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Why The X Factor Judges’ Houses round shouldn’t go live

It’s a well-oiled machine that doesn’t need to be tampered with, says Emma Daly

Published: Tuesday, 19th May 2015 at 4:52 pm

Rumour has it Simon Cowell wants to make this year’s X Factor Judges’ Houses a live broadcast. 


Judges’ Houses is the bit, as you probably know, where the mentors whizz their acts off to ever more glamorous locations to tell them whether they’ve made it through to the live shows or not. There’s always a lot of crying. And some 'surprise' guests. Sinitta, for instance. Plus some lovely shots of the beach that make you wish you were there.

Making Judges' Houses live would be an “exciting innovation” that would “make for real event TV”, a source told the Mirror, although the show's representatives themselves are remaining tight-lipped on any changes happening this year.

Hopefully there's nothing to tell, because this part of the show doesn’t need to be live – Judges’ Houses is already quite the event...

By this stage of the competition you’ve got to know some of the singers and are aware that if they don’t get through, well, they won’t get to fulfil the life-long dream that they’ve had for at least four years.

You get to find out where everyone’s flown to, which means you can be totally nosy. Whether that’s because the judges are actually in their own house (usually Simon still does this) or because you can Google the hotel they’ve pitched up in. Yes, Louis Walsh really did stay in a pink hotel in Bermuda last year.

Then there's the tension as the judges break the news to their singers. They do the classic move of making it seem like they’re not through when they actually are: ‘I'm afraid to say, you are not... not in my top three – you're staying!’. You can see the sign posts a mile off. The music guides you through the highs and lows. You all but know who’s going to get a yes or a no. But it’s brilliant. Glamour and drama filled.

It’s a well-oiled machine. But that’s by the time it makes it through edit. It would surely be a logistical nightmare to actually make it live? It seems likely ‘live’ would mean just bits of it, but even that would mean four camera crews needed in various locations around the world. That’s a lot of things that could go wrong.

The weather, for one thing, could cause havoc. Louis had to ditch his ideas of a beach-based reveal last year after the heavens opened in Bermuda.

Members of the public on their hollibobs watched on as Nicole Scherzinger made her mind up in Antigua the year before. Make the show live and one of them might fancy their own fifteen minutes of fame and casually stroll in front of the camera during a critical moment…

And although there are two hosts instead of one this year, Caroline and Olly still couldn't split themselves in two to cover four locations at once. And they’ve got to be there to dish out the hugs, right?

No, let’s leave Judges’ Houses the carefully edited spectacle that it is and get back to more pressing matters – like letting us know who this year’s judges actually are…


The X Factor returns later this year on ITV


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