|The X Factor|
|Created by||Simon Cowell|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||80|
|Running time||60-150 minutes|
|Picture format||720p (16:9 HDTV)|
|Original release||September 21, 2011 -|
December 19, 2013
|Related shows||The X Factor|
The X Factor was an American reality television music competition show created by Simon Cowell and produced by FremantleMedia North America and SYCOtv, a partnership between Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment, which aired on Fox. Based on the original UK show, and an addition to The X Factor franchise, the series found new singing talent (solo artists and groups ages 12 and over), drawn from public auditions, and they competed against each other for votes. The winner is determined by the show's viewers via telephone, the Internet, and SMS text voting, and is awarded a recording contract with Cowell's record label Syco Music, worth $5 million in seasons one and two, and $1 million in season three. America voted for the following winners: Melanie Amaro, Tate Stevens, and Alex & Sierra, respectively.
The show began airing on September 21, 2011, and aired annually from September through December. The series employs a panel of judges who critique the contestants' performances. Each contestant is assigned to one of four categories. The group acts are one category and the others are based on age or gender. For example, in season 1 the categories were girls, boys, groups, and over 30s. Each judge was assigned to one of the categories, and acted as a mentor to the contestants in his or her category, helping with song choices, styling, and staging, while also judging contestants from the other categories after each of the live performances. They competed with each other to try to get one of the contestants in their category to win the competition, thus making them the winning judge.
The original judging panel consisted of Cowell, Paula Abdul, Cheryl Cole, and L.A. Reid, with Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones as co-hosts. Scherzinger later replaced Cole on the panel after two audition sites. Demi Lovato and Britney Spears joined the panel in the second season as replacements for Abdul and Scherzinger, while Khloé Kardashian and Mario Lopez replaced Jones as co-hosts. Reid and Spears did not return for the third season and were replaced by Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio, while Lopez became sole host after Kardashian was not asked to come back.
On February 7, 2014, Fox announced that The X Factor would not be renewed for a fourth season, following Cowell's decision to return to the UK show a day earlier. Later that year in November, Cowell stated that he was "more than willing" to give the American version a reboot, and that Fox received offers to bring it back on other networks. However, he said he would bring back this version when there is less competition in the TV talent show landscape. As of September 2020, it is unknown if Fox or another network will announce a reboot.
Simon Cowell was previously a critically acclaimed judge on the enormously successful reality show American Idol, which was the number one show in the United States for eight consecutive seasons. Cowell was also a judge on the original UK version of the show, called Pop Idol, which did not fare so well but he did help the creator sell the franchise to the United States.
Cowell wished to create and launch a new show that he would own the rights to. In 2004, Pop Idol was axed, and ITV announced a new show in the United Kingdom, The X Factor, in which the winner receives a $5 million recording contract with his record label; the show had produced highly flourished multi-platinum artists, such as series three winner Leona Lewis and the group One Direction, respectively.
In April 2009, it was reported that Cowell was planning to try to launch a version of The X Factor in the U.S. after his American Idol contract ended at the close of its season nine. (As long as Cowell's American Idol contract was still in force, it had prohibited him from launching a competing show such as The X Factor in the U.S.) In September, Fox, the broadcaster of American Idol, signed the deal to launch the U.S. version of The X Factor.
However, prior to selling The X Factor franchise to the United States, American Idol creator Simon Fuller sued Cowell, claiming that he should be credited as an executive producer despite having no involvement with Cowell's new show (Fuller also sued Cowell in the U.K. after Pop Idol was cancelled due to the success of The X Factor, alleging it somehow infringed his Pop Idol series). After the lawsuit in 2011 in the U.S., Cowell was allowed to bring The X Factor to the United States but could not be credited with the titles "creator" or "executive producer".
On January 11, 2010, News Corporation (via Fox News in the U.S. and The Times in the UK) reported that Cowell would leave American Idol after season nine in order to bring The X Factor to the U.S. in September 2011. Cowell told the Television Critics Association that he was leaving American Idol so that he could judge and act as executive producer of the U.S. version of The X Factor. Additionally, Cowell signed a long-term contract with Sony Music, who already supported Syco Music artists in the UK, under which he was involved with the production of the U.S. version of the show and also worked with the artists who won recording contracts.
