The X Factor

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This article is about the international television franchise. For individual countries' versions and other uses, see X Factor (disambiguation).
The X Factor
Genre Reality television
Created by Simon Cowell
Country of origin United Kingdom
Producer(s) Thames
Syco Entertainment

The X Factor is a television music competition franchise created by Simon Cowell. It originated in the United Kingdom, where it was devised as a replacement for Pop Idol (2001-2003). It is held in various countries. The programmes are produced by executive producer Simon Cowell and his company SYCOtv. The "X Factor" of the title refers to the undefinable "something" that makes for star quality.[1] The prize is usually a recording contract, in addition to the publicity that appearance in the later stages of the show itself generates, not only for the winner but also for other highly ranked contestants.

The similarities between The X Factor and Idols prompted Idol creator Simon Fuller, along with 19 Entertainment, to file a lawsuit against Cowell, SYCOtv, and FremantleMedia in 2004. An out-of-court settlement was reached in 2005 allowing Fuller to gain a 10% share in The X Factor format, and preventing an American version until 2010.[2][3] Fuller later filed another lawsuit in 2011, claiming that he had also been promised that he would be credited as an executive producer of The X Factor USA, but that Syco, FremantleMedia, and Fox Broadcasting Company had failed to fulfill that promise; that lawsuit is pending.[4][5][6][7]

Unlike Idol, where the judges only critique the contestants' performances, on The X Factor each judge "mentors" the finalists in a particular category, aiding them with song selection and styling, while also participating together in judging the contestants of the other categories. As well as Idol, new singing show The Voice has become a rival show to The X Factor.

The X Factor around the world[edit]

Location of different franchises of The X Factor
  Own version
  Joint version
  Regional version

There have been a total of 123 winners of The X Factor worldwide.

