Celebrities are X Factor in talent show shake-up
Entertainment: Cowell said changes were needed to freshen up TV format
Simon Cowell has said that it was “so obvious” that The X Factor needed to be revamped featuring a cast of celebrities.
Martin Bashir, Ricki Lake, Brendan Cole and several Love Islanders are among 15 acts competing for a record deal on the new edition of the hit ITV show.
The last series saw overnight audience figures plummet to some of their lowest in the show’s 15-year history while rival Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One continued to flourish.
Cowell, who marked his 60th birthday yesterday, said: “I think change in any aspect is good, but I was saying to someone the other day, ‘I’ve signed Westlife, I’ve signed Five, Il Divo, One Direction, Little Mix. They’re all groups, but they’re all different’.
“Sometimes you’ve got to take a break of at least a year, two years, between signing one kind of group then launching another.
“It’s the same with The X Factor. You can’t just keep making the same show that it was 14 years ago and expect it to be the same show today.”
He added: “It just felt so obvious to do a celebrity version. The only condition was I couldn’t know who was going to be on it.
“I said to the team, ‘You’ve got to find some acts who you believe can sell records off the back of this.’
“So, that was the deal and we stuck to it.”
Alongside Cowell, music manager Louis Walsh and ex-Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger return as judges on The X Factor: Celebrity, while Dermot O’Leary again hosts.
Scherzinger, whose last stint as judge ended in 2017, said: “I didn’t have any concerns about coming back, it’s in my blood to do this.”
Irish entertainment manager Walsh said Cowell was like a new person, after the music mogul’s recent dramatic weight loss.
He said: “He’s funny, he’s looking great, and I love Nicole. The three of us just sit there, we have fun.”
The new edition of the
“You can’t just keep making the same show that it was 14 years ago”
show will see celebrities perform for renowned record producers including David Foster and Diane Warren at Cowell’s home in Malibu, California.
Reality stars Samira Mighty, Zara McDermott, Wes Nelson and Eyal Booker will form The Islanders.
Professional rugby players Thom Evans, Ben Foden and Levi Davis will make up the group Try Star.
Other contestants include The Chase star Jenny Ryan, Coronation Street star Victoria Ekanoye and Glee actor Kevin McHale.
The X Factor: Celebrity debuts on ITV on October 12.
GOOD TO GO: Judges, from left, Louis Walsh, Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger and host Dermot O’Leary