The X Factor (UK series 4)

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The X Factor
Series 4
Broadcast from 18 August 2007 – 15 December 2007
Judges Simon Cowell
Sharon Osbourne
Louis Walsh
Dannii Minogue
Brian Friedman (London auditions)
Presenter(s) Dermot O'Leary (ITV1)
Co-presenter(s) Fearne Cotton (ITV2)
Broadcaster ITV
ITV2 (The Xtra Factor)
Winner:
Leon Jackson
Leon Jackson at the premiere of The Golden Compass.jpg
Jackson at the premiere of The Golden Compass
Origin Whitburn, West Lothian, Scotland
Song "When You Believe"
Genre(s) Adult contemporary, pop, jazz
Runner-up
Rhydian Roberts
Chronology
2007

The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The fourth series was broadcast on ITV from 18 August 2007 and was won by Leon Jackson on 15 December 2007, with Rhydian Roberts finishing as the runner-up and Dannii Minogue emerging as the winning mentor.[1] Dermot O'Leary presented for the first time, replacing Kate Thornton, who had been presenting the show since series 1 in 2004. Fearne Cotton replaced Ben Shephard as presenter on the spin-off show The Xtra Factor. Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne returned for the start of the series. Louis Walsh was replaced by Brian Friedman, while Minogue joined the panel as the fourth judge. However, Friedman later left to became the show's creative director and Walsh was reinstated.

This series saw a number of changes to the format, most notably the lowering of the minimum age for participants from 16 to 14 and the increase in the number of categories from three to four, resulting from the division of the 16-24s category into separate male and female categories.

Jackson's prize as winner was a £1 million recording contract.[2] His first single release was "When You Believe", arranged for the finalists by composer Stephen Schwartz and released to download on 16 December 2007, with the physical format following on 19 December. The single became that year's Christmas number one on the UK Singles Chart.

This was the last series until series 10 to feature Osbourne as a judge.

Judges and presenters[edit]

In March 2007, it was announced that judge Louis Walsh, who had appeared in all three previous series, had been sacked. This, along with the additional category, created vacancies for two new judges to join the original panel of Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell.[3] Walsh was replaced by American choreographer Brian Friedman, who was hired after impressing Cowell on his show Grease Is the Word. A fourth judge was also brought in: Australian singer, actress and Australia's Got Talent judge Dannii Minogue. Cowell hired Minogue after viewing tapes of her judging on Australia's Got Talent, and because of her 30 years experience as a singer and performer.[4][5] Friedman appeared as a judge at the London auditions alongside Cowell, Osbourne and Minogue, but on 22 June 2007 it was announced that he had stood down after discussing with Cowell that he was struggling in the role. Walsh was then reinstated and rejoined Cowell, Minogue and Osbourne at the Manchester auditions. Friedman remained on the show as a performance coach and choreographer, billed on screen as "Creative Director".[6][7][8][9] Suggestions that Walsh's firing and rehiring was concocted to generate publicity were denied.[10][11] In a clip of the show that aired at the ITV Autumn Launch, Osbourne said that she felt it was "her year to win", adding: "If I don't win I will fire myself – before someone else does!"[12]

Commenting on Friedman's replacement by Walsh, Osbourne said that there was no "chemistry" within the original judging line-up, and that the atmosphere was "very uncomfortable". Cowell stated that the atmosphere was "very weird". For his part, Friedman said he felt "incredibly let down with the British talent".[13]

Following the departure of series 1–3 presenter Kate Thornton, Dermot O'Leary took over as host for series 4.[14] In an interview with ITV Head of Entertainment and Comedy, Paul Jackson, O'Leary said he was still getting used to handling the rejected at the auditions: "I'm still trying to work it out. It's an emotionally exhausting show to do."[citation needed] On 2 May 2007, it was announced that Ben Shephard had quit his role as presenter of spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2. Shephard was reportedly not happy that O'Leary was given the role as presenter of the main show instead of him.[15] An X Factor insider said: "Ben had a big chance of being the main presenter on X Factor until he did Soapstar Superstar last year on ITV1. He didn't impress some of the X Factor bosses on that live show and moved down the pecking order." Cowell said: "I wish Ben good luck. He has done a great job on The Xtra Factor."[16] Shephard later signed up to front DanceX, a BBC One series hunting for a modern day version of '70s dance outfit Hot Gossip.[17] He was replaced by Top of the Pops presenter and BBC Radio 1 DJ Fearne Cotton.[18]

Selection process[edit]

Cities that auditions were held in.

