Over the years there have been some rather left-field names linked to The X Factor.
But 2018 might just see the biggest surprise of the lot, as Ayda Field – actress and wife of Robbie Williams – was confirmed as one of the four X Factor judges on the ITV show alongside Simon Cowell, former One Direction star Louis Tomlinson and, of course, her husband Robbie.
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For a show all about singing and finding the next musical talent, why is Ayda – who has no music experience of note – in one of the seats?
At a press conference announcing the judging line-up, RadioTimes.com asked how Ayda – who is referred to on the show as Ayda Williams, despite not officially having taken Robbie’s name – would respond to people questioning why she’s on the show, and here’s what she had to say:
“I think I’m OK with that. I’m here to find some great talent and make some great TV. So that’s really my focus. I want to help someone achieve their dreams, so whatever someone wants to say, that makes it more exciting because if it wasn’t a challenge it wouldn’t be much fun.
“So I’m excited to be the underdog and show the boys how it’s done,” she concluded.
The Loose Women panelist also said she was “surprised” and “excited” to be joining the show, but felt as though her experience auditioning for roles would help her connect with the contestants.
“On a professional level, I’ve auditioned for years,” she explained. “I’ve been through the highs and lows and I know what it’s like to have the stakes high. I know what it’s like to get the job – and I also know what it’s like to lose the job.
“I’ve been with Rob now for 12 years and I’ve been every step of the way with him. I have a huge amount of empathy for the process and I know what it takes, from creating the songs to putting them out there to promoting the live shows.
“It’s a very emotional process and I feel like I’m excited to be that rock and that stability and that guidance for my group, and to help some people out and help them achieve their dreams. I’m really excited about that.”
Meanwhile Robbie added that his wife was “a member of the general public, too” and that the public “never get it wrong”.
“It’s a fallacy to think anybody knows a magic formula for what does or doesn’t make a popstar,” the former Take That singer explained.
“So if you got anybody from the street, their opinion would be as valid as ours would be too. The general public always get it right.”
Simon Cowell gushed that Ayda had a “a passion about people doing well, and an optimism. The whole idea this year was to make this an optimistic panel.”
The X Factor returns to ITV in the autumn