Most Favourite: Robbie Williams


About X Factor Finalists
The show first began in 2004, to replace the then popular show Pop Idol on ITV. After three years of successful running, it continued to be aired on ITV.

The show aims at finding an Extra Ordinary singing talent. However, as the name of the show suggests, just having a good voice is not enough. Stage presence, ability to entertain, personality and appearance are also important factors to be considered. It is essentially a popularity contest in that the public vote is of great importance. Mass appeal therefore, is an important asset to have for the contestants.

The show typically goes through five stages. The first stage has the producers short listing through the enormous amount of applicants. At stage two, the short listed applicants sing in front of the judges. The ones that go through this stage sing at the boot camp. After all this sifting, the remaining chosen few are divided into groups and each group is assigned a judge ‘mentor’. They are then given the opportunity to visit the mentors’ houses in different locations, where finally, only 12 contestants will remain. It is at this stage that the live shows begin.

The judges of the show always include executive producer Simon Cowell. From the series one to three the judges were Simon, Sharon Osborne and Louis Walsh. Louis was temporarily dropped from the panel after the third series of the show, only to be brought back again shortly after. Dannii Minogue joined the panel of judges, to set the precedent of the four judge panel. At the time, Sharon Osborne had a real problem with this poor girl and this resulted in Osborne quitting at the end of this series.

The current series of the X Factor is panelled by judges Cheryl Cole of British girl band Girls Aloud fame, Dannii Minogue, Louis Walsh and of course Simon Cowell. The show has also featured acts by massive artists like Britney Spears, Celine Dion and this year, Robbie Williams as well as Madonna and the embarrassingly divaesque and croaky performance inflicted on us through Whitney Houston.

The Xtra Factor is an additional programme that airs along with the series. It gives behind the scenes glimpses and shows more of the contestant’s emotional responses: caught back stage.

Although The X Factor is hugely popular in the UK, it is not confined to the UK only. There are different versions of the show based on the same model, being aired in several countries.

So what happens to the contestants who win the show? Well, first of all, the winner bags a recording contract, apparently worth 1 million pounds, with SYCO in association with Sony. It is not without good reason that the contestants on this show are forever trying to deliver what Simon Cowell would call ‘a potentially life changing performance.’ After all, let’s face it, the other judges’ opinions really do not count for anything like as much.

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