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The X Factor
XFactorTitles.jpg
The X Factor logo (2006 – present)
Format Interactive reality talent show
Created by Simon Cowell
Creative director(s) Brian Friedman
Presented by Dermot O'Leary (2007—)
Kate Thornton (2004–06)
Judges Simon Cowell (2004—)
Dannii Minogue (2007—)
Louis Walsh (2004—)
Cheryl Cole(2008 -)
Sharon Osbourne (2004–07)
Voices of Peter Dickson
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 6
No. of episodes 167
(as of 13 December 2009)
Production
Producer(s) talkbackTHAMES
FremantleMedia
SYCOtv
Location(s) Fountain Studios
Running time 60–120 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel ITV1, STV, UTV, TV3)
Picture format 16:9
Original run 4 September 2004 – present
Chronology
Related shows The Xtra Factor
External links
Official website

The X Factor is a British television singing competition contested by aspiring singers drawn from public auditions. It is the originator of the international X Factor franchise. The show is broadcast on the ITV network in the United Kingdom and on TV3 in Ireland, with spin-off "behind-the-scenes" shows The Xtra Factor and The X Factor 24/7 screened on ITV2 and TV3. The six series of the show to date have aired from August/September through to December. The show is produced by FremantleMedia's talkbackTHAMES and Simon Cowell's production company SYCOtv and is currently sponsored by TalkTalk[1] in the UK and Domino's Pizza in Ireland. The "X Factor" of the title refers to the undefinable "something" that makes for star quality.[2]

The X Factor was devised as a replacement for the highly successful Pop Idol, which was put on indefinite hiatus after its second series, largely because Simon Cowell wished to launch a show that he owned the television rights to. The perceived similarity between the shows later became the subject of a legal dispute. The X Factor winner receives a recording contract with record label Syco with a stated value of £1,000,000. This includes a cash payment to the winner, but the majority is allocated to marketing and recording costs.[3] The show is the biggest television talent competition in Europe and has proved hugely popular with the public. Series 6 attracted 200,000 auditionees[4] and peaked at 19.7 million UK viewers (a 63.2% audience share).[5] 10 million votes were cast in the series 6 final.[6]

In the initial televised audition phase of the show, contestants sing in front of the judges – currently Simon Cowell Louis Walsh Cheryl Cole and a guest judge – and, from series 6, a live audience, in the hope of getting through to the "boot camp" round. After a further selection process, the judges are each given a category to mentor and the chosen finalists then progress to the final phase of the competition, during which the public vote for their favourite act following weekly live performances by the contestants. There have been six winners to date: Steve Brookstein, Shayne Ward, Leona Lewis, Leon Jackson, Alexandra Burke and Joe McElderry. The winning contestant's single is released in time for the end of year chart battle for the UK's Christmas number one, a spot which it gained in four successive years from 2005 to 2008. In total, 14 number one singles have been released by artists who have appeared on the show.

The X Factor format has been adopted in a number of other countries. Local versions of the format have become successful throughout the world, most notably in Denmark and the Netherlands, where two series have been shown and a third is expected, as well as in Italy, Spain, Colombia, Portugal and India. However, the original British version has not been broadcast in any other country (except Ireland) due to unresolved rights issues. Television stations in the Scandinavian countries have expressed an interest in showing the UK version but not been able to acquire the rights.

Contents

Series summary

To date, six series have aired, as summarised below.

     Male[a] contestant aged 16[b] to 24           Female[a] contestant aged 16[b] to 24           Contestant aged 25 or over           Group or duo

  Air dates Winner Runner-up Third place Main host UK sponsor Judges
Series 1 4 September –
11 December 2004
Steve Brookstein G4 Tabby Callaghan Kate Thornton Nokia[7] Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh
Series 2 20 August –
17 December 2005
Shayne Ward Andy Abraham Journey South Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh
Series 3 19 August –
16 December 2006
Leona Lewis Ray Quinn Ben Mills Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh
Paula Abdul (London auditions)
Series 4 18 August 2007 –
15 December 2007
Leon Jackson Rhydian Roberts Same Difference Dermot O'Leary The Carphone Warehouse Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh, Dannii Minogue
Brian Friedman (London auditons)
Series 5 16 August –
13 December 2008
Alexandra Burke JLS Eoghan Quigg Simon Cowell, Dannii Minogue, Louis Walsh, Cheryl Cole
Series 6 22 August –
13 December 2009
Joe McElderry Olly Murs Stacey Solomon TalkTalk Simon Cowell, Dannii Minogue, Louis Walsh, Cheryl Cole
Notes
a. ^ In series 1 to 3 the category was contestants aged 16 to 24; this was then split into girls and boys from series 4.
b. ^ In series 4 and 5 the age limit was lowered to 14. From series 6 the age limit returned to 16.

