This year’s X Factor series kicks off on Saturday 29th August at 8pm on ITV. Nor will fans have to wait long until the next instalment: there’ll be a second round of auditions on Sunday 30th August, also at 8pm.
When I had a sneak peek of the auditions, they seemed to be having an awful lot of fun – and doing a lot of dancing. In fact, the pair are said to have a little routine for when the judges arrive, which means there’s hope the Dermot Dance will live on. Murs has also earned a new nickname: H₂Olly Murs after often being called on stage to supply contestants with water.
Once Bootcamp is done and dusted, the action will move to the dreaded Six Chair Challenge. It’s an addition that seems to be sticking around. Singers perform for the judges, but it will be up to each category mentor to decide who’s worthy of a chair and thus a place at Judges’ Houses. But once in a chair, all is not safe: they can be booted off in favour of another.
Those that survive that will bag a trip to Judges’ Houses, which this year is getting a revamp, with the show going live. Yep, from four different locations the judges will decide live on air who they’re taking through to the live shows. The performances will also be live, which means there’s a lot riding on all the tech running smoothly. Show insiders say the odd live gaffe isn’t a concern though. “In a way, the main live shows are so well produced, people have forgotten they’re live,” an insider explained. “People will tune into live Judges’ Houses to see if it can be carried off.”
Who the guest judges are remains to be seen and indeed so do the locations. Brazil has been rumoured as has the return of Simon to US and Cheryl to France. Grimshaw in Ibiza seems like it could be a logical match up, but with a live broadcast, getting them as close together as possible may be the aim. As for those guests, I think we can expect Sinitta (and an awesome outfit). I’d personally like to see Louis Walsh make an appearance, so we at least get to hear one authentic ‘you’re going to be the next big pop star’ at least once this series.
Once that’s done and dusted it’s onto the live shows, which basically means it’s Christmas, right? The action will head back to Wembley Arena when we will finally get our chance to vote. I bargain we’ll see more shock double eliminations and – given the number of changes this year – I wouldn’t be surprised to see the addition of an extra cheeky format: perhaps the judges will be given the chance to ‘steal’ an act from another? Or Louis will appear with his own ‘wild card’ category. Frankly, nothing would surprise this year.
There’ll also be a change of announcer following the departure of Peter Dickson. It remains to be heard who will tell us that its Saturday, that it’s X Factor and that it’s time to face the music.