In November 2010, Fox began airing short commercials for the program, which displayed the text "Coming to America Fall 2011".The New York Times described the commercials as efforts by the network to set up the launch of The X Factor as a television "event." In February 2011, during Super Bowl XLV, Fox unveiled the official logo for the show in a promo starring Cowell. A second promo was shown during the course of that evening, featuring Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Lady Gaga, the Pussycat Dolls, and Madonna. This promo gave rise to speculation about who would join Cowell on the X Factor judging panel.
In November 2014, it was reported that Cowell was considering re-launching the American version in 2015, though this was proved untrue. However, Cowell has said he was more than willing to give the American version another go, and that they received offers to bring it back on other networks, though he said he would bring it back when there is less competition in the TV talent show landscape.
The show is primarily concerned with identifying singing talent, though appearance, personality, stage presence and dance routines are also an important element of many performances. Each judge is assigned one of four categories, to use their experience to help the artists. For season one, these categories were: "Boys" (aged 12-29 males), "Girls" (aged 12-29 females), "Over 30s" (solo acts aged 30 and over), and "Groups" (including duos). Season two's categories and age group boundaries were changed, with the "Boys" and "Girls" categories becoming "Teens" (solo acts aged 12-17) and "Young Adults" (solo acts aged 18-24), and the "Over 30s" became "Over 25s" (solo acts aged 25 and over). For both seasons, some groups were formed from soloists and other groups rejected after the audition process. Through the live shows, the judges act as mentors to their category, helping to decide song choices, styling, and staging, while judging contestants from other categories.
There are five stages to the competition:
There are four stages to the competition:
The show is open to solo artists and vocal groups aged 12 and above, with no upper age limit. Applicants are given an opportunity to apply by uploading a video audition to the Internet. The show's producers also send a "mobile audition van" to various locations throughout the U.S. to audition singers who are unable to attend the arena auditions. A round of first auditions is held in front of producers months before the show is aired, some by application and appointment, and others in "open" auditions that anyone can attend. These auditions, held at various venues around the U.S., attract very large crowds. The producers' auditions are not televised, but shots of crowds waving and "judges' cars" arriving are filmed and later spliced in with the televised auditions shot later in the year. After waiting at the venue for hours (during which crews film more shots of crowds screaming and waving), each candidate is given a brief audition by someone from the production team. If they pass that audition (either because of their talent or because the producers think they will make entertaining television), they are given a "golden ticket" that allows them to audition for a more senior member of the production team. Only candidates who successfully pass this second audition (and then a third along similar lines) are invited to perform in front of the judges. (The televised version misleadingly gives the impression that everyone in the huge crowds shown is waiting for a chance to perform for the judges.)
A selection of the auditions in front of the judges - usually the best, the worst and the most bizarre - are broadcast during the first few weeks of the show. The judges' auditions are held in front of a live audience, and the acts sing over a backing track. If a majority of the judges (in this case, at least three judges) have to say "yes" then the act goes through to the next stage, otherwise, they are sent home.
In the first two seasons, The contestants selected at the auditions were further refined through a series of performances at "boot camp", and then at the "judges' houses", until a small number eventually progressed to the live finals (seventeen in season 1, and sixteen in season 2).
At boot camp, the judges collaboratively chose a small number of acts (32 in season 1 with eight in each category; 24 in season 2 with six in each category) for the next round, "judges' houses". The producers then assigned each of the judges a category to mentor, and the judges split up for the "judges' houses" round, in which each of them hosted the contestants in their assigned category at a luxurious residence, often scattered around the globe. The houses the contestants visited did not in every case actually belong to the judges, some were rented for the occasion.
The contestants did not know who their mentor would be until they arrived at that judge's house.
During this round, each judge held another round of auditions on location, and then further reduced the number of acts with the help of a celebrity guest.
The selected finalists (either 16 or 17 acts) move into shared accommodation at the Hollywood Hills to take part in the show. The mansion is also notably used for housing the finalists from American Idol.
The finals consist of a series of two live shows, the first featuring the contestants' performances and the second revealing the results of the public voting, culminating in one or more acts being eliminated. Celebrity guest performers also feature regularly. These live shows are filmed at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California. The performance shows are broadcast on Wednesday nights and the results show on Thursday nights. In season one, seventeen acts were put through to the live shows, and sixteen acts were put through in season two.
In addition to the live broadcast on Fox, Sony and SYCOtv created a completely integrated second-screen experience and a Pepsi sponsored live digital pre-show known as The X Factor Digital Experience. In addition to watching the program live on television, the audience was now able to participate on multiple platforms in real-time.