Auditions[edit]

Initial auditions with producers took place in April and May 2007, with callbacks in front of the judges in June. The number of applicants reached an all-time high with 150,000 people auditioning[19][20] in the cities of London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester and Belfast. Eight thousand people attended an open audition at Emirates Stadium (home of Arsenal F.C.), London, on 9 June 2007.[21] Due to the record number of applications an additional open audition was held at Birmingham Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on 21 July 2007.[21]

Auditionees needed a minimum of three "yes" votes (previously two) from the judges to proceed to the next round.[22] Walsh missed the London auditions due to being sacked at the time, but returned to the judging panel from the Manchester auditions onwards after Friedman stepped down. Osbourne was absent from some of the auditions in Birmingham due to commitments with America's Got Talent, so the auditions went ahead with just Cowell, Walsh and Minogue as judges.

Bootcamp[edit]

This series saw all four judges work together at the bootcamp, rather than disband to manage their own categories as happened in previous series. Bootcamp was broadcast over a two-part show on Saturday 29 September. Episode 7 showed the first round at the Heythrop Park Hotel in Oxfordshire, where the acts were whittled down to 12 in each category (48 acts in total). The next episode, showing the second round at the Apollo Theatre in London, was screened a few hours later. Here the acts were further reduced to six in each category – a total of 24 acts. After this, the judges were told which category they were to mentor. Cowell was given the Groups, Minogue was given the Boys, Osbourne was given the Girls and Walsh was given the Over 25s.

Judges' houses[edit]

In the "judges' houses" round, each judge chose three of their remaining six acts to go forward and represent them on the live shows.[22] The locations for the round were confirmed during episode 8 on 29 September; they were later revealed by Louis Walsh not to be the judges' real homes.[23] Cowell took his six acts to Marbella; Osbourne to Los Angeles; Walsh to Dublin; and Minogue to Ibiza.[24][25] As in previous series, the judges were joined by an assistant to help them make their decisions: Cowell was joined by former pop star Sinitta; Osbourne by The Pussycat Dolls lead singer Nicole Scherzinger; Walsh by Westlife singer Kian Egan; and Minogue by songwriter and producer Terry Ronald.

The judges' houses stage was broadcast over a two-part weekend special. Episode 9 was shown on Saturday 6 October showed all 24 acts performing for a place in their mentor's top three and, subsequently, the live shows. The final twelve were revealed the day after on Sunday 7 October.

Summary of judges' houses
Judge Category Location Assistant Contestants eliminated
Cowell Groups Marbella Sinitta Ghostt, I Sette Cantanti, W4
Minogue Boys Ibiza Terry Ronald Luke Bayer, Charlie Finn, Dominic Harris
Osbourne Girls Los Angeles Nicole Scherzinger Victoria Closs, Kimberley Howlett, Stephanie Woods
Walsh Over 25s Dublin Kian Egan Daniel Boulle, Icaro Taborda, Zyta Zebihi

Finalists[edit]

Key:

     – Winner
     – Runner-up
     – Third place
     – Withdrew
Category (mentor) Acts[26]
Boys (Minogue) Leon Jackson Rhydian Roberts Andy Williams
Girls (Osbourne) Alisha Bennett Emily Nakanda Kimberley Southwick
Over 25s (Walsh) Daniel DeBourg Niki Evans Beverley Trotman
Groups (Cowell) Futureproof Hope Same Difference

Live shows[edit]

The live shows commenced on 20 October 2007, a week later than in previous series. This was because of ITV's coverage of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Series 4 saw the continuation of the themed live show format, in which the acts sing songs according to a different musical theme or genre each week. This format was introduced in series 3. Each week a celebrity guest connected to the theme performed in the results show, and some of the guests – Céline Dion, Boyz II Men, Girls Aloud and Michael Bublé – also coached the acts in rehearsal.[27] Series 3 winner, Leona Lewis, appeared as a guest on the first live show on 20 October. During the results show she performed a premiere of her new single, "Bleeding Love", from her debut album, Spirit. Series 2 winner, Shayne Ward, also appeared as a guest on the fourth live show. He performed his latest single, "Breathless", from his second album of the same name during the results show on 10 November. Westlife appeared on the sixth live show on 24 November singing "I'm Already There" from their 2007 album Back Home. Duran Duran sang "Notorious" and "Nite-Runner" during the seventh live show results on 1 December.

