The auditions are underway, the line-up has been revealed and The X Factor 2016 has officially begun!
Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s series, including the start date, the judges, the hosts, and some very exciting twists to the usual format…
Which categories do the judges have?
The X Factor’s 2016 judging line-up is a selection of familiar faces, who have all served on the panel before. With this amount of experience under their belts, you know they won’t hold back with their words of wisdom for their assigned category…
It’s an X Factor first – this year, Simon will be mentoring the girls for the first time in the show’s history. With some strong contenders in the group already, we’re sure he’ll have plenty of words of wisdom for the young ladies…
Mrs O is working with the Over 25s this year, and with good reason, as she’s got a history of great success in that role! She first appeared on the show from 2004-2007, and reprised the role again in 2012, when she lead Sam Bailey to victory. Will she have another winner in her category this year?
Will he finally find the next Westlife? Well, he’s been given a fighting chance, as Louis has got the groups! With the show producing the likes of super successful bands One Direction and Little Mix, we bet Louis has got some exciting performances up his sleeve…
Schamazing – that leaves Nicole with the boys. She’s had the category previously, during her appearance in 2012, working with both Jahmene Douglas and eventual winner James Arthur. But can she do it again with her 2016 mentees?
Judges’ Houses: Who’ll be joining the judges?
Robbie Williams at Sharon’s house
Robbie Williams is known for his memorable appearances on The X Factor, having already appeared at judge Gary Barlow’s house once before and wearing THAT Sinitta-inspired leaf outfit. This year he’s back again to help out his friend Sharon Osbourne, and we’re hoping for another entertaining outfit!
The news broke on Instagram when the Associate Editor of The Sun posted a snap of Robbie and Sharon appearing to pick out contestants with the hashtag #xfactor #judgeshouses.
X Factor fans are already thrilled, flooding the post with excited comments such as,’aaaaaghhh!!!! 😍’ and ‘Looking forward to seeing this! Love Mrs O…she’s the best judge….so funny 👍’.
Mel B at Simon’s house
Simon Cowell just can’t get enough of the Spice Girls – last weekend he welcomed Victoria Beckham onto The X Factor judges’ panel and now he’s announced Mel B will be joining him for judges’ houses.
A source told The Sun, ‘Simon is hungrier than ever to win and wants Mel’s caustic and honest advice to spice up the ITV series. Not only has she been a huge hit on the show in the past, but she’s got the Spice Girls reunion ahead. She knows exactly what it takes to cut it in the business too. Simon is confident he’s got the winning formula.’
With two huge personalities like Simon and Mel, we’ll be surprised if the contestants get a word in!
Alesha Dixon at Louis’ house
Alesha has been confirmed as the celeb to be joining X Factor judge Louis Walsh! She’ll no doubt be a great asset to Louis in his decision making, with her experience as a Britain’s Got Talent judge and as a successful pop singer. She knows what it takes to be a super performer, so hopefully she’ll help Louis pick out the next star!
However, in an interview at the RSPCA’s Animal Hero Awards, she warned everyone that she can’t be held responsible for any of Louis’ decisions, with fears that he may have gone for some of the more silly acts once again.
‘Louis is crazy, we had such a laugh, I tried to advise him but I can’t be held responsible,’ she said with a laugh.
We’re looking forward to seeing the pair in action!
Calvin Harris at Nicole’s house
Calvin took to Snapchat to reveal that he’ll be Nicole’s guest judge for her Judges Houses segment this year. The singer, 32, shared a snap of himself and the former Pussycat Doll at her luxury villa in France, which he joked was ‘quite nice’.
According to the Daily Mail, Calvin is said to have been approached directly by Simon Calvin ‘due to his phenomenal chart success’ – despite his unceremonious history with the show.
In 2009, when he was attending the show to perform with Rihanna, Calvin ‘offended’ producers by running on the stage with a pineapple on his head during a set by twin act Jedward. He was ushered away and rumoured to have been issued with a lifetime ban – but judging by his social media accounts, that ban has just been lifted…
Who are the hosts?
Olly Murs and Caroline Flack were in the driving seat last year, but for 2016, it’s back to Dermot, who left the year before to ‘pursue other projects’. Thankfully, the 43 year old has promised that he’ll be bringing his classic Dermot Dancing back with him, although perhaps not as often as we’d hoped! ‘It will be sporadic, I don’t think it will be every week. I haven’t got it in the locker to do it every week,’ he recently joked.
Rylan Clarke and Matt Edmonsdon
This pair will take over from last year’s Xtra Factor hosts, Rochelle Humes and Melvin Odoom, and from the sounds of it, can’t wait to get stuck into their new role. When news of the partnership was announced during an episode of This Morning, Rylan said, ‘I’m honoured and over the moon. I’m going back to The Xtra Factor with Matt Edmonson. We are literally over the moon.’ Aww!
What can we expect this year?
Simon’s said to be keen to get the show back to basics this year, which is why the room auditions are back! The pro: no more terrifying debut in front of Wembley Stadium for the contestants. The con: maximum awkwardness for the judges telling the most determined singers ‘it’s a no’ with a distance of about three foot between them.
According to Radio Times, after this stage, the hopefuls ‘will perform for the judges again, with a choreography challenge and of course the all-important performance challenge where they will be grouped together to sing in lines.’
The six-chair challenge
The cruellest party game ever, the six-chair challenge, will be back for 2016. For those not yet in the know, this is where the contestants who’ve got through to this stage have to perform and ‘earn their seat’ – but there’s more singers than there are chairs, and even if you make it through, a better performer can steal your chair at any time.
It’s been criticised for being overly mean in the past, although apparently ‘Simon’s a fan’ – will this year be just as brutal?
These won’t be filmed live like last year, and we’ll be going back to the good old-fashioned pre-recorded format, where the judges get to show off their flashy mansions and bring in their favourite celeb pals to help them whittle down their final squad. Other than Calvin, it’s rumoured that Alesha Dixon and Cheryl Cole may feature, but no other guests have actually been confirmed at this stage.
And once the final group has been chosen, it’s on to the lives!
The team always have something sneaky up their sleeve, and this year it’s a good’un – Nicole, Simon, Sharon and Louis will be able to choose a wildcard act FOR THEIR FELLOW JUDGES to add to their six Judges Houses contestants – giving them a chance to bring back someone who’s already been rejected.
A source close to the show told The Mirror, ‘We love adding new twists and it was felt that introducing wildcard acts earlier in the series would liven things up and make the show edgier.’
We. Can’t. Wait.
And if after all that, you still need an X Factor fix?
Take a walk down memory lane with this year’s teaser trailer:
Are you excited about The X Factor as we are? Don’t forget to check back for regular updates!