A celebrity special edition, The X Factor: Battle of the Stars, aired from 29 May to 5 June 2006. It was won by actress Lucy Benjamin.

The first appeal for contestants to take part in series 7 aired on Saturday 5 December 2009. However, in the series 6 pre-finale press conference Cowell confirmed that there was no deal in place for The X Factor in 2010. He said "We've got to get that sorted out [...] That's a conversation we'll be having next year with ITV." He also pointed out that any changes to the format would not be decided until the deal is agreed.[8]

Format

Leona Lewis won the third series of The X Factor

The show is primarily concerned with identifying singing talent, though appearance, personality, stage presence and dance routines are also an important element of many performances. The single most important attribute that the judges are seeking, however, is the ability to appeal to a mass market of pop fans.

For series 1–3 the competition was split into three categories: Solo Singers aged 16–24, Solo Singers aged 25 and over, and Vocal Groups (including duos). In series 4–5, the age limit was lowered from 16 to 14, creating a 14–24 age group. This was split into separate male and female sections, making four categories in all: 14–24 males ("Boys"), 14–24 females ("Girls"), Over 25s, and Groups. For series 6, the age limit returned to 16, meaning the four categories were: 16–24 males ("Boys"), 16–24 females ("Girls"), Over 25s, and Groups

There are five stages to The X Factor competition:

  • Stage 1: Producers' auditions (these auditions decide who will sing in front of the judges)
  • Stage 2: Judges' auditions
  • Stage 3: Boot camp
  • Stage 4: Visits to judges' houses
  • Stage 5: Live shows (finals)

Auditions

A round of first auditions is held in front of producers months before the show is aired, either by application and appointment, or at "open" auditions that anyone can attend. These auditions, held at various venues around the UK, attract very large crowds. The auditions themselves are not televised, but shots of crowds waving and "judges' cars" arriving are filmed and later spliced in with the televised auditions shot later in the year. The production team supply the crowds with "home-made" signs.[9] After waiting at the venue for hours and filming more inserts of screaming and waving, candidates are given a brief audition by someone from the production team.[9] Should they pass that audition (either for reasons of talent or for the potential of making entertaining television) they are given a "golden ticket" allowing them to sing to a more senior production member.[9] Only candidates who successfully pass that second audition are invited to perform to the judges.[9] The televised version misrepresents the process by implying that the entire huge crowds are all interviewed by the judges.[9]

A selection of the auditions in front of the judges – usually the best, the worst and the most bizarre (described by judge Louis Walsh as "the good, the bad and the ugly"[10]) – are broadcast over the first few weeks of the show. In the first five series, each act entered the audition room and delivered a stand-up unaccompanied performance of their chosen song to the judges. In series 6 (2009), the judges' auditions were held in front of a live audience – following the format of ITV's other talent show, Britain's Got Talent – and the acts sang over a backing track. If a majority of the judges (two in series 1–3 or three in series 4–6) say "yes" then the act goes through to the next stage, otherwise the act is sent home.

Over 50,000 people auditioned for series 1,[11] around 75,000 for series 2[12] and around 100,000 for series 3.[13] The number of applicants for series 4 reached 150,000,[14] 182,000[15] people auditioned for series 5, and a record 200,000 people applied for series 6.[4]

In 2010, applicants for the seventh series were given the opportunity to apply by uploading a video audition to the Internet.[16]

Boot camp and visits to judges' houses

The contestants selected at audition are further refined through a series of performances at "boot camp" (held at a venue such as a country hotel or an arena), and then at the "judges' houses", until a small number eventually progress to the live finals (nine in series 1 and twelve from series 2 onwards). Judge Louis Walsh revealed in November 2007 that the houses the contestants visit do not actually belong to the judges, but are rented for the purpose.[17]

During these stages, the producers allocate each of the judges a category to mentor. In early series this allocation took place after completion of the auditions and prior to boot camp, but from series 4 all four judges have worked together at the boot camp. They collectively choose 24 acts (six from each category) for the next round, and only then find out which category they are to mentor. The judges then disband for the "visits to the judges' houses" round, where their six acts are reduced to three for the live shows.[18][19] Series 7

Live shows

The finals consist of a series of two live shows, the first featuring the contestants' performances and the second revealing the results of the public voting, culminating in one or more acts being eliminated. Celebrity guest performers also feature regularly. These live shows are filmed at The Fountain Studios in Wembley, London. In series 1–5, both live shows aired on Saturday nights. In series 6, the results show moved to Sunday nights.