The rules relating to judges' votes in the results show changed from previous series. In the past, the decision as to which act was sent home each week was made by the three judges (from which there would always be a majority). Now, with four judges, if there was a two-way tie (billed on the show as "deadlock") the act with the fewest votes from the public would be eliminated, otherwise the judges' decision would stand.

With the appointment of Friedman as choreographer, finalists used dance routines more frequently during their live performances in comparison to previous series.

Three acts (previously two for series 1 and 3) competed in the final for the £1 million recording contract.[24]

Contrary to reports about a change of venue, the live shows for this series continued to be broadcast from The Fountain Studios. Unlike past series there was no dramatic change in the set, only minor alterations and space created for a larger audience.

It was reported that the producers of the show hired a counsellor to help the contestants deal with the pressure of appearing in the live shows each week.[28]

Results summary[edit]

Colour key
     – Contestant was in the bottom two and had to sing again in the final showdown
     – Contestant received the fewest public votes and was immediately eliminated (no final showdown)
     – Contestant received the most public votes
Weekly results per contestant
Contestant Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9
Round 1 Round 2
Leon Jackson Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Winner
(week 9)
Rhydian Roberts Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Runner-up
(week 9)
Same Difference Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe 3rd Eliminated
(week 9)
Niki Evans Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe 4th Eliminated
(week 8)
Hope Safe Safe Bottom two Safe Bottom two 5th 5th Eliminated
(week 7)
Beverley Trotman Safe Safe Safe Bottom two Safe 6th Eliminated
(week 6)
Alisha Bennett Bottom two Bottom two Safe Safe Bottom two Eliminated
(week 5)
Andy Williams Safe Safe Safe Bottom two Eliminated
(week 4)
Futureproof Safe Safe Bottom two Eliminated
(week 3)
Emily Nakanda Safe Safe Withdrew
(week 2)
Daniel DeBourg Safe Bottom two Eliminated
(week 2)
Kimberley Southwick Bottom two Eliminated
(week 1)
Final showdown Bennett,
Southwick
Bennett,
DeBourg
Futureproof,
Hope
Trotman,
Willams
Bennett,
Hope
Hope,
Trotman
No final showdown or judges' votes: results were based on public votes alone
Walsh's vote to eliminate Southwick Bennett Futureproof Williams Bennett Hope
Osbourne's vote to eliminate None (refused) DeBourg Futureproof Willams Hope Trotman
Minogue's vote to eliminate Bennett DeBourg Hope Trotman Bennett Hope
Cowell's vote to eliminate Southwick DeBourg Futureproof Williams Bennett Trotman
Eliminated Kimberley Southwick
2 of 3 votes
Majority
Daniel DeBourg
3 of 4 votes
Majority
Futureproof
3 of 4 votes
Majority
Andy Williams
3 of 4 votes
Majority
Alisha Bennett
3 of 4 votes
Majority
Beverley Trotman
2 of 4 votes
Deadlock
Hope
Public vote
to save
Niki Evans
Public vote
to save
Same Difference
Public vote
to win
Rhydian Roberts
Public vote
to win

Live show details[edit]

Week 1 (20 October)[edit]

Contestants' performances on the first live show
Act Order Song Result[29]
Kimberley Southwick 1 "It's Raining Men" Eliminated
Andy Williams 2 "I Don't Want to Talk About It" Safe
Futureproof 3 "She's the One" Safe
Beverley Trotman 4 "I Will Survive" Safe
Emily Nakanda 5 "I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me)" Safe
Leon Jackson 6 "Can't Buy Me Love" Safe
Same Difference 7 "Tragedy" Safe
Niki Evans 8 "Nothing Compares 2 U" Safe
Alisha Bennett 9 "Dreams" Bottom two
Rhydian Roberts 10 "I'd Do Anything for Love (but I Won't Do That)" Safe
Daniel DeBourg 11 "Heaven" Safe
Hope 12 "Umbrella" Safe
Judges' votes to eliminate[29]
  • Osbourne refused to vote due to two of her acts being in the bottom two
  • Cowell: Kimberley Southwick – stated that "it's a singing competition"
  • Minogue: Alisha Bennett – gave no reason
  • Walsh: Kimberley Southwick – stated that Bennett had the "talent factor" and had much more to give to the competition