Country/Region Local title Network Winners Coaches Hosts
X Factor TV Klan
Arab League Arab world سير النجاح X
The X Factor: Essence of Success
Rotana TV
  • Joelle Rahme (1–2)
  • Season 3, 2013: Morocco Mohammad El Rifi
MBC The X Factor MBC4
  • Season 1, 2015: TBA
Shant TV
  • Season 1, 2010–11: Vrezh Kirakosyan
  • Season 2, 2012–13: Kim Grigoryan
  • Season 3, 2014: Vahé Margaryan
  • Current
  • Garik Papoyan
  • André (2–)
  • Egor Glumov (1, 3–)
  • Emmy (3–)
  • Former
  • Naira Gyurjinyan (1–2)
  • Gisane Palyan (1–2)
  • Current
  • Grisha Aghakhanyan (3–)
  • Former
  • Aram Mp3 (1–2)
 Australia The X Factor Network Ten
Seven Network (2–)
 Belgium X Factor VTM
 Bulgaria X Factor NovaTv
  • Current
  • Maria Ignatova (2–)
  • Alexandra Raeva (2–)
  • Former
  • Deo (1)
 Chile Factor X TVN
 China The X Factor: 激情唱响
The X Factor: Passionate Singer
Liaoning TV
  • Season 1, 2011: Li Shangshang
  • Season 2, 2012: Chen Yumeng
  • Angie Chai Chih–ping
  • Aduo
  • Chen Ming
  • Chen Yufan
  • Da Zuo
  • Shao Wenjie
The X Factor: 中国最强音
The X Factor: China's Strongest Voice
HBS: Hunan TV
  • Season 1, 2013: Zeng Yiming
 Colombia El Factor X
The X Factor
  • Marbelle
  • José Gaviria
  • Juan Carlos Coronel
El Factor X: Batalla de las Estrellas
The X Factor: Battle of the Stars
  • Series 1, 2006: Luz Amparo Álvarez
El Factor Xs
  • Season 1, 2006: Andres Camilo Hurtado
  • Season 2, 2007: Camilo Echeverry Correa
  • Season 3, 2011: Shaira Selena Peláez
 Czech Republic X Factor TV Nova
 Czech Republic
X Factor Czech Republic Prima family
Slovakia TV JOJ
 Denmark X Factor DR
  • Current
  • Eva Harlou (7–)
  • Former
  • Lise Rønne (1–2, 4–5)
  • Signe Muusmann (3)
  • Signe Molde (6)
  • Emil Thorup (Xtra Factor, 6)
 Finland X Factor MTV3
  • Heikki Paasonen
  • Jukka Rossi (Xtra Factor)
X Factor France M6 (2)
France W9 (1)
BelgiumWallonia RTL–TVI
 Germany X Factor VOX
The X Factor ANT1
ANT1 Cyprus
  • George Levendis
  • Giorgos Theofanous
  • Katerina Gagaki
  • Nikos Mouratidis
  • Sakis Rouvas (live shows)
  • Giorgos Lianos (auditions)
  • Maria Sinatsaki (auditions, 3)
  • Despina Kampouri (auditions, 1–2)
 Hungary X-Faktor RTL Klub
 Iceland X Factor Stöð 2
 India X Factor India Sony Entertainment TV
  • Aditya Narayan
 Indonesia X Factor Indonesia RCTI
  • Robby Purba (1-)
 Israel The X Factor ישראל
The X Factor Israel
Channel 2Reshet
 Italy X Factor Sky Uno (5–)
Rai 2 (1–4)
  • Current
  • Alessandro Cattelan (5–)
  • Matteo Bordone (Xtra Factor, 7–)
  • Mara Maionchi (Xtra Factor, 8–)
  • Former
  • Francesco Facchinetti (1–4; Xtra Factor, 4)
  • Alessandra Barzaghi (Xtra Factor, 4)
  • Max Novaresi (Xtra Factor, 5–6)
  • Brenda Lodigiani (Xtra Factor, 5–6)
X Factor Okinawa Japan Okinawa TV
  • Season 1, 2013–14: Sky's the Limit
  • Kaz Utsunomiya
  • Rino Nakasone
  • Kiyoshi Matsuo
  • Jon Kabira
  • Naomi Watanabe
 Kazakhstan X Factor Perviy Kanal Evraziya
  • Season 1, 2011: Dariya Gabdull
  • Season 2, 2012: Andrey Tikhonov
  • Season 3, 2013: Evgeniya Barysheva
  • Season 4, 2013: Kairat Kapanov
  • Season 5, 2014: Evgeny Vyblov
  • Current
  • Nagima Eskalieva
  • Alexander Shevchenko
  • Dilnaz Akhmadieva (4–)
  • Former
  • Ismail Igіlmanov (1–2)
  • Arnur Istybaev (2)
  • Adil Liyan (1)
  • Erlan Kokeev (3)
  • Sultana Karazhigitova (1–2)
  • Current
  • Arnur Istybaev (2–)
  • Former
  • Adil Liyan (1)
 Lithuania X Faktorius TV3
  • Season 1, 2012–13: Giedrė Vokietytė
  • Season 2, 2013–14: Žygimantas Gečas
 Netherlands X Factor RTL 4
  • Current
  • Martijn Krabbe (2–)
  • Ferry Doedens (backstage, 5–)
  • Former
  • Wendy van Dijk (1–4)
  • Lieke van Lexmond (backstage, 4)
  • Nathalie Bulters (Backstage, 3)
  • Eva Treurniet (backstage, 3)
 New Zealand The X Factor TV3
 Norway X Factor TV 2
  • Ravi (2)
  • Guri Solberg (2)
  • Peter Moi Brubresko (Xtra Factor)
  • Katarina Flatland (Xtra Factor)
  • Charlotte Thorstvedt (1)
 Philippines The X Factor Philippines ABS–CBN
 Poland X Factor TVN
 Portugal Factor X SIC
  • Season 1, 2013–14: Berg
  • Season 2, 2014: Mozambique Kika Kardoso
 Romania X Factor Antena 1
  • Răzvan Simion
  • Dani Oțil
 Russia Секрет Успеха
Secret of Success
  • Tutta Larsen
  • Aleksey Chumakov (1)
  • Elena Vorobey (1)
Фактор А
Faktor A
Russia 1
  • Season 1, 2011: Sergei Savin
  • Season 2, 2012: Alexey Sulima
  • Season 3, 2013: Mali
Главная сцена
The Main Stage
Russia 1
X Factor Adria TV Sitel
Prva, RTL Televizija, RTRS (2015-)
RTV Pink (2013 - 2014)
  • Former
  • Ana Grubin (live Shows)
  • Bane Jevtić (selection process, backstage)
  • Una Senić (X Star, judges' houses)
 Slovenia X Faktor POP TV
  • Season 1, 2012: Demetra Malalan
  • Damjan Damjanovič
  • Jadranka Juras
  • Aleš Uranjek
 South Africa The X Factor SABC 1
  • Season 1, 2014: Upcoming series
  • Andile Ncube
 Spain Factor X Cuatro[8]
  • Miqui Puig (1–2)
  • Jorge Flo (1–2)
  • Eva Perales (1–2)
  • Nuria Roca (1–2)
 Sweden X Factor TV4
  • Season 1, 2012: Awa Santesson–Sey
  • David Hellenius
 Turkey X Factor: Star Isigi Kanal D
  • Season 1, 2014: Halil Polat
  • Season 2, 2015: Discontinued
  • Current
  • Bülent Şakrak (1–)
  • Former
  • Kadir Doğulu (1)
 Ukraine The X Factor STB
  • Season 1, 2010–11: Olexiy Kuznetsov
  • Season 2, 2011–12: Victor Romanchenko
  • Season 3, 2012–13: Aida Nikolaychuk
  • Season 4, 2013–14: Alexander Poryadinsky
  • Season 5, 2014–15: Dmitry Babak
  • Oksana Marchenko
 United Kingdom1 The X Factor ITV
The X Factor: Battle of the Stars
 United States The X Factor Fox
El Factor X
The X Factor
  • Season 1, 2013: Los Tres Charritos
 Vietnam The X Factor Vietnam
Nhân tố bí ẩn
  • Season 1, 2014: Giang Hồng Ngọc
  • Nguyên Khang
  • Thu Thủy
  1. ^ Also shown in Republic of Ireland and in series 3, 4 and 7, auditions were held in Dublin, and viewers in Ireland were allowed to vote.
  2. ^ Auditions were held in Czech Republic. Czech Republic also broadcast and co–work with Slovakia.

