Rumour has it The X Factor is heading back to a lavish mansion for part of this year’s Boot Camp stage, but last time that happened it wasn’t all fun and games.
It was 2011 during the eighth series when we saw the contestants who’d made it through the first stage invited to a swanky party in posh Croydon digs. It gave viewers a peek at what the acts were getting up to the night before their next audition, which for most wasn’t an early night drinking hot lemon. There was dancing, a bit of romance and an excitable Frankie Cocozza diving in and out of a hot tub.
This of course meant plenty of backstage gossip which show bosses are said to be keen on replicating with a “return to the wild ways of old” for this year’s revamped series. “There’s no doubt it made for great television,” a source told the Sun.
But perhaps the acts shouldn’t get too excited about the idea of a big party courtesy of the X Factor judges. Amid all the gossip and partying, then judges Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland, Louis Walsh and Tulisa Contostavlos were busy deciding which acts to cut from the show before they’d even had a chance to sing again. Walsh labelled it the “toughest, most brutal” Boot Camp in the history of the show.
Indeed, the next day the judges grouped the acts together and in one fell swoop sent nearly forty hopefuls packing. Not one step near a microphone. Not one glimpse of Wembley Arena. Not one attempt to share a sob story.
It almost makes the Six Chair Challenge seem less dramatic. Almost.