Week 2 (27 October)[edit]

Contestants' performances on the second live show
Act Order Song Film Result[30]
Hope 1 "Lady Marmalade" Moulin Rouge! Safe
Leon Jackson 2 "Home" The Wedding Date Safe
Beverley Trotman 3 "I Have Nothing" The Bodyguard Safe
Alisha Bennett 4 "I Say a Little Prayer" My Best Friend's Wedding Bottom two
Same Difference 5 "Breaking Free" High School Musical Safe
Daniel DeBourg 6 "Build Me Up Buttercup" There's Something About Mary Eliminated
Rhydian Roberts 7 "The Phantom of the Opera" The Phantom of the Opera Safe
Emily Nakanda 8 "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" Crossroads Safe
Futureproof 9 "If You Don't Know Me by Now" Class Action Safe
Andy Williams 10 "Stayin' Alive" Staying Alive Safe
Niki Evans 11 "My Heart Will Go On" Titanic Safe
Judges' votes to eliminate[30]
  • Walsh: Alisha Bennett – backed his own act, Daniel DeBourg
  • Osbourne: Daniel DeBourg – backed her own act, Alisha Bennett
  • Minogue: Daniel DeBourg – gave no reason
  • Cowell: Daniel DeBourg – stated that Bennett had more potential to improve than DeBourg

Week 3 (3 November)[edit]

Contestants' performances on the third live show
Act Order Song Result[31]
Leon Jackson 1 "Fly Me to the Moon" Safe
Futureproof 2 "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" Eliminated
Niki Evans 3 "All That Jazz" Safe
Rhydian Roberts 4 "Get the Party Started" Safe
Same Difference 5 "Reach" Safe
Alisha Bennett 6 "Valerie" Safe
Hope 7 "Hanky Panky" Bottom two
Andy Williams 8 "This Guy's in Love with You" Safe
Beverley Trotman 9 "Feeling Good" Safe

During week two, it was announced that Emily Nakanda had withdrawn from the competition due to a "happy slapping" video involving her that had emerged. She was not replaced and the elimination went ahead as normal.[32]

Judges' votes to eliminate[31]
  • Walsh: Futureproof – stated that Hope's performance on the night was "slick and energetic" and Futureproof's was "sloppy"
  • Osbourne: Futureproof – stated that she loved Hope
  • Minogue: Hope – stated that neither act had performed well this week, but that Futureproof had delivered better performances in the previous two weeks
  • Cowell: Futureproof – stated that Hope had greater long-term potential

Week 4 (10 November)[edit]

Contestants' performances on the fourth live show
Act Order Song Result[33]
Niki Evans 1 "Because of You" Safe
Same Difference 2 "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" Safe
Andy Williams 3 "Chasing Cars" Eliminated
Beverley Trotman 4 "You're Beautiful" Bottom two
Hope 5 "Back to Black" Safe
Leon Jackson 6 "Dancing in the Moonlight" Safe
Alisha Bennett 7 "Put Your Records On" Safe
Rhydian Roberts 8 "You Raise Me Up" Safe
Judges' votes to eliminate[33]
  • Walsh: Andy Williams – backed his own act, Beverley Trotman
  • Osbourne: Andy Williams – gave no reason
  • Minogue: Beverley Trotman – backed her own act, Andy Williams
  • Cowell: Andy Williams – stated that he believed the public would prefer to see Trotman saved

Week 5 (17 November)[edit]

Contestants' performances on the fifth live show
Act Order Song Result[34]
Leon Jackson 1 "Relight My Fire" Safe
Niki Evans 2 "Hot Stuff" Safe
Rhydian Roberts 3 "Go West" Safe
Hope 4 "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" / "Hung Up" Bottom two
Beverley Trotman 5 "I'm Every Woman" Safe
Alisha Bennett 6 "Young Hearts Run Free" Eliminated
Same Difference 7 "Blame It on the Boogie" Safe
Judges' votes to eliminate[34]
  • Cowell: Alisha Bennett – backed his own act, Hope
  • Minogue: Alisha Bennett – gave no reason
  • Osbourne: Hope – backed her own act, Alisha Bennett
  • Walsh: Alisha Bennett – gave no reason but stated that neither act deserved to be in the bottom two