Performances

In the first few weeks of the finals, each act performs once in the first show in front of a studio audience and the judges. Acts usually sing over a pre-recorded backing track, though sometimes live musicians and backing singers are featured. Dancers are also commonly featured. Acts occasionally accompany themselves on guitar or piano (or mime an accompaniment), though almost always over a backing track.

In the first two series, acts usually chose a cover of a pop standard or contemporary hit. In the third series an innovation was introduced whereby each live show had a different theme (for example, Motown), thus increasing the show's similarity to Pop Idol. The contestants' songs are chosen according to the theme. This format has continued in subsequent series. A celebrity guest connected to the theme is often invited onto the show, and clips are shown of the guest conversing with the contestants at rehearsal. In series 1, much was made of the idea that each performer/mentor combination was free to present the performance however they wanted, including the performer playing live instruments, or the addition of choirs, backing bands, and dancers. Future series placed less emphasis on this element.

After each act has performed, the judges comment on their performance, usually focusing on vocal ability, image and stage presence. Heated disagreements, usually involving judges defending their contestants against criticism, are a regular feature of the show. Once all the acts have appeared, the phone lines open and the viewing public vote on which act they want to keep.

Results

Leon Jackson won the fourth series of the X Factor in 2007

Before the results are announced, there are live or pre-recorded performances from one or more invited celebrities – often major international pop stars. Sometimes these performers are connected with the week's theme and featured in the earlier show; other times they are unconnected. In series 6, the results show began with a group performance from the remaining contestants. This performance is not judged or voted on and does not count towards the result.

After all the build-up performances have taken place, the two acts polling the fewest votes are revealed. Both these acts perform again in a "final showdown", and the judges vote on which of the two to send home. In earlier series the bottom two contestants reprised their earlier song, but from series 5 they were able to pick new songs. Ties became possible with the introduction of a fourth judge in series 4. In the event of a tie the show goes to deadlock, and the act who came last in the public vote is sent home. The actual number of votes cast for each act is not revealed, nor even the order; according to a spokesman, "We would never reveal the voting figures during the competition as it could give contestants an unfair advantage and spoil the competition for viewers".[20] In series 3, a twist was introduced in one of the live shows where the act with the fewest votes was automatically eliminated, and the two with the next fewest votes performed in the "final showdown" as normal.

Later stages

Alexandra Burke won the fifth series in 2008

Once the number of contestants has been reduced to four (series 1 and 3) or five (series 2, 4, 5 and 6), the format changes. Each act performs twice in the first show, with the public vote opening after the first performance. The second show reveals which act polled the fewest votes, and they are automatically eliminated from the competition (the judges do not have a vote; their only role is to comment on the performances). In series 1 the acts also reprised one of their songs in the second show.

This continues until only two (series 1 and 3) or three (series 2, 4, 5 and 6) acts remain. These acts go on to appear in the grand final which decides the overall winner by public vote. In past series some of the more memorable failed auditionees from the early rounds have also returned for a special appearance in the final.

Post X Factor

The winner of the competition is awarded a recording contract, stated to be worth £1 million, with Syco in association with Sony Music Entertainment. In series 5, this deal consisted of a £150,000 cash advance with the balance covering the costs of recording and marketing.[3] Other highly placed contestants may also be offered recording deals, but this is not guaranteed.[3]

In series 1–3, the premise of The X Factor was that the winner would be managed in the industry by their mentor on the show. With music executive Cowell and managers Osbourne and Walsh as judges/mentors, any of the three would be qualified to do so. Following the appointment of singer Dannii Minogue as a judge in series 4, the same principle could not universally apply. In fact, when Minogue won series 4 with Leon Jackson, a new, outside manager was appointed. It is still believed that if Cowell or Walsh win a future series then they are entitled to manage their act in the industry.

