The Six Chair Challenge returns to X Factor next weekend, which means things are about to get dramatic. And brutal. And really very loud.
The format was introduced to The X Factor in 2013, dubbed ‘the ultimate game of musical chairs’. It sees the acts perform for the judges again in the hope of being awarded one of six chairs in their category. A seat secures them a spot in the next round, Judges’ Houses. However, the nail-biting twist is that the judges are able to switch singers out of the seats if they deem another singer to be better.
This all takes place at Wembley Arena, where the crowd are encouraged to yell and scream about who they want to see swapped and saved. Yep, it’s a loud one.
As this year’s crop of hopefuls prepare themselves for the nerve-shredding challenge, here’s a taste of what to expect as we pick out some of the most dramatic moments from previous series:
Cheryl says this is her “biggest regret” from last year’s series. When Monica Michael (who has returned this year) performed Olly Murs’s Troublemaker, the Girls category mentor opted not to give her a seat. The Wembley crowd was not happy, Cheryl later described the whole Six Chairs experience as “hell”.
New Girl Group, Pow Pow Girls and Overload Generation
The stage could hardly be seen as Louis Walsh set about choosing which groups would go through to Judges’ Houses last year. But when it came to the last seat, Walsh couldn’t decide, so asked New Girl Group (put together by the judges) Pow, Pow Girls and eventual Wildcard act Overload Generation to sing again. Cue a lot of tears and panic as the final seat was taken.
In 2013, returning contestant Joseph Whelan thought his time was up when Sharon Osbourne’s seats were full, getting up and walking away from his chair as the judge pondered who to swap out in place of Zoe Devlin. He got a stern ticking off from Osbourne – “Sit down Joseph, sit down!” – as Mrs O came to her conclusion…
Even host Dermot O’Leary couldn’t hide his surprise when “tough judge” Mel B told hopeful Ben Quinlan to get off the stage without a moment’s thought during last year’s series. “Ben, I can’t give you a seat. Sorry. That’s really simple for me. I can’t. I cannot give you that seat. No, get off,” Mel said. “Absolutely brutal,” said O’Leary. “No deliberations, get off the stage. She’s a tough judge.”
There were even higher emotions during Cheryl’s Six Chair Challenge last year when the judge decided to swap Chloe Jasmine into her top six after it seemed like she had already completed her line-up. The crowd didn’t know what was going on, the other judges were confused and O’Leary appeared to be watching with the same expression as those of us at home (aka open-mouthed).
The X Factor Six Chair Challenge returns Sunday October 4th at 7:00pm on ITV