Week 6 (24 November)[edit]

Contestants' performances on the sixth live show
Act Order Song Result[35]
Beverley Trotman 1 "Without You" Eliminated
Same Difference 2 "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" Safe
Niki Evans 3 "The Power of Love" Safe
Rhydian Roberts 4 "Somewhere" Safe
Hope 5 "Hurt" Bottom two
Leon Jackson 6 "You Don't Know Me" Safe
Judges' votes to eliminate[35]
  • Walsh: Hope – backed his own act, Beverley Trotman
  • Cowell: Beverley Trotman – backed his own act, Hope
  • Minogue: Hope – stated that Trotman was more consistent
  • Osbourne: Beverley Trotman – stated "I'm doing this for a reason, and you'll realise the reason when I say it. I'm sending home Beverley", implying that she wanted to cause a deadlock

With the acts in the bottom two receiving two votes each, the result was deadlocked and reverted to the earlier public vote. Trotman was eliminated as the act with the fewest public votes.

Week 7 (1 December)[edit]

Contestants' performances on the seventh live show
Act Order First song Order Second song Result[36]
Rhydian Roberts 1 "Somebody to Love" 10 "I Vow to Thee, My Country" / "World in Union" Safe
Hope 2 "2 Become 1" 6 "We Will Rock You" Eliminated
Niki Evans 3 "Total Eclipse of the Heart" 9 "Fields of Gold" Safe
Leon Jackson 4 "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" 7 "The Long and Winding Road" Safe
Same Difference 5 "Any Dream Will Do" 8 "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" Safe

This week did not feature a final showdown and instead the act with the fewest public votes, Hope, were automatically eliminated.[36]

Week 8: Semi-final (8 December)[edit]

Contestants' performances on the eighth live show
Act Order First song Order Second song Result[37]
Niki Evans 1 "Songbird" 5 "One Moment in Time" Eliminated
Leon Jackson 2 "The Very Thought of You" 6 "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" Safe
Rhydian Roberts 3 "Bridge over Troubled Water" 7 "You'll Never Walk Alone" Safe
Same Difference 4 "Chain Reaction" 8 "Never Had a Dream Come True" Safe

The semi-final did not feature a final showdown and instead the act with the fewest public votes, Niki Evans, was automatically eliminated.[37]

Week 9: Final (15 December)[edit]

  • Themes: Christmas songs; celebrity duets; favourite performance ("song of the series"); winner's single
  • Group performance: "One Moment in Time" (auditionees)
  • Musical guest: Kylie Minogue ("Wow")
Contestants' performances on the final live show[38]
Act Order First song[38] Order Second song (duet)[38] Order Third song[38] Order Fourth song[39] Result[39]
Same Difference 1 "All I Want for Christmas Is You" 4 "Any Dream Will Do" (with Jason Donovan) 7 "Breaking Free" N/A N/A (already eliminated) Third place
Leon Jackson 2 "White Christmas" 6 "Better the Devil You Know" (with Kylie Minogue) 8 "You Don't Know Me" 10 "When You Believe" Winner
Rhydian Roberts 3 "O Holy Night" 5 "You Raise Me Up" (with Katherine Jenkins) 9 "Somewhere" 11 "When You Believe" Runner-up

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

The fourth series proved yet again to be a ratings winner. The first episode peaked at 10.7 million viewers, with an average of 9.5 million viewers (45% share), according to unofficial overnight ratings. This was 2.5 million viewers higher than last year's launch, and higher than the series finale of both series 1 and series 2.[40] Moreover, 60% of 16- to 34-year-olds tuned in that night. The Xtra Factor on ITV2 also performed well on its launch night, with an overnight figure of 1.2 million viewers watching the episode – 500,000 more than for the 2006 launch.[41][42]

The second episode was another ratings success and attracted more viewers than all of the other terrestrial channels combined. The show peaked at 10 million viewers with an average of 8.5 million, beating its rival DanceX (the finale) on BBC One which attracted 3.6 million.[43]

