For the first time ever this year’s X Factor will see the Judges’ Houses broadcast live, but show bosses are unconcerned about the odd hiccup.
After all, with four camera crews decamping to various parts of the world to follow judges Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw as they choose their finalists, something’s bound to go wrong, right? The sound could cut out, the heavens could open, someone could stroll past the camera in a Borat-style ‘mankini’. Heck, Louis Walsh could turn up yelling about who he thinks the next big pop star is.
“Viewers don’t mind the odd quirk,” a show insider told RadioTimes.com. “In a way, the main live shows are so well produced, people have forgotten they’re live. People will tune into live Judges’ Houses to see if it can be carried off.
“The way we see it, apart from scripted drama, people want live TV as much as possible,” the source added. The current plan is to live broadcast the performances from the acts and the moment they’re told whether they’ve made it through to the next stage. Yes, the bit with all the tears. Imagine trying to get Rylan to stop sobbing before the adverts roll…
The thinking at the moment is to have new hosts Olly Murs and Caroline Flack anchor the live broadcast from London, as the show hops between the various locations. But that throws up its own issues: who will be on hand to dish out the hugs on the ground? Someone’s got to be there to earn a mascara-covered shoulder, right?
But even if Olly and Caroline did hop on a plane, they wouldn’t be able to cover the four locations themselves. If Xtra Factor’s new duo Rochelle Humes and Melvin Odoom were drafted in – in order for the four hosts to take a location each – who would be back in London? “It’s not decided yet,” I’m told, with last minute decisions common ground for the production team. Perhaps, as he joked, Grimshaw really could end up in Oldham – it would certainly make the logistics of one location a good deal simpler.
The decision to make Judges’ Houses live follows various format shake-ups for this twelfth outing of the singing contest. Some intentional – such as the return to the opening arena auditions – and others as a result of scheduling. This includes at least three bumper live Sunday shows to avoid Saturday night clashes with ITV’s coverage of the Rugby World Cup later this year.
But hey, the main thing I’m looking forward to? Simon Cowell’s genuine live reaction to Sinitta’s latest outfit…
The X Factor returns later this year on ITV