The show is primarily concerned with identifying a potential pop star or star group, and singing talent, appearance, personality, stage presence and dance routines are all important elements of the contestants' performances. In the initial live shows, each act performs once in the first show in front of a studio audience and the judges, usually singing over a pre-recorded backing track. Dancers are also commonly featured. Acts occasionally accompany themselves on guitar or piano. Each live show has had a different theme; each contestant's song is chosen according to the theme. After each act has performed, the judges comment on their performance. Heated disagreements, usually involving judges defending their contestants against criticism, are a regular feature of the show. Once all the acts have appeared, the phone lines open and the viewing public vote on which act they want to keep. Once the number of contestants has been reduced to five (season 1), or six (season 2), each act would perform twice in the performances show. This continues until only three acts remain. These acts go on to appear in the grand final which decides the overall winner by public vote.
Before the results are announced, the results show occasionally begins with a group performance from the remaining contestants. However, the song is pre-recorded and the contestants mime, due to problems with the number of microphones. The two acts polling the fewest votes are revealed. Both these acts perform again in a "final showdown", and the judges vote on which of the two to send home. They were able to pick new songs to perform in the "final showdown". "Double elimination" took place in some of the results show, where the bottom three acts were revealed and the act with the fewest votes was automatically eliminated, and the two with the next fewest votes performed in the "final showdown" as normal. In season two, at the end of each result show, the rankings of the acts based on the public votes were announced.
Ties are possible as there are four judges voting on which of the two to send home. In the event of a tie, the result goes to deadlock, and the actors who came last in the public vote is sent home. The actual number of votes cast for each act is not revealed, nor even the order. However, a twist occurred in season two where the rankings of the acts based on the public vote for the week were revealed after the eliminations on the show. Once the number of contestants has been reduced to four, the act which polled the fewest votes is automatically eliminated from the competition (the judges do not have a vote; their only role is to comment on the performances).
|One||At the end of judges' houses, it was announced that Cowell would bring back one further act from his "Girls" category that he had eliminated at the judges' houses. He believed that he had made "a huge mistake" at judges' houses by not choosing the act for the live shows. The act was later revealed to be Melanie Amaro and therefore season one had a final 17 instead of a final 16. On the first live show, there was no public vote. Instead, each of the judges selected one of their own acts to eliminate. Cowell had to eliminate two acts because he included Amaro as a fifth contestant in his category.|
|Two||Similar to season one, there was no public vote on the first live show and each of the mentors selected one of their own acts to eliminate. However, prior to the elimination of each category, each mentor selected two finalists from their own category as the bottom two. The bottom two acts performed another song of their choice in the "final showdown" and their mentor was required to eliminate one of them based on the performance. At the start of the second live show, it was announced that all judges agreed to bring back one further act whom they felt should not have been eliminated on the first live show by the mentor. The act was later revealed to be Diamond White.|
|Three||Just like the previous two seasons, there was no public vote or final showdown during the first live show. Instead, each of the judges selected one of their own acts to eliminate. At the start of the second live show, it was announced that all judges agreed to bring back one further act whom they felt should not have been eliminated on the first live show by the mentor. The act was later revealed to be Josh Levi.|
The winner of the competition is awarded a recording contract with Syco Music in association with Sony Music Entertainment, which would include cash payments totaling $5 million. A press release on behalf of the show on February 7, 2011 called the recording contract "the largest guaranteed prize in television history." Unlike the British version of the show, the costs of recording and marketing the winning artist will be paid for separately from the $5 million initial contract payment. The $5 million will be paid directly to the winner in five annual installments of $1 million. Cowell said in a conference call with reporters on February 7, 2011: "I think it should be a life-changing prize and just to be clear, this isn't a dressed-up $5 million, this is a guaranteed $5 million payable to the winner. The recording, marketing, and video costs are completely separate to that. It will be paid over five years at $1 million a year." Cowell said in the same conference call that the specific music label within the Sony family that the winner signs with depends on which label could provide the best support to the winner with regard to the type of music the winner chooses to perform.
To date, three seasons have been broadcast, as summarized below.
