LONDON—The X Factor has elements of American Idol, but takes it to the next level. The show is a massive hit for British broadcaster ITV 1, regularly attracting 12 million viewers on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Simon Cowell is joined by Irish music manager Louis Walsh, pop star Cheryl Cole and Australian singer Dannii Minogue.
What makes this show instantly different is that there is no age upper age limit. Aged 80 and can crack out a Patsy Cline number? Then why not audition for the judges? Maybe you see yourself as the new Jonas Brothers great! Groups are allowed to apply.
The next round is called Boot Camp, in which the contestants are whittled down before each judge finds out which category they will be mentoring. See The X Factor is not just about the contestants, the judges are also in a fight for to win. The categories Boys, Girls, Groups and Over 25's.
The next stage before the live shows is the Judges Houses. This is where the lucky few fly off to sing at the judges houses dotted around the world, in front of their respective judge and a guest. Previous guests have included Kylie Minouge and Ozzy Osbourne.
It is here that the contestants learn whether they have made it into the live shows and ultimately compete to win The X Factor. The live shows at the weekend get the nation talking and post record ratings for ITV 1, a network once struggling but has seen ratings and profits rise due to Simon Cowell.
The live shows are similar to American Idol, in having themed weeks and guests mentoring the acts. Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Lady Gaga all performed on the show last year, with Whitney and legendary music producer Clive Davis mentoring the acts.
With Dannii away having her first child, and Cheryl struck down with malaria, Simon drafted in some well known pop stars to guest judge, including Pussycat Doll's lead singer Nicole Sherzinger.
The finale is usually two weeks before Christmas and puts the winners single in the race to top the UK Singles Chart, and claim the Christmas Number 1 spot something which is seen iconic here. Due to the success of The X Factor, they have dominated the Christmas Number 1 spot for many years. That came to an end last year when a Facebook campaign to stop Simon Cowell and the winner of the X Factor getting to number 1 succeeded.
The American X Factor is likely to have some changes to suit the American audience, but this show took Britain by storm, and looks set to take the American audience to the next level. It is important to note that The X Factor was not an initial success when first launched in 2004. It was regularly beaten by Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing With The Stars), but with changes to the show, a glossy look and the amazing Leona Lewis blowing everyone away, the show went from strength to strength. Can Simon give FOX The X Factor? Time will tell.
Shaun Linden is a freelance television and entertainment writer for ATV Today.