Is The X Factor coming back this year? What is the new format?
It was once the biggest show on television, dominating the Saturday night schedules and producing a string of internationally successful singers.
But in more recent years, The X Factor’s star has most definitely waned; having once had viewing figures of 17.7 million during the halcyon days of 2010, last year it limped to the stables with just 5.5 million left watching.
However, it won’t return as we know it. Simon Cowell is planning a major revamp to the series, having initially planned two new formats – a celebrity version and a ‘Champions’ edition which sees former X Factor contestants fight for the top prize.
“The time feels right, and it will be a huge change,” Cowell told The Sun. “We haven’t exactly confirmed the dates or the order of the shows, but essentially there are going to be two versions of X Factor running this year.
“I think it’s going to be huge, it’s the best I’ve felt about this show in years.”
How will the celebrity version of The X Factor work?
We’ve actually had a celebrity version of The X Factor before – the short-lived X Factor: Battle of the Stars, which aired in 2006 – but the revamped special is set to be suitably more serious than its predecessor.
The 2006 special, which was won by EastEnders’ Lucy Benjamin, featured some truly horrific performances, including this frankly haunting solo from Gillian McKeith.
Despite having fairly healthy ratings at the time (it pulled in an average of 6 million a night) Cowell was previously dismissive of the show, calling it “pointless” and saying he would never do it again.
He told The Sun at the time, “What we’re meant to be looking for is a new artist.
“The only validity for my doing these shows is that I’m doing my day job on a TV – which is trying to find artists for the label.
“So when I’m judging celebs, I’m not actually doing my job. I’m just being on a TV show.”
But Cowell has seemingly had a change of heart in more recent years, hinting that he had been thinking about resurrecting the show last year.
“Celebrity X Factor wasn’t one of my favourite shows, but for some reason I do actually want to do it again,” he told The Sun’s TV Magazine. “I’m hoping we’re going to do this soon. I’d like to mentor David Walliams!”
By approaching celebs who may have taken initial steps into entering the music business, Cowell is keen to show that this is not just a repeat of the tacky celeb karaoke that we saw on our screens around 13 years ago, wanting his celebrity contestants to go on to become bona fide singers.
“In the same way Pete Waterman made Kylie and Jason musical stars, and what I did with Robson and Jerome, I’d like to think through the process we’ll find someone who can sell records rather than just doing the show as a stunt,” he said.
Adding the format changes have given him a “buzz”, Cowell continued, “I’m excited again because my focus is who will be on the show.”
Cowell is so serious about his showbiz spin-off that he’s even willing to put his money where his mouth is, reportedly planning to offer the winner of the celeb version a record deal and a shot at landing the Christmas number 1 single.
“Simon knows that getting the right stars to enter is the key to its success, so to make that more appealing he’s decided to put a proper record deal with Syco on the table for the winner — with serious money behind it,” an insider told The Sun.
“It’s a proper competition and they want people who can really sing but who are big personalities too.”
Gemma Collins was hotly tipped as a contestant on Celebrity X Factor later this year, having done the rounds on many other ITV reality shows (Dancing on Ice, I’m a Celeb etc) — but she’s since denied the rumours.
Speaking to new! Magazine, she said: “They did ask me, but I’m not doing it. I’ve got so many other big TV projects in the pipeline… I’ll never forget where I started out but I’ve been offered some great work recently it’s exciting.”
How will the Champions version of The X Factor work?
As well as a celebrity edition, a second X Factor series is expected to be launched this year, thought to be comprised of memorable contestants bidding to be named the ultimate champion.
The news comes after the success of a similar spin-off for Simon Cowell’s stateside show, which launched America’s Got Talent: The Champions earlier this year.
That saw winners from the Got Talent franchise across the world take to the stage to perform in front of the judges once more, before advancing to the live finals.
While Paul Potts, Attraction and Susan Boyle flew the flag for Great Britain in the contest, it was AGT series 13 winner, magician Shin Lim, who was crowned the ultimate champion.
Whether X Factor’s Champions version will consist of global contestants or a line-up exclusively from past series of the UK show remains to be seen, but if it’s the latter, the homegrown X Factor has certainly been responsible for producing some world class performers down the years – think Little Mix, One Direction, Leona Lewis, er, Jedward…
Whether the most successful stars will want to take part is another matter, of course.
Who will appear in a Champions version of The X Factor?
It’s looking to be quite a mixed bag, with both winners and significantly less talented acts both being considered for the new show.
