Radio DJ Sarah-Jane Crawford left a presenting vacancy on ITV2’s Xtra Factor when she announced that she wouldn’t be returning to the X Factor spin-off.
After just one year fronting the show, Crawford announced her departure via Twitter in May, writing: “I have a new project coming up this summer & with all the changes happening I won’t be back.”
Along with the continued rumblings about exactly who will be on the judging panel of the main show, there are also various rumours about who will take the reins for the spin-off. As yet, I’m told no one has put pen to paper, but here’s who could be stepping up to do plenty of ‘X’ shapes with their arms this summer…
The Saturdays singer is definitely “in the mix” for a spot on Xtra Factor this year, show insiders tell me, and it’s a name that feels like a pretty natural fit. With her pop star background, first in S Club Juniors and then The Saturdays, Rochelle knows a thing or two about breaking into the industry. She’s also more than comfortable in front of a camera, with spots on This Morning, Ninja Warrior and Sweat the Small Stuff to her name. Her husband Marvin Humes – himself of X Factor fame – co-hosts rival singing show The Voice, so it could make for some interesting chats over the breakfast table were she to sign up.
Rumour rating: 8/10
Rickie and Melvin
Kiss FM DJs Rickie Haywood Williams and Melvin Odoom are also among the names being considered by show bosses, although a source close to the show has denied reports they’ve already signed on the dotted line. Decisions are still being made at this stage but if they were to be signed, the duo would bring an exciting new dynamic to the show. They’re embedded in the music industry, presenting the Kiss FM breakfast show alongside Charlie Hedges. Plus, with panel spots on Sweat the Small Stuff, the two have already proved they possess the quick wit needed for a show like Xtra Factor.
Rumour rating: 8/10
The Xtra Factor could move in an entirely new direction and bring a YouTube star into the mix. Jim Chapman, who boasts more than two million subscribers to his channel – which sees him use vlogs to discuss everything from fashion to baking – revealed he went for a screen test. “I have been for a couple of castings already,” Chapman told Now magazine. The 27-year-old also revealed he’d gone along with fellow vlogger Joe Sugg (Zoella’s brother) but added: “I don’t think they’d cast us together.” Show insiders have confirmed that YouTubers are among those being considered. Presumably the idea is to bring their significant young online fan base over to the show and have more fun with online formats during the week.
Rumour rating: 7/10
Former Big Brother winner-turned-presenter Brian Dowling is also said to have had a screen test. Brian’s audition included an interview with former X Factor contestants 2Shoes, according to The Sun. It’s a wonder he got a word in! “The folk at ITV are big fans of Brian’s,” a source told the newspaper, adding that show bosses are keen to see the show in “safe hands”. Brian certainly knows his way around a reality TV series, having won Big Brother not once, but twice. He went on to host six series of the show and was also crowned champ of a Big Brother-themed Come Dine With Me episode.
Rumour rating: 6/10
Presenter Matt Johnson, perhaps best known for his stint on This Morning during 2010-2013, has revealed he’d be keen to step into Sarah-Jane’s Xtra Factor shoes. “Presenting that show is something I’d be really interested in – if I’m cool enough,” he told Star magazine. Matt’s been a guest on the show and has had his own taste of reality TV, finishing in second place on 2013’s Your Face Sounds Familiar, where he had to perform as well-known artists.
Rumour rating: 1/10
Sam and Mark
Among the rumours, Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes’s (aka Sam and Mark) names keep cropping up. The pair have reality TV show pedigree, having risen to fame on 2003’s Pop Idol, after which they teamed up and released tracks as a duo. As for Xtra Factor, like Brian Dowling, it’s experience that’s apparently endearing them to show bosses. “It’s vital to them that the show is in safe hands,” a source told the Sun. “So having pros like Brian and Sam and Mark on the board is appealing”. Indeed, they have plenty of shows on their TV CV, mainly those aimed at a younger audience, including TMi and Top of the Pops Reloaded.
Rumour rating: 6/10