. To get involved, you need to send a tweet with the hashtag of the judge’s name and the category you’d like them to mentor. For example #SimonGirls or #CherylGroups. There will also be specially designed emojis relating to the judge and category for when you’re tweeting, too.

The panel will find out the public’s decision during filming of the Six Chair Challenge, which is the point at which they start building their individual categories: ie, the point where the gloves come off, they stop working as a team and start focussing on winning. 

This latest change follows a raft of tweaks to the 2015 series. The in-room auditions have been ditched, Bootcamp has returned to its country mansion setting, Judges’ Houses will be broadcast live and there are four new presenters to get to know across the main show and ITV2’s Xtra Factor spin-off. So as show bosses continue to tell us: expect the unexpected. 

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The X Factor returns Saturday at 8:00pm on ITV