It’s not long to go until ‘The X Factor’ returns to our screens, and details about the new series have been pouring in thick and fast over the last few weeks.
There’s some big changes ahead for the 13th (!!) run of the ITV talent competition, with the presenting line up and judging panel undergoing a revamp once again, after last year’s shake up failed to stop the ratings slump that has blighted the show over the last few years.
So as we gear up for the return of the reality TV juggernaut, here is everything we know so far about the 2016 series...
When does it start?
‘X Factor’ bosses have finally confirmed the new series will kick off with a double bill beginning on Saturday 27 August at 8pm, and continuing on Sunday 28 August. Hurrah!
Who is hosting?
After a year’s hiatus, Dermot O’Leary is back dishing out the hugs to wannabes and keeping the judges in check at the helm of the show. He takes the reins back from 2015 hosts Caroline Flack and Olly Murs, who have left after just one series of presenting.
Of his return, Dermot, who first joined the franchise in 2007, said: “I’m very flattered to be asked back to ‘The X Factor’, and am currently dusting off my dancing shoes. There is nothing more exciting than hosting live TV on a Saturday night.
“The show is naturally very close to my heart, after having hosted it for eight years. I’m really looking forward to it, and excited to be back.”
Who are the judges?
It’s all change on the panel, with Simon Cowell the only remaining judge from the last series. Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora all announced their departures earlier this year, and their seats will be filled by returning judges Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger.
Despite serving on the panel between 2012 and 2013, it will be the first time Nicole has sat on the panel with Simon, although they were both judges on the US version in 2011. The line-up also reunites the original trio of judges, as Simon, Louis and Sharon all appeared together on the first four series.
This year also marks a triumphant return for Louis, who was axed from the show last year to make way for Radio 1 DJ Grimmy. But he’s now back for his record-breaking 12th series, commenting: “He’d say otherwise but I knew Simon missed me last year! I’m delighted to be back on the panel especially beside my two favourite female judges Sharon and Nicole, and I’m looking forward to taking them all back to Dublin this year when we head there for auditions.”
What about ‘The Xtra Factor’?
They will be replaced by new duo Matt Edmondson and Rylan Clark-Neal. Both have a history with the show, as Matt presented online fan series ‘The F Factor’ in 2010, and was strongly rumoured to land the ‘Xtra Factor’ gig the following year, but eventually lost out to Caroline and Olly. Rylan also appeared as a contestant on ‘X Factor’ in 2012, where he was mentored by Nicole in her Boys category.
In more changes for the spin-off series, it will be live from the very first episode, which will bring viewers instant access to auditionees and the reaction to their performances, as well as the usual mix of exclusive unseen auditions and backstage gossip.
What type of auditions will there be?
Good - nay, great - news! Gone are the arena auditions and in their place, the room audition are back by popular demand. Hurrah!
The contestants will once again be trying out for the judges in a intimate conference room set-up in a range of football clubs and hotels up and down the country, which is bound to throw up some more hilarious moments, as the judges struggle to keep it together in front of the, errrm, less gifted contestants.
And with Louis and Sharon on the panel, you can guarantee they’ll be plenty more incidents like this:
When do auditions start?
The untelevised producer auditions took place earlier in the year, visiting Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newquay and Newcastle in April and May. For the first time ever, hopefuls were also able to audition via Facebook Live.
The judges have since filmed their set of auditions, which visited Leicester, Manchester and London as well as popping over to Dublin for the first time in a number of years. That will keep Louis happy.
What about Bootcamp?
After the return of the traditional country house Bootcamp last year, the format will be back again for 2016, with the contestants being put through their paces in a number of different challenges at London’s Alexandra Palace.
Will the Six Chair Challenge return?
Despite many viewers (and even Dermot) calling for the competitions most brutal stage to be axed, the controversial Six Chair Challenge will be back again this year. The contestants made their way to Wembley in early July, as the acts in each of the four categories battled it out to try and win one of the six chairs and a place at Judges Houses.
Given that the arena auditions have been axed this year, it also marked the first time the hopefuls had sung in front of a live audience.
What categories are the judges mentoring?
The contestants found out who they will be mentored by just before competing in the Six Chair Challenge. As audience members at Wembley Arena were privy to the information, the results have how leaked.
Simon will be mentoring the Girls category, which is the first time he’s ever been in charge of them. Nicole has been granted the Boys, having won with James Arthur when she mentored them in 2012. Sharon will look after the Overs category, having led Sam Bailey to victory when she last appeared on the panel in 2013, while predictably, Louis has been handed the Groups again, marking the sixth time in his 12 series on the show he has mentored them.
Who is helping at Judges Houses?
Nothing has yet been confirmed, but is has been widely reported former judge Cheryl will be staging a sensational return to the show to help Simon pick his acts for the live shows. Of course, it’s not the first time she’s appeared at Judges Houses, having appeared with Gary Barlow in 2012 after she’d quit the show the first time around. We just hope her appearance this year doesn’t come at the expense of seeing Sinitta in a fabulous outfit.
Is there a trailer?
Bosses released a first look at the new series when they played a full audition during the England vs Iceland Euro match, which proved the new series is going to be alllll about the schermazing Nicole. You can watch it in the video above...
Take a look at the ‘X Factor’ judges through the years in the gallery below...