Judges and presenters

Judges

Sharon Osbourne was a judge on the show from series 1 to 4
Dermot O'Leary has presented the show since series 4

From series 1 to 3, the X Factor judges were music executive and TV producer Simon Cowell, music manager and TV personality Sharon Osbourne and music manager Louis Walsh. Pop singer, dancer and TV personality Paula Abdul was a special guest judge at the series 3 London auditions.[21]

After the third series, Walsh was dropped from the show, being replaced by American choreographer Brian Friedman and Australian singer and actress Dannii Minogue. After a week, however, Friedman was re-assigned the role of Creative Director because Simon Cowell believed the judging panel was not working. Walsh then resumed his place on the panel, and the series 4 judging lineup was finally confirmed in June 2007 as Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh and Dannii Minogue. On 15 December 2007, Dannii Minogue became the first female judge to win after her series 4 victory with Leon Jackson.

Speculation surrounded judging lineup changes for series 5, centring on whether or not Sharon Osbourne would return. On 6 June 2008 (six days before filming for series 5 was due to begin), ITV confirmed that Osbourne had left the show,[22] and Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole was confirmed as her replacement four days later. It was confirmed that a number of other artists and producers had been approached regarding Osbourne's replacement, including former Spice Girl Melanie Brown, Paula Abdul, Sinitta, and former Pop Idol judge Pete Waterman.[23][24] Osbourne stated that she left The X Factor because she did not enjoy working with Dannii Minogue.[25][26]

During series 5 it was rumoured that judge Dannii Minogue would leave the show after the series' conclusion, and that Sharon Osbourne would return to replace her in series 6. These rumours continued during the lead-up to series 6. Others tipped to replace Minogue included Robbie Williams, Victoria Beckham, Charlotte Church, Lily Allen, Sinitta and Randy Jackson.[27][28] Simon Cowell reportedly held discussions about model Kate Moss joining the show as the contestants' "stylist".[29] However, Minogue did not leave and all four judges from series 5 returned for series 6.[30] On 13 December 2009, Cheryl Cole became the first judge to win two series in a row after her victories in series 5 with Alexandra Burke and series 6 with Joe McElderry.

The judges' appearance on screen is accompanied by several pieces of music including Tomoyasu Hotei's Battle Without Honor Or Humanity, Craig Armstrong's O Verona, O Fortuna from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana and Come With Me by Puff Daddy and Jimmy Page.[citation needed]

Presenters and coaches

The show was hosted up to series 3 by Kate Thornton. Thornton was replaced from series 4 by Dermot O'Leary who signed a contract worth £1 million to present two series of the programme on ITV1. O'Leary was not forced to leave the Big Brother franchise and continued to present Big Brother sister shows during summer 2007. However, Dermot announced that Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack was to be his last Big Brother hosting role so he could focus on presenting The X Factor.

Brian Friedman has continued in his role as performance coach and choreographer (billed as "Creative Director") since series 4. Yvie Burnett has been X Factor vocal coach since series 2. Voice-overs are provided by Peter Dickson and Enn Reitel.

For information about The Xtra Factor presenters, see The Xtra Factor below.

Judges' categories and their finalists

In each series, each judge is allocated a category to mentor and chooses a small number of acts (three or four, depending on the series) to progress to the live finals. This table shows, for each series, which category each judge was allocated and which acts he or she put through to the live finals.

Key:

     – Winning judge/category. Winners are in bold, other contestants in small font.
Series Simon Cowell Louis Walsh Sharon Osbourne Dannii Minogue Cheryl Cole
One Over 25s
Steve Brookstein
Rowetta Satchell
Verity Keays
Groups
G4
Voices With Soul
2 to go
16-24s
Tabby Callaghan
Cassie Compton
Roberta Howett
N/A N/A
Two Groups
Journey South
The Conway Sisters
4Tune
Addictiv Ladies
16-24s
Shayne Ward
Nicholas Dorsett
Chenai Zinyuku
Phillip Magee
Over 25s
Andy Abraham
Brenda Edwards
Chico Slimani
Maria Lawson
Three 16-24s
Leona Lewis
Ray Quinn
Nikitta Angus
Ashley McKenzie
Groups
The MacDonald Brothers
Eton Road
4Sure
The Unconventionals
Over 25s
Ben Mills
Robert Allen
Kerry McGregor
Dionne Mitchell
Four Groups
Same Difference
Hope
Futureproof
Over 25s
Niki Evans
Beverley Trotman
Daniel DeBourg
Girls
Alisha Bennett
Emily Nakanda
Kimberley Southwick
Boys
Leon Jackson
Rhydian Roberts
Andy Williams
Five Boys
Eoghan Quigg
Austin Drage
Scott Bruton
Groups
JLS
Girlband
Bad Lashes
N/A Over 25s
Ruth Lorenzo
Rachel Hylton
Daniel Evans
Girls
Alexandra Burke
Diana Vickers
Laura White
Six[31] Over 25s
Olly Murs
Danyl Johnson
Jamie Archer
Groups
John & Edward
Miss Frank
Kandy Rain
Girls
Stacey Solomon
Lucie Jones
Rachel Adedeji
Boys
Joe McElderry
Lloyd Daniels
Rikki Loney

