The X Factor has undergone a huge revamp for 2019, seeing the civilian series scrapped in favour for two smaller spin-offs; but even in the midst of this, it seems plans have changed again.
The long-awaited The X Factor: All Stars, which would have seen former favourites and X Factor winners battle it out to be crowned the ultimate winner, has now been shelved in favour of The X Factor: The Band.
So… just what’s happening? Here’s everything we know….
When is The X Factor: The Band final on TV?
The X Factor: The Band live final is taking place from 8:10pm on Sunday 15th December.
What’s The X Factor: The Band about?
Exactly what it says on the tin – Simon Cowell is looking to find the next big pop group.
But with the sudden change in date, Cowell has now set himself the mammoth task of putting the band together in record time – pitting girls against boys in a format not too dissimilar to early naughties show Popstars: The Rivals.
After auditioning in Cowell's office, our hopefuls then go on to perform in the arena auditions in Birmingham, where they will be sorted into bands and compete against each other in a bid to win a record contract.
A spokesman for the show told RadioTimes.com: “Simon Cowell and The X Factor have discovered some of the biggest pop groups in history, including One Direction, Fifth Harmony and Little Mix. Now the aim is to find the new superstar group – though now in record-breaking time.”
Cowell himself has said he’s hoping to find a band so big they can rival the huge success of K-Pop band BTS.
“K-Pop is ruling the world. This is a show to find a band to launch UK-Pop. It’s more than winning a record contract, it’s starting a new music wave,” he said.
“Every group will be put together by us — just like One Direction, Little Mix and Fifth Harmony. It’s people who represent Britain’s version of K-Pop.”
Some fans have pointed out that The X Factor: The Band is remarkably similar to Little Mix’s upcoming show The Search, where the former X Factor winners will mentor hopefuls to become part of an all-male, all-female or mixed band.
But Cowell has cleared up any confusion that may have caused.
“This is what really happened. I was approached to co-produce that 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 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. It 100 per cent makes it more exciting there being a battle.”
Who are the judges on The X Factor: The Band?
Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger have since been confirmed as the only main judges for the new show – but former X Factor winner Leona Lewis will act as a guest judge during the arena auditions.
In both stages of auditions, the judges will be joined by a panel of industry experts, including 'super-producer' Naughty Boy – who has worked with stars including Beyonce – multi-platinum-selling song-writer Carla Williams, Grammy-winning producers Lil’ Eddie and Fred Ball, and Ella Eyre, who took home a Brit award with Rudimental in 2014 for their single Waiting All Night.
Show sources have also said that former X Factor judge Louis Walsh was offered a backstage role, but turned it down fearing he would be at a loose end on the series.
A source told The Sun on Sunday: “Louis had a fantastic time on X Factor: Celebrity and was confident he would be back for The Band.
“He obviously has a lot of experience working with bands such as Westlife.
“But Simon had other ideas. He felt it would make more sense to have him mentoring the boys and Nicole looking after the girls. Louis was offered a role as an advisor, but it was clear there was no real job so he turned the offer down.
"Louis respects the producers’ decision and knows they do what is best for the show. There is certainly no bad blood or fallout.”
Who are the contestants for The X Factor: The Band?
Pitting boys against girls, The X Factor: The Band sees a whole host of young hopefuls hoping to be part of the next big thing – including Tallia Storm, who already has a fairly high profile...
How do you get tickets for The X Factor: The Band?
Tickets for the live arena shows in Birmingham are available for free on ApplauseStore.
What happened to The X Factor: All Stars?
The show hasn’t been cancelled for good, only shelved until 2020.
“There is every possibility next year there could be three X Factor shows — Celebrity, All Stars and another group show,” Cowell said.
However, other reports have suggested Cowell was forced to pull All Stars from schedules after failing to sign up big names.
A TV source allegedly told The Mirror: "He has struggled to get anyone to take part in All Stars.
"Simon has really rolled his sleeves up and is determined to make both the current series and X Factor: The Band a big success. He is more focused on work than he has been in years."
The X Factor: The Band launches on ITV at 8:30pm on December 9th