Act in Team "Simon Cowell"
Act in Team "L.A. Reed"
Act in Team "Paula Abdul"
Act in Team "Nicole Scherzinger"
Act in Team "Britney Spears"
Act in Team "Demi Lovato"
Act in Team "Kelly Rowland"
Act in Team "Paulina Rubio"
Act in Team "Andy Grammer"
Act in Team "Doja Cat"
Act in Team "Keith Urban"
Act in Team "Miguel Pimentel"
|Season||Start||Finish||Winner||Runner-Up||Third Place||Fourth place||Winning Mentor||Host(s)||Sponsors||Judges||Guest Judges|
|1||September 21, 2011||December 22, 2011||Melanie Amaro
|Simon Cowell||Steve Jones||Pepsi
|L.A. Reid||Paula Abdul||Nicole Scherzinger||Simon Cowell||Cheryl Cole1|
|2||September 12, 2012||December 20, 2012||Tate Stevens
|Carly Rose Sonenclar
|L.A. Reid||Khloé Kardashian
|Britney Spears||Demi Lovato||Louis Walsh2|
|3||September 11, 2013||December 19, 2013||Alex & Sierra
|Simon Cowell||Mario Lopez||CoverGirl
|Paulina Rubio||Demi Lovato||Kelly Rowland||N/A|
|4||May 2022||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD||Brenda Song||TBD||Miguel||Andy Grammer||Doja Cat||Keith Urban|
At the time of announcing the U.S. version of The X Factor, Simon Cowell was the only confirmed judge for the show. He later said that he was taking the choices of whom to join him on the show very seriously, saying, "It's pointless hiring judges who don't know anything about the music business. I'll probably go and find someone who did what I did for a living. I was an A&R guy for 20 years." Eventually, Grammy Award-winning record executive, songwriter, and record producer L.A. Reid, former The X Factor judge Cheryl Cole, and Cowell's former American Idol colleague Paula Abdul were confirmed to join Cowell in the judging panel. Cole was dropped from the show after two sets of auditions and was replaced by co-host Nicole Scherzinger from the Newark auditions.
After season one, the show's producers had said that they would undergo some changes which resulted in, what media outlets called, an "X Factor Shake-up". On January 30, 2012, it was announced that neither Abdul nor Scherzinger would return as a judge for season two. When searching for replacements, Cowell sought to hire pop star Britney Spears as Scherzinger's replacement. After months of negotiations, Cowell and Spears came to an agreement for season two. Following the employment of Spears, Cowell was looking for a young superstar, in order to bring in a younger audience. On May 14, it was confirmed that Demi Lovato was one of the new judges.
On December 13, 2012, Reid announced that he would not be returning as a judge for a third season, instead opting to focus on Epic Records. Spears announced on January 11, 2013, that she would not be renewing her contract for another season, opting to focus on recording her eighth studio album. In March 2013, Lovato was announced to be joining Cowell on the panel again for season three. In April 2013, it was reported that former X Factor UK judge Kelly Rowland was the front-runner to replace Reid. In May, it was officially confirmed that Rowland and Paulina Rubio would join Cowell and Lovato for season three.
Simon Cowell (2011-2013)
Paula Abdul (2011)
L.A. Reid (2011-2012)
Nicole Scherzinger (2011)
Britney Spears (2012)
Demi Lovato (2012-2013)
Kelly Rowland (2013)
Paulina Rubio (2013)
Cowell initially indicated that The X Factor may have two hosts. Numerous people were speculated to host the series, including High School Musical star Corbin Bleu, model Marisa Miller, and Dermot O'Leary, host of the UK version. On May 8, 2011, Nicole Scherzinger and Welsh presenter Steve Jones were announced as co-hosts of the show. However, following the departure of judge Cheryl in season one, Scherzinger took her place and Jones became sole host.
After season one, Jones followed Scherzinger and judge Paula Abdul out the door as they were all dismissed from their duties on the show. Reports on who was going to replace Jones as the host circulated for months. Reality star Khloé Kardashian and Extra host Mario Lopez were confirmed as the two hosts hired. The season two auditions, boot camp, and judges' houses phases of the show went on without hosts as they were not yet confirmed. On April 22, 2013, Fox announced that Lopez would return as sole host for season three after Kardashian was not asked back as co-host.