Reception

Ratings and awards

Viewing figures of around 10 million were claimed for series 2 and 4, and 11 to 12 million for series 5.[citation needed] Over three million public votes were cast in the series 2 semi-final, and six million in the first part of the final. The series 3 final attracted eight million votes and 12.6 million viewers.[32] The series 4 final drew 12.7 million viewers – a 55% share of the terrestrial TV audience.[33] In series 5, 12.8 million tuned in to see the 29 November 2008 show featuring guest Britney Spears, a new X Factor record.[34] The series 5 final peaked with 14.6 million viewers,[35] and the series 6 final topped this with 19.7 million viewers (a 63.2% audience share)[5] and 10 million votes cast.[36]

At the British Comedy Awards 2005, The X Factor beat Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway to take the award for Best Comedy Entertainment Programme, prompting Simon Cowell to remark "We're not a comedy programme, we're a serious factual drama".[37] In both 2005 and 2006, The X Factor won the award for "Most Popular Entertainment Programme" at the National Television Awards.[citation needed] At the same awards in 2007 the show won the "Most Popular Talent Show" category.[citation needed] In 2008 it lost out to Strictly Come Dancing at the TV Quick Awards, TRIC Awards and National Television Awards, despite beating it in the ratings.[citation needed] In 2009, The X Factor won "Best Talent Show" at the National Television Awards.[citation needed]

The BBC's rival talent show Strictly Come Dancing initially beat The X Factor in viewing figures, although in recent years The X Factor has reversed this trend, and when the shows went head-to-head for the first time The X Factor attracted a larger audience share.[38] It rates as ITV's most popular programme whilst it airs, and is the first format (along with Britain's Got Talent) in years to knock Coronation Street off the top.

Series averages

The show's viewing figures have generally trended up each series. However, this was not the case for series 2 and 3, when the former attracted more viewers than the latter.

Series Series premiere Series finale Episodes
(inc. results shows)
Average UK Viewers
in millions
(inc. results shows)
Series 1 4 September 2004 11 December 2004 23 6.90
Series 2 20 August 2005 17 December 2005 30 8.72
Series 3 19 August 2006 16 December 2006 26 8.02
Series 4 18 August 2007 15 December 2007 27 8.35
Series 5 16 August 2008 13 December 2008 30 10.50
Series 6 22 August 2009 13 December 2009 31 13.31
  • All information in this table comes from BARB.

Controversy and criticism

The X Factor has, from the outset, attracted its fair share of criticism. Recurring allegations are: that the excessive commercialism of the show detracts from of its supposed purpose of unearthing musical talent and even actively damages and distorts the UK music industry[39]; that auditionees at mass auditions are shabbily treated; that controversy is deliberately courted and orchestrated, and supposedly spontaneous scenes are staged and scripted; that problems with phone lines leave members of the public unable to vote for their favourite acts; and that contestants are manipulated and unfairly edited.

This criticism became very public in 2009 when an internet campaign targeted against The X Factor and its effect on British music took Rage Against the Machine to the Christmas number one spot at the expense of the X Factor winner's single by Joe McElderry.[40]

Ireland

The first series was available to viewers only through the Northern Ireland-based ITV station UTV which is widely available in the Republic, but subsequent series have also been shown on Ireland's terrestrial TV station TV3.

Series 1–4 of the "UK" version of The X Factor effectively included Irish viewers on an equal footing, and Irish viewers were able to vote in these series via SMS or telephone. However for series 5 in 2008, the decision was made to discontinue Irish voting, with the decision being blamed on new regulations introduced regarding phone competitions in the UK.

The show has held auditions in Dublin and Belfast for only the first 3 series, with Belfast auditions continuing for series 4 before being dropped.

Irish acts have reached the finals in series 1 (Tabby Callaghan and Roberta Howett), series 2 (The Conway Sisters) and in series 6 (John and Edward Grimes). Northern Irish finalists have included Phillip Magee (series 2) and Eoghan Quigg (series 5). Irish singers can still audition, as shown when Dublin twins John & Edward made the live finals of series 6, but had to audition in Glasgow.