Disputes and controversies[edit]

Since it was first broadcast in 2004, The X Factor has been the subject of much controversy and criticism in the United Kingdom and many other countries where it was broadcast.

Legal dispute[edit]

Simon Fuller, the creator of Pop Idol, claimed that the format of The X Factor was copied from his own show. Through his company 19 TV, Fuller filed a lawsuit against The X Factor producers FremantleMedia, The X Factor creator Simon Cowell, and Cowell's companies Simco and Syco.[9] A High Court hearing began in London in November 2005, and the outcome was awaited with interest by media lawyers for its potential effect on the legal situation regarding the copyrighting of formats. However, the hearing was quickly adjourned[9] and an out-of-court settlement was reached at the end of the month.[10]


The Danish version has been criticised by Danish music contract expert and consultant for The Danish Musicians' Association (Dansk Musiker Forbund) Mikael Højris. According to Højris, the contracts for participation in the show are unfair for participants and almost amount to serfdom to DR1 (the channel airing the show) stating that clauses in the contracts forbid the participants — whether they pass the first round or not — from performing or participating in any other musical event for three months. He also criticises that participants are obliged to travel at their own expense.[11]

New Zealand[edit]

Natalia Kills outburst

On the second series of The X Factor New Zealand, during the filming of the final judges' auditions session in December 2014, whilst giving feedback to busker Sally Faherty who sang Frank Ocean's "Thinking About You". Natalia Kills started off by accusing Faherty of having wallflower body language. Kills then said "Buskers often end up performing more to themselves than to the people around them because they go unappreciated for so long its as if the people around them think that they are invisible. You have the body language as you're trying to blend into the background behind you." The audience didn't appreciate what Kills had said and started booing her. Kills then said that Faherty was not invisible on the stage and that it was her time to change that. Judges Melanie Blatt and Stan Walker gave Faherty a "Yes", whilst Willy Moon (Husband of Natalia Kills) gave Faherty a "No". The pressure was on Natalia Kills (Willy Moons wife) to make the final decision. The crowd got involved trying to persuade Kills to put Faherty through. Kills then snapped at the audience saying "Stop, stop it right now, you're going to f... this for her". Despite her comments, Kills decided to put Faherty through to Bootcamp by giving her a "Yes". Some members of the audience (including children) were shocked at the outburst and walked out. A TV3 spokeswoman said both the network and Kills apologised for the incident.[12] The incident was featured in the final audition episode, with the profanity bleeped out. Faherty was also heard using the F word backstage which was bleeped out.[13]

