Celebri­ties are X Fac­tor in tal­ent show shake-up

En­ter­tain­ment: Cow­ell said changes were needed to freshen up TV for­mat

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY ALEX GREEN

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

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