The Xtra Factor is a companion show that airs on digital channel ITV2 and on TV3 Ireland on Saturday and Sunday nights after the main ITV1 show. It features behind-the-scenes footage of The X Factor and shows the emotional responses of the contestants after the judges comment on their performances. The commissioning of The Xtra Factor was prompted by the success of Big Brother's Little Brother,[citation needed] a Big Brother companion show screened on E4.

The Xtra Factor was hosted up to series 3 by Ben Shephard[41]. The voiceover on series 1 to 3 was Peter Dickson. Shephard did not return for series 4 after being upset at not getting the main ITV presenting job,[42][43] and Fearne Cotton took over as host, for the fourth series only, before leaving the show to concentrate on her career in the US.[44][45] Allegations of a falling-out with Simon Cowell were also reported.[46] For series 5, Cotton was replaced by presenter and close friend, Holly Willoughby.[47][48][49] Willoughby first presented The Xtra Factor on 9 August 2008, a week before series 5 began airing. The first show recapped on series 4 of The X Factor and revisited the series 4 finalists.

Cameras follow the finalists during their day, and in early series some of the footage was aired in a spin-off show The Xtra Factor: The Aftermath, which was broadcast in the middle of the week on ITV2. The Xtra Factor: Xcess All Areas was a live show in which there were interviews, games and trips around the contestants' homes. The show also let viewers know which songs the contestants would be singing in the next live show. Both shows were axed after series 3 due to ITV2 cutting back on spin-off programing.

Each year after the series has come to an end, The Xtra Factor has a week of special programmes titled Best and Worst, featuring the best and worst auditions from the previous series, ranging from 2 to 5 episodes each year.

A 60-minute special titled The Winner's Story airs each year over the festive period, featuring the winner of that year's X Factor. Cameras follow the winner from the announcement of the result through the lead-up to the Christmas No. 1.

The X Factor Live

The X Factor Live is a live show that tours the UK and Ireland in the new year, following the conclusion of the TV series. It features an array of finalists and other memorable contestants from the most recent X Factor series.

The X Factor: Battle of the Stars

Main article and detailed results: The X Factor: Battle of the Stars
The X Factor: Battle of the Stars logo

The X Factor: Battle of the Stars was a celebrity special edition of The X Factor, which screened on ITV, starting on 29 May 2006 and lasting for eight consecutive nights. Pop Idol was meant to air in its place as Celebrity Pop Idol but was stopped shortly before transmission, when ITV picked The X Factor over it.

Nine celebrity acts participated, singing live in front of the nation and facing the judges of the previous The X Factor series, Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh. Voting revenues were donated to the celebrities' chosen charities.

The contestants were Michelle Marsh, Nikki Sanderson, Matt Stevens, Lucy Benjamin, Gillian McKeith, Chris Moyles, Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee, James Hewitt and Rebecca Loos, and "The Chefs", a quartet of celebrity chefs comprising Jean-Christophe Novelli, Aldo Zilli, Paul Rankin and Ross Burden.

The winner of the show was Lucy Benjamin, mentored by Louis Walsh.[50]

It was reported on 26 August 2006 that Simon Cowell had axed the show, describing it as "pointless" and adding "we are never going to do it again".[51]

Music releases by X Factor contestants

So far the show has spawned six number one winners' singles (four of which have been the Christmas number one), two number one charity singles, and a total of 14 number one singles by contestants who have appeared on the show (including winners and runners-up).

By series 6 (2009) it had seemingly become such a certainty that the X Factor winner would gain the Christmas number one slot every year that bookmakers William Hill were considering withdrawing from the 30-year tradition of betting on the outcome.[52] However, hostility to the show from some quarters had prompted attempts to propel an alternative song to the 2008 Christmas number one spot, and in 2009 a similar internet-led campaign was successful, taking Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name" to Christmas number one at the expense of X Factor winner Joe McElderry.[53]

In series 1–2, the winner's debut album would be released a few months after their victory in the show. The album would contain some new material but would consist largely of cover versions. This format changed with series 3 winner Leona Lewis. Simon Cowell, Lewis's X Factor mentor and newly-appointed manager, said: "We could have gone into the studio for a month, made the record quick, and thrown it out. It would have been the wrong thing to do."[54] The success of Lewis's debut album Spirit ensured that the debut albums of future series winners (with Jackson as an example) would consist more of new material than of cover versions.