The third episode attracted 8.7 million viewers, which was considerably more than BBC One's Eurovision Dance Contest which achieved an audience of 3.8 million viewers.[44] Viewing figures remained strong in the fourth episode, averaging 8.2 million viewers.[45] The fifth episode featuring auditions generated 7 million viewers and a 43% share of audience.[46] The sixth and final episode featuring auditions attracted another strong audience which peaked at 9.2 million and averaged with 8 million and an audience share of 45%.[47]

The seventh and eighth episodes in the series featured the successful candidates auditioning at boot-camp. Despite competition from BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing, The X Factor received the highest viewing figures, beating Strictly Come Dancing by 2.1 million viewers and receiving 6.8 million in total. The second part of the show attracted 7.2 million viewers.[48] The ninth instalment won 7.5 million viewers, narrowly beating the live launch of Strictly Come Dancing, which had 7.2 million.[49]

The final of The X Factor on 15 December scored highly in the ratings with a peak audience of 12.1 million. The first part of the show attracted an average of 11.4 million viewers, whilst the second half averaged with 11.7 million viewers.[50] This was the highest rating, in terms of total viewership, for all four series of the show.

Episode Air date Official ITV1 rating[51] Weekly rank[51]
Auditions 1 18 August 9.78 1
Auditions 2 25 August 8.88 3
Auditions 3 1 September 9.23 1
Auditions 4 8 September 8.76 4
Auditions 5 15 September 7.23 5
Auditions 6 22 September 8.34 5
Bootcamp 1 29 September 6.42 14
Bootcamp 2 7.12 7
Judges' houses 1 6 October 8.08 7
Judges' houses 2 7 October 7.92 8
Live show 1 20 October 6.60 17
Live results 1 7.02 14
Live show 2 27 October 7.51 13
Live results 2 7.51 12
Live show 3 3 November 8.47 8
Live results 3 6.99 13
Live show 4 10 November 9.18 7
Live results 4 8.59 8
Live show 5 17 November 9.15 7
Live results 5 8.05 9
Live show 6 24 November 9.30 6
Live results 6 8.88 7
Live show 7 1 December 9.56 6
Live results 7 7.82 13
Live semi-final 8 December 9.83 6
Live semi-final results 9.62 7
Live final 15 December 11.78 2
Live final results 12.23 1

Controversy[edit]

Osbourne's walkout[edit]

During the results of the first live show on 20 October, Osbourne walked away from the panel after it was revealed that both the bottom two acts came from her category. This left the three remaining judges, Cowell, Minogue and Walsh, to decide which of the bottom two would be sent home. When O'Leary asked Osbourne for her vote, she claimed to have left the show, saying, "I'm out—gone".[52][53] It later emerged that Osbourne was dissatisfied with the last-minute rescheduling of the programme from 17:45 to 17:30, claiming that fewer people saw the performance of her act, Kimberley Southwick, as she was first on stage. After a considerable amount of media coverage, including Paul O'Grady apparently convincing Osbourne live on his chat show to return to The X Factor, Osbourne's spokesman confirmed on 23 October that she would return to the show.[54][55] A newspaper source explained that leaving prematurely would have been breach of contract and the legal repercussions would have made it in Osbourne's interests to return to the panel.[56]

Alleged feuds and alliances[edit]

During the filming of The X Factor, there was much media speculation about rumoured feuds between the judges, most notably between Osbourne and Minogue. One report emerged of a backstage argument just 15 minutes before they were due to go live on television.[57] On one show, Minogue criticised contestant Niki Evans's tuning, which prompted Niki's mentor, Louis Walsh, to suggest live on television that Minogue herself could not sing.[57] Minogue then reportedly missed part of the results show as she was crying.[57] In an interview published on 2 December 2007, Minogue stated "As for Sharon, you don't click with everybody. But it's her choice not to be friends. Apparently she's envious because I'm younger and prettier.",[58] and in another that she felt "younger and prettier" compared with the other judges.[59]

