The X Factor is currently undergoing its biggest revamp yet, with the civilian talent contest being shelved in favour of two spin-off versions.
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With a “champions” series made up of previous X Factor contestants expected to take place later this year, Simon Cowell is also backing a celebrity version.
But the music mogul is keen to assuage worries that it will simply be a rehash of 2006’s much-maligned Battle of the Stars, having previously made clear that he is looking for viable stars who can forge a career in music.
“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 told The Mirror.
And now reports suggest that Cowell is really putting his money where his mouth is, offering a supposed £3 million record deal, and a shot at the Christmas number one, to the winner.
“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,” a source told The Sun.
“It’s a proper competition and they want people who can really sing but who are big personalities too.”
While no names have been officially attached to the project, Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams is being eyed up by Cowell, with Cowell saying his inclusion in the show would be “amazing.”
Amanda Holden and Gemma Collins are also reportedly being considered.
Cowell will also be looking for a new set of judges to mentor the contestants, after Robbie Williams and Ayda Field announced they were stepping down from the roles after just one series.
Fellow panellist Louis Tomlinson has also hinted he may quit the programme to focus on a new album.
The X Factor returns to ITV later this year