Judges have high hopes for The X Factor after format shake-up
The X Factor returns in September.
Simon Cowell has said the new series of The X Factor feels “different” after a revamp which will include fewer live shows and more focus on original songs.
The ITV singing competition is returning in September for a 14th series and show boss Cowell said certain aspects have been shook up to keep things fresh.
“When you’ve done it for 14 years, you can’t keep making the same show every year,” he said.
“I think you have to realise what the contestants are in it for, why do so many people enter?
“I think if you just make the same show each year, it becomes boring and predictable.
“So you try and make changes for the better, not everything works but some ideas we’ve got for the live shows are going to be good.”
He said of reducing the live shows: “I just think it’s the way things are in all these shows at the moment.
“The early and middle rounds rate well.
“So, the idea is to do more of the middle shows and less of the live shows. We’ll see if it works or not.
“I think there might be a middle ground.”
“It feels different this year,” he said.
Original music will also be a feature this season.
“When they are good song writers you have to encourage that, 100%, otherwise it’s just karaoke,” said Cowell.
“I have to be careful what I say because I have learnt through the years that whatever you do, other people copy you.
“You hope that whatever we do other people don’t copy; we try not to copy what other people are doing.
“If we’re doing original material then you’re going to see it turn up on other shows.”
Cowell will be joined on the judging panel by Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh, and Dermot O’Leary will host once again.
Former Pussycat Doll Scherzinger said she is delighted with the format changes.
“You have to in this day and age, things are moving so fast over social media, you have to be changing with the times,” she said.
“You have to evolve.”
The singer said there would still be “colourful characters with some Sch-flare” but that there would be “a real balance this year”.
Walsh, who returned to the X Factor in 2016 after a season off the panel, said: “There are some real characters but they have talent, they are very different, but they are people that we’re going to remember.
“When I came back to the show this year I wanted it to be a new look X Factor, with a new feel, with people in the show that audiences at home want to see.”
Osbourne – who mentored novelty rapper Honey G in the Over 25s category last year – said she will be “tougher” in the new season.
“It’s everyone’s reputation on the line when you are sat there,” she said.
“When you’re backing someone, like backing a three-legged horse, it’s your reputation up there too at the end of the day.
“I’ve done my fair share of extreme characters, I just can’t do it again.”
She said she is also pleased to see the competition draw so many young singer-songwriters.
She said: “These kids are not just singing everyone else’s songs, I love that and feel like we’ve come a long way.”
The new series will see hopefuls tackle two audition rounds followed by bootcamp.
One of the try-outs was held at Thorpe Park, where the judges had the chance to go on some of the rides.
The Six Chair Challenge and Judges’ Houses stages will also be back, with the audition process culminating in the live shows.
However, spin-off show Xtra Factor is a victim of the shake-up.
Presenter O’Leary said of it ending: “I was sad, but I get it.
“We’ve made the X Factor for 14 years now but the way people watch the show has changed; now we have massive hits on YouTube compared to how it used to be, so you have to work harder on a show to keep people’s attention.
“Similarly, Xtra Factor started in a time when a lot of people watched that kind of show, but things have moved on.”
:: The X Factor returns to ITV on Saturday September 2 and Sunday September 3 at 8pm.