ITV confirms X Factor: The Band will search for pop group - “in record-breaking time"
Simon Cowell is replacing the originally slated The X Factor: All Stars show with what appears to be a direct rival to Little Mix's upcoming BBC1 series The Search
2019 has already been a year of big change for The X Factor, with the inaugural edition of The X Factor: Celebrity replacing the show's traditional format, and an all-star version of the show slated to follow – but now there is even more change afoot.
ITV has confirmed the launch of The X Factor: The Band, a new series that will embark on a search for a girl group or boy band, and which will replace The X Factor: All Stars which was expected later this year.
A spokesman told RadioTimes.com, "We are hugely excited to confirm The X Factor: The Band to air in December 2019 on ITV" but admitted that the sudden U-turn meant the search would have to be completed "in record-breaking time".
"Simon Cowell and The X Factor have discovered some of the biggest pop groups in history, including One Direction, Fifth Harmony and Little Mix," said the spokesperson. "Now the aim is to find the new superstar group – though now in record-breaking time.”
Another point of intrigue in the decision is the fact that X Factor: The Band will be embarking on a very similar mission to a show called The Search, which had originally been set to launch on BBC1 in early 2020, fronted by X Factor success story Little Mix.
Cowell said that he had come up the format independently before the girl band and had originally been approached to produce The Search.
“I was asked to co-produce the show last year by Little Mix’s management,” he told The Sun.
“I told them the problem was we have a conflict of interest because we are launching The X Factor: The Band in 2020. We were told their show was going to launch in 2021.
“Then we had the fallout and find out Little Mix were bringing their show forward. Was that intentional because we are doing our show? I have no idea.
“But regardless, it was too much fun not to do this year. I would rather it was us doing it first.”
And Cowell is clearly relishing the competition – saying that it will be more exciting having a battle.
The X Factor: The Band also looks likely to include a refreshed judging panel, with Louis Walsh and Paula Abdul, who had been signed for the All Stars show, not expected to appear.
Auditions for the show are likely to start soon, with the live finals set to take place in early December at Birmingham Arena.
In the meantime, The X Factor: Celebrity continues, with soap duo Victoria Ekanoye and Jonny Labey the latest to be sent home in dramatic circumstances this weekend.