Charity singles

During the fifth series of the show, the finalists released Hero in aid of Help for Heroes which reached number one in the UK singles charts. Following the success of the song, Cowell has announced that a charity single will be released annually. He is quoted as saying:

Following last year's record we made with the X Factor finalists in aid of Help For Heroes, we decided we wanted to do something annually on the show to help good causes

The 2009 single was a cover of the Michael Jackson song You Are Not Alone which was released in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital and reached number one in its first week.[55]

Year Song Peak
chart
positions

UK

IRL
The X Factor finalists
2008 "Hero"[56][57] 1 1
2009 "You Are Not Alone" 1 1

Merchandise

DVDs
  • Series 1: The X Factor Revealed: The Greatest Auditions Ever (2005)
  • Series 2: The X Factor: The Greatest Auditions Ever (2006)
  • Series 3: The X Factor Revealed (2007)
Games
  • Series 4: The X Factor — interactive DVD game (2007)
  • Series 4: The X Factor Sing — karaoke game (2007)
  • Series 5: The X Factor: The Board Game (2008)
  • Series 5: The X Factor Top Trumps (2008)
Books
  • Series 1–3: The X Factor: Access All Areas (2007)
  • Series 6: The X Factor Finalists of 2009: Annual 2010 (2009)

References

  1. ^ Factor Brightdance - TalkTalk Brightening your X Factor
  2. ^ Described as "something you can't quite put your finger on" by judge Cheryl Cole, The Xtra Factor, 23 November 2009
  3. ^ a b c "Hallelujah: how Leonard Cohen became an X Factor winner without trying", The Times, 13 December 2008
  4. ^ a b "The X Factor: Essex Cheryl Cole lookalike with an Estuary drawl makes judges drool as she starts to sing", Mail Online, 21 August 2009
  5. ^ a b "Joe McElderry's 'X Factor' win draws 19.7m", Digital Spy, 14 December 2009
  6. ^ "X Factor winner Joe McElderry outsold by Rage Against The Machine as bookies suspend betting on Christmas No. 1", Mail Online, 17 December 2009
  7. ^ Carphone Warehouse gets The X Factor The Guardian, 19 June 2007
  8. ^ "Official X Factor (series 6) Final - Press Conference (video sequence at around 02:00)". Digital Spy. 10 December 2009. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/xfactor/news/a190864/watch-the-x-factor-final-press-conference.html. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Genevieve Hassan (21 August 2009). "What happens at an X Factor audition?". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8209429.stm. 
  10. ^ "Walsh's charm factor", Whitby Gazette, 30 October 2007
  11. ^ Who'll get a £1m Xmas present?, Daily Mail, 11 December 2004
  12. ^ New X Factor proves ratings hit, BBC News, 21 August 2005
  13. ^ The appeal of the Macdonalds, The Independent on Sunday, 25 November 2006
  14. ^ "All change as The X Factor returns". BBC News. 17 August 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6951467.stm. Retrieved 18 August 2007. 
  15. ^ X Factor's Dannii Minogue says she 'won't miss' Sharon Osbourne, Daily Telegraph, 11 August 2008
  16. ^ "X Factor wannabes given opportunity to post audition videos online". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers. 26 February 2010. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1254077/X-Factor-wannabes-given-opportunity-post-audition-videos-online.html. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  17. ^ "Walsh's X Factor house 'not his'", BBC News, 11 October 2007
  18. ^ "The X Factor - About the show". The X Factor. 17 August 2007. http://www.xfactor.tv/information/about-the-show/. Retrieved 17 August 2007. 
  19. ^ "Cowell: 'X Factor' judges are out of sync'". Digital Spy. 16 August 2007. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/xfactor/a71993/cowell-x-factor-judges-are-out-of-sync.html. Retrieved 16 August 2007. 
  20. ^ Fans of X Factor's Laura White complain to Ofcom over voting, The Guardian, 14 November 2008
  21. ^ "Exclusive: X Factor Sharon's diva jibe", mirror.co.uk, 6 July /2006
  22. ^ "Sharon leaves The X Factor". ITV. 6 June 2008. http://www.itv.com/Entertainment/celebrity/CelebrityNewsHoldingFolder/SharonleavesTheXFactor/default.html. Retrieved 6 June 2008. 