During Osbourne's appearance on The Graham Norton Show, she stated, in reference to Minogue, "She knows she's there because of her looks, not because of her contribution to the music industry."[57] In a press conference held on 12 December 2007, when asked why she had been publicly talking about Minogue, Osbourne said "It's an even playing field, Dannii speaks about me, I speak about her."[57] Minogue said in turn "I've looked up to Sharon and Louis for years and I wanted to be part of that gang. But when they're slating you, you think: 'Please don't, I really like you.'"[57] Cowell admitted that Osbourne did not feel comfortable about having a new judge and that Osbourne and Minogue would never be "the best of buddies," adding that if Osbourne wanted to leave the show, he would let her (in fact, Osbourne left after series 4).[60] The Daily Mail reported that Cowell was forced to sit the judges down, asking them to maintain a civil relationship with each other behind the scenes.[57] The apparent flirting between Cowell and Minogue also generated comment in the popular media.[61][62]

Impartiality[edit]

Series 4 presented a change in the panellists' judging style. Simon Cowell said at the ITV Autumn Launch: "We tried to be bit more impartial as judges, and that, you'll see a lot more of on X Factor. There's still competition within the judges but our job essentially is to find a star."[63] This ethic was put into practice with the judges working together at the bootcamp. During the live shows, the acts were no longer introduced with their mentors at the start of the show. Only the judges were introduced, after which the individual performances began.

Standard of talent[edit]

At ITV's Autumn launch on 12 July 2007, Cowell discussed the upcoming series. He said that in previous years the programme had been more like a "popularity contest" than a talent show. When asked about the standard of talent, Cowell said: "It's in a different league this year... we're going to have the best 12 [finalists] we've ever seen". This came with comments that the series 4 auditions had gone "brilliantly".[63][64][65][66][67]

Series 4 also saw more emphasis placed on the international standing of The X Factor, with Cowell calling it "the biggest show in Europe"[13] with around 150,000 auditioning for the series.[19][20] Referring to the impact that the international success of series 3 winner Leona Lewis had had on the show, Dannii Minogue said at the Sheffield auditions: "I think that Leona has completely upped the ante now on this show, and there's no turning back. We're looking for an international standard of acts that can sell millions of albums".[68] In response to the expectation of a raised standard of talent on the show, producers tried with series 4 to assemble what O'Leary called an "international panel of judges";[13] this was particularly the case with the original judging lineup that included Friedman. There were also more international contestants in series 4, with two acts from the United States,[69][70] numerous acts from Japan[71][72] and a Brazilian act[73] auditioning.

Nevertheless, Cowell said before the first live show that "I think we could be heading for a train wreck," referring to the fact that the public did not believe any of the final 12 this year were as good as Lewis, But he added, "But if you take Leona out of the equation, they weren't that good last year. As a whole, we've probably got the most talented 12 we've had. We just haven't had the chance to showcase them properly yet."[74]

Alleged voting irregularities[edit]

It was reported that Ofcom received at least 1,900 complaints from would-be voters for eventual runner-up Rhydian Roberts, saying that despite calling numerous times they were unable to get through to vote for Roberts. The programme said the high number of calls meant some people were greeted by engaged tones. Roberts, who refused to attend the wrap party afterwards,[75] had been the odds-on favourite to win and bookmakers described Leon Jackson's victory as "the biggest shock in reality show history".[75] ITV denied the allegations, commenting that "As all numbers go through to the same lines and vote platform it is impossible for there to be any bias in favour or against a particular contestant."[76] ITV confirmed that Jackson performed strongly throughout the series and won on the night of the final by around 10% of the popular vote.[77] A subsequent Ofcom investigation found that Roberts had not been unfairly disadvantaged.[78]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Leon Jackson takes X Factor crown". BBC News. 16 December 2007. Retrieved 16 December 2007. 
  2. ^ "Leon Jackson takes X Factor crown". BBC News. 16 December 2007. Retrieved 17 December 2007. 
  3. ^ Mr Nasty gives judge Louis sack, The Sun, 9 March 2007
  4. ^ "Dannii Minogue has the X factor as Louis's replacement". London Evening Standard. 4 April 2007. 
  5. ^ "Fourth Series – Fourth Judge". The X Factor. 4 June 2007. Retrieved 4 June 2007. 
  6. ^ "Cowell and Walsh reLounited". The Sun (London). 22 June 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2007. 
  7. ^ "LOUIS' X AND MAKE UP". Daily Mirror. 22 June 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2007. 
  8. ^ "Louis Walsh returns to X Factor". ITV News. 22 June 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2007. 
  9. ^ "Louis Walsh returns to The X Factor". Digital Spy. 22 June 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2007. 
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