In each season, each judge is allocated a category to mentor and chooses a small number of acts (four or five, depending on the season) to progress to the live finals. This table shows, for each season, which category each judge was allocated and which acts he or she put through to the live finals.
|Season||Simon Cowell||Nicole Scherzinger||Paula Abdul||L.A. Reid|
The Stereo Hogzz
The Brewer Boys
|2||Simon Cowell||Britney Spears||Demi Lovato||L.A. Reid|
Carly Rose Sonenclar
|3||Simon Cowell||Paulina Rubio||Demi Lovato||Kelly Rowland|
Alex & Sierra
The Pepsi Pre-show Live is a podcast, sponsored by Pepsi, that is broadcast through the X Factor website one hour before every episode in the live rounds of the show. This program features behind-the-scenes looks backstage, acoustic performances, and interviews with celebrities, judges, contestants, and X Factor alumni. This program is hosted by Jesse Giddings, Adrienne Bailon, and Jim Cantiello.
Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of The X Factor on Fox.
|Season||Premiered||Ended||TV season||Timeslot (ET)||Season
|1||September 21, 2011||12.49||Final performances:
December 21, 2011
|12.67||2011-12||Wednesday 8:00 pm
December 22, 2011
|12.57||Thursday 8:00 pm
|2||September 12, 2012||8.73||Final performances:
December 19, 2012
|8.35||2012-13||Wednesday 8:00 pm
December 20, 2012
|9.65||Thursday 8:00 pm
|3||September 11, 2013||6.45||Final performances:
December 18, 2013
|5.04||2013-14||Wednesday 8:00 pm
December 19, 2013
|6.22||Thursday 8:00 pm
The show was also broadcast on itv 2 in the united Kingdom, season 1 proved popular launching just 1 day after the American launch date
At the 2012 Teen Choice Awards, The X Factor beat rival shows American Idol and The Voice to take the award for Reality Competition Show. The X Factor also won the award for Breakout Show, and Simon Cowell won the Male Personality award.
|2012||Teen Choice Awards||Reality Competition Show||The X Factor||Won|
|Breakout Show||The X Factor||Won|
|Male Personality||Simon Cowell||Won|
|Female Reality Star||Melanie Amaro||Nominated|
|2013||People's Choice Awards||Favorite TV Competition Show||The X Factor||Won|
|Favorite Celebrity Judge||Demi Lovato||Won|
|Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Villain||Simon Cowell||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Reality Competition Show||The X Factor||Won|
|Female Artist||Demi Lovato||Won|
|Female Hottie||Demi Lovato||Nominated|
|Male Personality||Simon Cowell||Won|
|Female Personality||Demi Lovato||Won|
|Choice Style Icon||Demi Lovato||Won|
|Choice Single: Female Artist||Demi Lovato||Won|
In the quarter-final of season one, Scherzinger voted to eliminate contestant Rachel Crow from the show over Marcus Canty; this sent the result to deadlock. Following this, Crow was eliminated and Scherzinger was booed off the stage and her future on the show was put in jeopardy. She subsequently received death threats from some viewers. Scherzinger was let go at the end of the season and later relocated to London to replace Kelly Rowland as a judge on the UK show for the 2012 UK series.
The airing of the season two judges' houses episode on October 17, 2012 was cut short abruptly in the middle of Lovato's selection for the top 16 to return to MLB on Fox coverage of Game 3 of the 2012 National League Championship Series, which had been in a lengthy rain delay and restarted (the game started at 4 p.m. ET so that Fox could run their primetime lineup upon the game's completion). After viewer complaints and a Twitter message from Cowell that consisted of his reaction being "It's what's known as a total f up," the episode was re-aired the next week in full.
In season three, due to graphics errors made in the top 13 round of the live shows regarding voting, all voting results posted in that episode were invalidated, and the contestants sang once more in November 7, 2013, show, with the results revealed on November 13.
Following the announcement of the show coming to America, several other broadcasters around the world expressed interest in acquiring the rights to show the American version of the show in their country. The below-mentioned countries may have their own version of The X Factor, dubbed equally or under another name.
On January 7, 2011, Fox, SYCOtv and FremantleMedia North America announced that Pepsi would be the official sponsor of The X Factor. The sponsorship included an extensive multi-platform on and off-air marketing partnership. On June 9, Chevrolet was announced as the second official sponsor of the show. Chevrolet's sponsorship would also include an extensive multi-platform on and off-air marketing partnership.Sony was confirmed as the third official sponsor on July 26. Sony's sponsorship of The X Factor would also include an extensive multi-platform on and off-air marketing partnership.Verizon also sponsored the show; they were the official wireless sponsor.
For the third season, Honda and Procter & Gamble replaced the previous major sponsors of the show, with Procter & Gamble using it as a platform to promote its CoverGirl, Herbal Essences and Secret personal care brands.