  23. ^ "Cheryl joins The X Factor". ITV. 10 June 2008. http://www.itv.com/Entertainment/Music/MusicNews/News/CheryljoinsTheXFactor/default.html. Retrieved 10 June 2008. 
  24. ^ "Cheryl is the new judge!". ITV. 10 June 2008. http://www.xfactor.tv/news/article/?scid=349. Retrieved 10 June 2008. 
  25. ^ "Sharon Osbourne: 'I quit X Factor because of Danni Minogue'", telegraph.co.uk, 16 February 2009
  26. ^ Sharon: 'I quit 'X Factor' because of Dannii', Digital Spy, 17 February 2009
  27. ^ Dannii Minogue faces the X Factor axe, stv.tv, 29 January 2009
  28. ^ 'X Factor' judge decision next week? Digital Spy, 5 February 2009
  29. ^ Dannii's still got the X Factor, as Cowell does U-turn, mirror.co.uk, 7 February 2009
  30. ^ "DS Fantasies: The new 'X Factor' panel", Digital Spy, 12 March 2009
  31. ^ "X Factor: Secrets of the new show revealed as bosses promise it will be bigger and better". The Mirror. 13 August 2009. http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/news/2009/08/13/no-expense-spared-for-x-factor-as-the-show-promises-to-be-even-bigger-and-better-115875-21592793/. Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  32. ^ "The X Factor final is a rating winner", talkbackTHAMES
  33. ^ "Everything you need to know about the X Factor final 12", The Independent, 10 October 2008
  34. ^ "Britney Xposed", The Sun, 1 December 2008
  35. ^ "X Factor's Alexandra is 'banned from having boyfriends' by mentor Cheryl Cole", Mail Online, 15 December 2008
  36. ^ "X Factor winner Joe McElderry outsold by Rage Against The Machine as bookies suspend betting on Christmas No. 1", Mail Online, 17 December 2009
  37. ^ X Factor in top comedy award win, BBC Newsround, 15 December 2005
  38. ^ X Factor beats Strictly Come Dancing in ratings war The Guardian, 20 September 2009
  39. ^ "The Factor Uprising, New Music Transmission"
  40. ^ "New Music Transmission"
  41. ^ "Find out all about GMTV presenter Ben Shephard | Presenters | GMTV"
  42. ^ "Ben Shephard Exits X Factor". The Sun. 2 May 2007. http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,11050-2007200238,00.html. Retrieved 2 May 2007. 
  43. ^ "Ben Shephard leaves Xtra Factor". The Daily Mirror. 2 May 2007. http://www.mirror.co.uk/showbiz/latest/tm_headline=x-factor-ben-quits%26method=full%26objectid=19031113%26siteid=89520-name_page.html. Retrieved 2 May 2007. 
  44. ^ "Cotton quits X Factor role for US". Digital Spy. 6 February 2008. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/xfactor/a88719/cotton-quits-x-factor-role-for-us.html. Retrieved 9 May 2007. 
  45. ^ "Fearne Cotton to host Xtra Factor". The Sun. 9 May 2007. http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2001320029-2007210332,00.html. Retrieved 9 May 2007. 
  46. ^ "TV Holly Willoughby's nice F-earner", News of The World
  47. ^ "Holly to host ITV2's Xtra Factor". Daily Mirror. 4 June 2008. http://www.mirror.co.uk/showbiz/2008/06/04/holly-willoughby-to-host-itv2-s-xtra-factor-89520-20594247/. Retrieved 4 June 2008. 
  48. ^ "Holly has Xtra Factor". The Sun. 4 June 2008. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/article1245716.ece. Retrieved 4 June 2008. 
  49. ^ "Holly Willoughby to present 'Xtra Factor'". Digital Spy. 4 June 2008. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/xfactor/a97366/holly-willoughby-to-present-xtra-factor.html. Retrieved 4 June 2008. 
  50. ^ "Loos, Hewitt booted off X Factor", Irish Examiner, 2 June 2006
  51. ^ "Simon scraps Celeb X Factor", The Sun, 26 August 2006
  52. ^ "Simon Cowell Killed Christmas Tradition", The Telegraph, 4 December 2009
  53. ^ "Rage Against the Machine beat X Factor winner in charts", BBC News, 20 December 2009
  54. ^ "Cowell defends Lewis' chart absence". Digital Spy. 16 August 2007. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/music/a71980/cowell-defends-lewis-chart-absence.html. Retrieved 22 August 2007. 
  55. ^ Hit's for kids Daily Mirror, 25 October 2009
  56. ^ "X Factor "Hero" peaks". X-Factor Finalists - Hero - Music Charts. http://acharts.us/song/40029. Retrieved 31 October 2008. 
  57. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7705172.stm

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