The X Factor returned this year for its 15th series.
Yes, that’s correct – it’s been nearly two decades since the show first launched, creating a slew of chart-topping pop acts, including Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke , Olly Murs and One Direction.
Last year, Rak-su emerged the victors and released the No.2 single Dimelo, featuring Wyclef Jean and Naughty Boy.
However, it won’t be long before a wave of new, ambitious singers compete to steal their crown.
So, to ensure you’re fully prepared for all the action, here’s everything you need to know about The X Factor 2018.
X Factor 2018
When does X Factor 2018 start?
ITV bosses officially launched the new season on Saturday, 1 September and continued the following Sunday.
Naturally, there was the usual mix of no-hopers, sob stories and determined divas, with many more to come.
In a sneak peek at the first audition show, the X Factor’s official Twitter account told excited fans: "The XFactor is back! Cancel your plans, set your alarms and join us on September 1st, 8pm ITV . We’ve got your weekend sorted."
It will air every Saturday and Sunday night up until just before Christmas.
Who are the 2018 judges?
This year there’s a brand new judging panel, featuring Robbie Williams, his wife Ayda Field, One Direction star Louis Tomlinson – who can thank the show for his own global success – and, of course, Simon Cowell .
Dermot O’Leary will also return to the show as host, dispensing hugs and wise words of wisdom as the nervous hopefuls take the stage to impress the judges.
Show stalwart Louis Walsh has been dropped from the panel but he will make a return… sort of.
Apparently one of his former proteges, Brendan Murray, from boyband Hometown, auditions for the judges.
The band had two number ones in Ireland and footage of them with Louis will be shown, according to the Daily Star.
And, of course, there’ll be cameo appearances from celebs at the judges’ houses…
Who is Ayda Field?
You should know this by now, but she’s the wife of Robbie Williams. They married in 2010 and have two children – Theodora (Teddy) and Charlston.
They also announced the birth of their third child Colette (Coco) Josephine Williams before the second weekend of shows.
The happy couple revealed the happy news on Instagram, confirmed they’d had their little daughter with help from a surrogate mum, as it’s believed their busy work schedules prevented them from being able to have a child themselves.
Ayda started her career as an actress on US soap Days Of Our Lives, where she reportedly earned $1million per year, then moved into TV presenting.
Since 2015, she has been a regular panellist on ITV’s Loose Women.
Are Cheryl and Nicole returning?
There was serious gossip about the two women reclaiming their place on the famous judging panel.
But, like Dannii Minogue, Rita Ora and Tulisa Constontavlos before them, neither stars will be making a return to the prime-time talent show.
That is, unless they plan make a surprise appearance further down the line.
Stranger things have happened…
How long will the series run for?
As per usual, the show will run until December, when the winner’s single will be released in a bid for the coveted Christmas No.1 spot.
During that time there’ll be the initial auditions, bootcamp, judges’ houses and then the live shows.
It’s a long slog, but should be fun.
What are 2017 winners Rak-su doing now?
The four-piece – Ashley, Jamaal, Myles, and Mustafa – released their debut single for Syco, Dimelo, on 3 December 2017.
It narrowly missed-out on the top spot due to Ed Sheeran , but was still certified silver. However, follow-up single, Pyro Ting, failed to chart.
They since supported Little Mix on the band’s summer tour and have now returned to the studio to finish their debut LP.
What’s new about the 2018 series?
Much of the format has remained the same heading into the 15th series of the show, but the judges have taken a leaf from the Britain’s Got Talent book and added a new feature into the Six Chair Challenge – the Golden X.
The new round will see each judging getting the chance to send one of the final six straight through to Judges’ Houses – without the drama of risking their seat getting swapped.
One act each will have a secure seat through the Golden X, meaning they will go straight to LA or Barcelona for the next round and no other act will be able to oust them from the competition – no matter how good they are.
*The X Factor 2018 continues Saturdays and Sundays 8pm on ITV
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