And Cowell is taking the celebrity spin-off version just as seriously as he would the civilian edition, reportedly putting £3 million aside for finding big celebrities, and offering the winner a serious record deal.
“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.”
So which celebrities will be hoping to hit the right notes for the Celebrity X Factor? We’ve got all your rumours right here…
It seems that our man Jonny is multi-talented, having reportedly impressed bosses with his audition while in Los Angeles.
“Jonny has really impressed the panel with his vocal ability,” a source told the Daily Star. “They weren’t expecting him to be as good as he is. Everyone working on the show is saying he’ll be one to watch.”
“The public know him for his acting, but this will be his chance to show he can sing too”.
Brendan Cole and Jeremy Edwards
After his dramatic axing from Strictly Come Dancing in 2018, Brendan Cole has found himself at a loose end – and is now turning his hand to singing instead, perhaps in a bid to annoy his former bosses at the BBC.
ITV bosses are keen to sign the former Strictly rebel, as his outbursts and clawbacks made him TV gold during his time on the BBC ballroom show.
“Brendan is a big character and the bosses are sure that he will be a big draw for their audience,” an insider told The Sun.
“His Strictly fans aside, they are expecting people to tune in to see how his singing compares to his dancing.”
The source continued: “For Brendan’s part, he’s excited about the prospect of a new challenge. It’s also not lost on him that appearing on a rival channel in a big prime time slot is a bit of a two fingers up at his old bosses at the BBC.”
Brendan has showcased his fairly ropey vocals before, having taken part in the BBC’s long-forgotten Just the Two of Us in 2007, where he duetted with soul singer Beverley Knight (and managed to place second).
But luckily for Brendan (and for our eardrums), he’s not alone, as he’s teamed up with Holby City star and long-time friend Jeremy Edwards to make a “supergroup” (and we use that term in the loosest possible manner).
“Initially it started out as a bit of a novelty idea but they’re really enjoying it and have started to feel pretty optimistic about making a mark on the show,” an insider said.
Gemma Collins — NOT PERFORMING
The GC was rumoured 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.”
To give her her dues, Collins is actually a fairly tuneful singer – she appeared on recently-canned BBC 1 show All Together Now where she belted out Dame Shirley Bassey’s Big Spender.
She also sparked rumours she was releasing her own single after she was pictured with music producer Naughty Boy, and shared snaps of herself at Simon Cowell’s Syco offices.
“We want big and exciting stars and The GC is popular and we reckon she makes entertaining viewing,” a source told the Daily Star.
“Simon has handled many divas over the years with the likes of Sharon Osbourne and Mel B, so we reckon he will be able to deal with this Essex one.”
Jenny ‘The Vixen’ Ryan
We don’t see much of what the Chasers are really like beyond the quizzing realm, but they are notably more popular when they’re outside The Chase – with Anne Hegerty winning a new legion of fans after she appeared on I’m a Celeb last year.
Jenny Ryan, who plays the fiery Vixen on the popular ITV quiz, is thought to be debuting her secret singing talents after reportedly signing for Celebrity X Factor.
You can catch a snippet of Ryan in action in this clip from Let’s Sing and Dance for Comic Relief.
“If people are surprised by the name, they’ll be even more taken aback by just how good Jenny’s voice is,” a TV insider told The Sun.
“She might just turn out to be the dark horse of Celebrity X Factor.”
You may not instantly recognise the name, but you’ll definitely recognise the voice; Olson was the young girl who belted out All I Want for Christmas is You in 2003’s Christmas classic Love Actually.
Now fifteen years older, the former child star has reportedly signed up for the Celebrity X Factor to wow us with her voice once more.
“Bosses wanted to vary the line-up with a mixture of celebrities and thought Olivia would be a great shout. They have been in talks with her and it’s looking likely she will sign up for the show,” insiders told The Sun.
“She has a fantastic voice and as soon as the clip from Love Actually is shown, people will instantly recognise her.”
Olson is no stranger to singing, having released her own EP in 2013 and regularly posting on her YouTube channel.
Simon Cowell has been vocal about how much he’d like fellow Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams to take part in the show – and it appears Walliams is up for the new challenge.
Jokingly telling RadioTimes.com at the Bafta TV awards that he’d “love to kill the X Factor format forever”, he added, “I’ve mentioned it to [Simon]. I cannot sing a note, so I’d fit in very well. It would be fun.
“I don’t know if it’s going to happen but I would love to be on it. I’ve always loved The X Factor. I got to be on it last year with Robbie Williams at Judges’ Houses so I would love to be on that stage, doing a duet with Wagner.”
Former Doctor Who star John Barrowman has thrown his hat into the Celebrity X Factor ring, saying performing on the show would be “fun”.
Barrowman is no stranger to keeping a tune, having previously performed both in the West End and on Broadway in shows such as Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera and Sunset Boulevard.
He has also released eight studio albums as well as three compilation albums showcasing his voice – making him almost an ideal choice for the show.
“I’d love to do it,” he told the Metro. “It’s one of those things where if I’m asked I’d do it, like anything, I’d do it at the drop of a hat as long as I know I’m gonna have fun doing it.”
Love Island supergroup
When we heard Love Island’s Eyal Booker was forming a supergroup with other Islanders from series four, we thought, “rah”.
“Smell my beads” Eyal, who previously performed in long-forgotten pop group EverYoung, is reportedly teaming up with Samira Mighty, Wes Nelson and Zara McDermott to form a supergroup who hope to take Celebrity X Factor by storm.
“Show boss Simon Cowell has long-admired Love Island and its pulling power. So when the idea of a Love Island supergroup was raised he thought it was great,” said an insider to The Sun.
“They’re not signed yet, but the four have been discussing songs and how they’d approach the show, so it looks very likely. They’re all confident that they can hold a tune.”
The former TOWIE star turned country music crooner was one of the first names initially in the mix for Celebrity X Factor.
It wouldn’t be the first time McKenna performed in front of Cowell and co, having originally tried out for Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 as part of “Harmony” – a two-piece girl group that made it to the semi-finals.
She then tried out for the X Factor in 2014 and 2015, but was eliminated at bootcamp.
However, McKenna is coy about whether she’s signed up, saying on ITV’s Loose Women. “I’d seen [the rumours] as well. I mean, I love that show. But I don’t know anything about that. But I do love that show, it’s amazing.”
We wouldn’t be too surprised if Jones signed on, after all the TV hardman and former footballer released a solo album, Respect, in 2002.
In fact, the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels star even appeared on Top of The Pops that same year.
Rugby Supergroup – Thom Evans, Ben Foden and Levi Davis
Fun fact: Thom, a former Scottish rugby union star, used to be in a band called (disastrously) Twen2y4se7en, which supported the likes of Peter Andre and Westlife.
Combine Thom with Foden – nicknamed “pop idol” for missing a day’s training to audition for the ITV talent contest – and Davis, who studied at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute in Bristol, and you get a very strong group.
And that’s what we’re set to see on screen, according to The Mirror.
Glee star McHale is no stranger to grabbing the mic having played Artie Abrams in the hit musical drama from 2009 to 2015. The US star has signed up to put his talents to the test on the upcoming celeb contest, according to The Sun.
McHale’s credentials also include boyband NLT (Not Like Them), as well as a solo career which saw him drop single Help Me Now in April 2019.