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X Factor, Britain's version of American Idol

Updated on May 22, 2014

From the sublime to the ridiculous John and Edward

X Factor's equivalent of Ryan Seacrest, namely Dermot O'Leary
X Factor's equivalent of Ryan Seacrest, namely Dermot O'Leary

Just another singing competition?

The X Factor is a UK singing competition which has Simon Cowell at the helm. In the past we have had Pop Idol and the like but the X Factor is a little different. The age of the contestants is anything from 16 to whatever as there is no upper age limit. The entry level was lowered to 14 a few years ago but I think it was raised again due to problems. This broad age band though means that X Factor has eighty odd year old people participating alongside young 16 year old wannabees. In the audition stages the competition can seem a little like Britain's Got Talent but once the show hits bootcamp it comes into its own.

However in some ways the X Factor is like American Idol.

There is an anchorman or woman, a variety of top name artists performing on the live shows and of course good old Simon Cowell. Love him or loathe him its hard to avoid him these days.

In the UK the X Factor usually starts in late September, as far as television audiences are concerned and runs until Christmas. For those who love such competitions, as X Factor ends in the UK, American Idol is usually just hitting our small screens.

The BBC, as usual, have decided to air Strictly Come Dancing at the same time as X Factor, in a bid to win the ratings war. However, both shows seem to have their own core audience and receive huge viewing figures.

The X Factor is shown on ITV and has a sister show, Xtra Factor, which is shown on one this commercial channels additional channels.

It would seem that the only constant with such shows is Mr Cowell.

The final 12 have undergone a transformation, for the live shows

John and Edward
John and Edward
Miss Frank
Miss Frank
Kandy Rain
Kandy Rain

X Factor 2009

The X Factor 2009 has tried a few changes to its normal format to maintain its viewing audience and perhaps increase it. This happens most years. So I will give you a little run down on X Factor, in general, and then try to update you on this year's competition.

X Factor

As the title of this show implies the competition is searching for a singer who not only has a great voice but has that certain something extra. The X Factor. Some performers just have the whole package. Others may have a good voice but no personality. Then again some may look the part but be tone deaf. So, you get the picture?

The Auditions

The competition starts each year with auditions, similar to those held for American Idol. The judges tour the country holdng auditions in cities such as Birmingham, Glasgow, Belfast and London.

Usually the auditions, at least those that we see on the television, are simply in fornt of the 3 or 4 judges. This year however it was decided that the audition process would be before a live studio audience, similar to Britain's or America's Got Talent. There were no huge red Xs though or buzzers

The Judges

At one time there were 3 judges but these days there are 4. This is because there are three categories of acts. These are:-

  1. Over 25s
  2. Groups
  3. Men under 25
  4. Women under 25

It is not revealed which Judge has which group of acts until the audition process is over and we are entering the stage when the acts perform live each week in front of a studio audience.

The judges are also mentors and once there category is allocated this becomes there main task. Once a final 50 acts are selected at Bootcamp they are whittled down to 24, 6 in each category. The judges/mentors then whisk their acts away to foreign climes and decide on their final 3. The rest are sent home.

So 12 acts go through to the live shows and for 2009 these are due to start this weekend, Saturday 10th and 11th of October 2009.

This years judges and their categories

This year we have the same judges as last year. Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh have been with X Factor for many years.

The judges and their acts are:-

  • Simon Cowell and the Over 25's
  • Louis Walsh and the Groups.
  • Cheryl Cole and the men under 25
  • Danni Minogue and the ladies under 25

The final 12 for 2009

  • Danyl Johnson, Jamie Archer, Olly Murs
  • John & Edward, Kandy Rain, Miss Frank
  • Joseph McElderry, Lloyd Daniels, Rikki Loney
  • Stacey Solomon, Lucie Jones, Rachel Adedeji

So where are we now?

This weekend, Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th October 2009 will see the first of the live shows. Amongst the guests lined up, already, to appear on these shows is Robbie Williams and last year's winner Alexandra Burke.

This year we have one show on a Saturday and the results show on a Sunday and so X Factor will monopolise our television programmes each weekend.

The competition usually finishes just before Christmas and the winner seems to be guaranteed a number one single for the festive season. Of course, just like American Idol some of the also rans will end up with a more successful music career than the actual winner. Last year's runner up, boy band JLS, are a prime example of this.

Tears, Tantrums, Gossip and more

Usually the funniest part of this competition is the auditions and some of the tantrums. This year's auditions, in front of an audience, just did not sparkle or amuse in the usual way. We will no doubt soon be treat though to the petty squabbles of the judges which can be hilarious.

To date the gossip, with some truths, includes:-

  • Louis Walsh has already said that he has not got a hope in hell of winning.
  • Simon Cowell and Danni Minogue both seem to think that they have the winner in their category.
  • Girl group Kandy Rain where once strippers.
  • All 12 finalists have had a make over(see above) but let's hope that has not stolen their originality.
  • There have been rumours that one or two of the young men are gay. Who cares anyway?
  • Miss Frank are a girl group that was put together out of 3 contestants who were to be sent home. The judges persuaded them to form a group.
  • One group that was through to the final 12 was disqualified for lying on their application form. One of the rejected groups took their place at the last minute.

So this is my introduction, dear hubbers, to the X Factor. Additional hubs will follow aS the competition moves on.



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    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks girls. Each year I vow not to watch such shows and by the end of the auditions I am hooked. Of course there is little alternative viewing worth a look.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      well, I am so glad I know about hulu because x factor really looks good :) thanks for such an interesting article!!!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      These type of shows certainly win the ratings game! I watch them occasionally.