However, 2012 winner James Arthur is unlikely to be returning, telling the Metro, “I actually spoke to Simon about it but unfortunately I just don’t have the time. Never say never, though.”
2014 runner-up Fleur East has also ruled herself out, telling Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford on This Morning, “I don’t think I personally would because I did it the first time in 2005 as a group and then in 2014 and it went so well, it was so amazing I think the third time I’m pushing it.”
However, there is at least one act apparently keen to make an X Factor comeback, with East saying fellow 2014 finalist Stevi Ritchie would “love to appear”.
Elsewhere, Jedward have said that producers are keen to invite them back on the show for a second go. While the pair were the novelty joke act in 2009, they’ve miraculously managed to forge relatively successful careers thanks to their ironic popularity.
“I can tell everybody that they’re trying desperately to get me and John,” Edward said while appearing on ITV’s Loose Women. “They’ve been emailing us.”
“They definitely want us,” John agreed.
But the duo are not keen on returning, with John adding, “I don’t want to go back and rewind what we’ve already done – we’ve progressed, we’ve got our own songs. I don’t want to go back and do Britney Spears or Ghostbusters.”
Series seven X Factor star Wagner (no surname necessary) is hoping to make a comeback on the Champions audition, promising to “bring the fun.”
The 63-year-old said to The Sun, “I think X Factor could do with some more interesting acts, not serious people who sing like they are suffering or dying. People at home watch and go ‘That’s boring.’ I make people smile wherever I go.
“I’ll bring the fun. When I’m on stage I love it.”
Rap artist Honey G (real name Anna Gilford) has also thrown her baseball cap in the ring for a return.
“I tick all the boxes,” she told The Sun. “Give the people what they want and what the people want is Honey G.
“Nobody wants to see anyone sing a power ballad. My prediction is if they do that they’ll stick with the low ratings. I think I am their best shot at getting Christmas No1.”
What will happen to The X Factor’s theme song?
It’s getting replaced because Simon Cowell absolutely can’t stand it. “‘We’re scrapping the theme song – I can’t listen to that again,” he told The Sun.
“You get into a habit with these things but it’s one of the three worst theme songs I’ve heard. I’m asking around LA to see if someone can write us something new.”
However, don’t expect the new tune to stick around for long. Cowell also said he wants the show to have a new film each year “like the Bond films”.
When is The X Factor 2019 on TV?
ITV hasn’t yet announced air dates for the series and while The X Factor has traditionally begun in late August, with two new spin-offs coming scheduling is a little harder to predict. Watch this space for the latest news as we get it.
Former judge Louis Tomlinson has also seemingly walked, previously speaking on ITV’s Lorraine that he was keen to focus on his music career.
Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger are reportedly in “advanced talks” with ITV to return, after having previously been axed in favour for last year’s line-up.
And Walsh has since confirmed to the Mail Online that he will be making a comeback to the talent show, saying he has “signed on the dotted line.”
He added that he would be keen for Sharon Osbourne to return too, after she was fired by Cowell following remarks on a American radio show where she said she’d “put a f***ing brick round his neck and throw him over”. She later claimed she was fired for being “too old.”
“Sharon would be great,” he said to The Mirror. “She’s burnt a few bridges, but that’s what’s good about her – she has an opinion. She’s never boring or predictable.
“She was only joking. It was all panto talk. [Simon and Sharon] will make up. I’m going to mediate between them. I’ll do anything necessary.”
Where is The X Factor filmed? And how can I get tickets?
In 2018, the live shows were filmed at LH2 Studios in Acton, London W3.
Although tickets for the 2019 series aren’t up for grabs yet, they will be available for FREE via ApplauseStore.com.
“Back this year, yes,” he said when quizzed about his role on the new X Factor by Metro.co.uk. “That’s as much as I know.”
While remaining tight-lipped over any further details, he revealed that the team “are pretty excited” about the show’s format change.
“Nothing surprises me particularly because the show never rests on its laurels,” O’Leary said. “There’s always an evolution every year.
“As someone that’s been there a very long time, it takes up a great part of my year, and I have a great fondness for it. I love it. You see so many changes down the years, you’re never really surprised.
“The chats I have had with the team [about the format change], everyone’s pretty excited about it.”
Dermot has been at the helm of the show since 2007, when he took over from original host Kate Thornton. He has presented every year apart from 2015, when he was briefly replaced by Olly Murs and Caroline Flack in an X Factor double-act that, frankly, we’d rather all forget.
What happened to The Xtra Factor?
The ITV2 spin-off was axed in 2017, with no word of its return. But with so much up in the air for The X Factor right now, who knows?