The X Factor is back – reminding us the unscripted moments are what it’s all about

When the editing lets up and the judges are let loose the show delivers on its playful promises for this thirteenth outing, says Emma Daly


The X Factor 2016 mega mix of familiar judges and presenters has been thrust upon us with promises of fun, fun, fun. Coming from a show heading from a wobbly twelfth series into a possibly unlucky thirteenth, it’s hard not to fear this’ll be up there with the sort of ‘fun’ days your grandparents promised, which ended up being tours of ‘educational’ clock museums. But, having seen highlights of the first two episodes with Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh (who you’ll immediately forget ever left) they actually look to be on track.


Put to one side the painfully awkward opening montage of young wannabe singers mooning at clips of Leona Lewis and co because, to be frank, that all just feels a bit pompous. It’s the impromptu moments that are key here.


Sure the sob stories remain. Cowell gets to do one of his rallying speeches about bullies and there’s a lot of zooming in on teary judges.

But leave the cameras running backstage with the judges and you find Mrs O trying to figure out how many facelifts she’s had. Watch as production leaves a nails-on-chalk-board kind of song running so long that a furious Cowell is looking for a hammer to start smashing things with. Hone in on Scherzinger and Cowell (this year, back in the room auditions) and watch as he gets her to sing Adele’s Hello in the style of Kermit the Frog.

Heck, shove the cameras on Scherzinger at any time because even she seems surprised by the things that come out of her mouth, which includes telling one slightly bemused singer from Finland that she wants her “ass to clap” for her.

That’s The X Factor we want: unpolished, unfussy and – yes – actually funny.


The X Factor returns Saturday and Sunday at 8:00pm on ITV