X Fac­tor is back - and so are these old faces

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Television -

At a time when TV shows are try­ing to come up with new for­mats to stay fresh and keep the view­ers turned in, The X Fac­tor (Satur­day, ITV, 8pm) is go­ing retro.

Gone are the judges from the dis­ap­point­ing pre­vi­ous se­ries-Rita Or a, Nick Grimshaw and Ch­eryl-withat rio of favourite faces re­turn­ing, along­side showrun­ner Si­mon Cow­ell.

Sharon Os­bourne, Ni­cole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh have all been brought back in from the cold to breathe life into the hit show.

With the ex­cep­tion of Ni­cole - who joined in 2012 - the 12th se­ries’ panel in­cludes the orig­i­nal judges from the first sea­son in 2004, which was then hosted by Kate Thorn­ton.

Louis is the long­est-serv­ing mem­ber of the panel. He sat on the judg­ing panel for 11 se­ries be­fore a break last year and said he can not wait to re­turn.

“He’d say oth­er­wise but I knew Si­mon missed me last year!” he quipped.

“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 the­mall backto Dublin this year when we head there for au­di­tions.”

Mean­while, Sharon - who ap­peared on the panel be­tween 2004 and 2007 be­fore re­turn­ing in 2013 - said the things he is most look­ing for­ward to is meet­ing Cow­ell’s baby son Eric.

She said: “I’m over­joyed about go­ing back to The X Fac­tor, sit­ting with Lou, gor­geous Ni­cole and naughty Si- mon. But most of all, I can’t wait to meet baby Eric.”

And fi­nally, Ni­cole couldn’t con­tain her glee at the con­fir­ma­tion of her re­turn.

“I’m ex­cited about dis­cov­er­ing, men­tor­ing and win­ning with an ex­cit­ing new act this year,” she said.

“And hav­ing had win­ning con­tes­tants in the past, Si­mon knows I will do it.”

As ever, the con­test gets un­der way with the au­di­tions stage tonight and to­mor­row, in which Cow­ell and co will be ex­pected to suc­cess­fully iden­tify po­ten­tial stars from the thou- sands of hope­fuls who are hop­ing to suc­ceed 2015 win­ner Louisa John­son.

ITV are keep­ing some de­tails of the new se­ries tightly un­der wraps, but they have an­nounced that there will be one or two for­mat changes.

Most im­por­tantly, the in­ti­mate set­ting of the room au­di­tions are be­ing brought back af­ter years of first au­di­tions in front of a huge arena crowd.

Also back to the X Fac­tor fam­ily is pre­sen­ter Der­mot O’ Leary, who has se­cured him­self an £8 mil­lion, four-year deal to front the show.

O’Leary left Fac­tor af­ter “eight won­der­ful years” in 2015 and was re­placed by Olly Murs and Caro­line Flack.

The 43-year-old pre­sen­ter said: “There is noth­ing more ex­cit­ing than host­ing live TV on a Satur­day night. Theshow is nat­u­rally very close to my heart, af­ter hav­ing hosted it for eight years. “I’m ex­cited to be back.” Let’s hope this year marks a re­turn to form for the one­time Satur­day night rat­ings jug­ger­naut, and that the show, like some of its win­ners, still has The X Fac­tor.

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