Shae Brider

On the second series of The X Factor New Zealand, In the sixth audition show which aired on television on the 24th February 2015, convicted ex-prisoner Shae Brider auditioned and was put through to the boot camp round. In the episode Brider revealed that he had been involved in a 2004 murder in Wanganui and had served six years in prison for manslaughter.[14] In reaction to criticism from the public and media, Mediaworks issued a statement saying that Brider's criminal record had been fully disclosed when he entered The X Factor and that the New Zealand justice system considers that Brider has paid his debt to society. Mediaworks also apologised for any distress the episode may have caused viewers.[15] Brider later told media that he regretted appearing on the series and had not thought through the impact of his appearance.[16] TV3 announced that the first two bootcamp episodes would start with an apology to Travers and her family.[17] International The X Factor producers FremantleMedia Australia and Syco Entertainment discussed the situation with the show's producers, with a spokesperson for FreemantleMedia describing the inclusion of Brider on the show was "a very poor editorial decision" and that "a more rigid approval process" would ensure a similar situation would not happen in future.[18]

Natalia Kills'/Willy Moon abuses Joe Irvine

During the first live show of The X Factor, after a performance by contestant Joe Irvine, Natalia Kills bullied and humiliated Irvine during the judges comments, stating that there was "a doppelganger in our midst".[19] Kills went on to attack Irvine, calling him out on his apparent copying of Kills' husband, Willy Moon's hairstyle and dress sense. Kills deemed Irvine a "laughing stock", overtly "cheesy" and "disgusting".[20] Moon continued the assault, stating Irvine was "like Norman Bates dressing up in his mothers clothing, it's just a little bit creepy". Viewer response to the comments was overwhelmingly negative, with some calling for Kills and Moon to be fired from the show mid-series, and others simply stating the comments to be disgusting themselves. A Facebook page demanding the two to be fired was set up on the 15th of March 2015, and within twelve hours had amassed over 50,000 likes.[21] The incident led to criticism from the show's sponsors, franchise owner and fellow judges.[19]

A petition asking TV3 to "Take Natalia Kills off XFactor", calling for the removal of only Natalia without mentioning her husband, had attracted 77,534 signatures.[22]

Moon and Kills were both fired from the show the day after the incident.[23]

United Kingdom[edit]

Celebrity versions[edit]

From 29 May – 5 June 2006, ITV broadcast a celebrity version of The X Factor in the UK called The X Factor: Battle of the Stars. It was hosted by Kate Thornton and judged by Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh. It was won by actress Lucy Benjamin. There has also been a celebrity version in Colombia, El Factor X: Batalla de las Estrellas, also broadcast in 2006.

International versions[edit]

On 24 August 2013, a 24th anniversary television special was broadcast by RCTI in Indonesia called the X Factor Around the World. It featured winners and runners-up from versions of The X Factor in Indonesia, United States, United Kingdom and Australia. The judging panel comprised Paula Abdul, Anggun, Daniel Bedingfield, Ahmad Dhani and Louis Walsh. The show was purely a music showcase and no winner was announced.[24][25][26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Described as "something you can't quite put your finger on" by Cheryl Cole, a judge on the UK version of The X Factor, The Xtra Factor, 23 November 2009
  2. ^ "X Factor copyright case settled", BBC News, retrieved 15 May 2007
  3. ^ Simon Cowell: And the real winner is... The Independent, retrieved 15 May 2007
  4. ^ Fuller Sues Fox For X-Factor Fees Bloomberg, retrieved 20 July 2011
  5. ^ Simon Fuller Sues Fox Over ‘X Factor’ The New York Times, retrieved 20 July 2011
  6. ^ Fuller vs Cowell Part Two: American Idol creator 'suing over X Factor USA' Daily Mail, retrieved 20 July 2011
  7. ^ Simon Fuller sues Fox and Fremantle over 'X Factor' credit Los Angeles Times, retrieved 20 July 2011
  8. ^
  9. ^ "X Factor copyright case settled". BBC News (BBC). 29 November 2005. Retrieved 15 May 2007. 
  10. ^ Berlingske Tidende: DR beskyldes for at stavnsbinde unge (Danish)
  11. ^ Etheridge, Jess (3 December 2014). "Swearing X-Factor judge shocks audience". (Fairfax). Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  12. ^ "Ep06: Sally Faherty – Think Bout You". X Factor. TV3. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  13. ^ "From rampage of violence to Slim Shady: How did The X Factor let convicted killer Shae Brider into bootcamp?". NZ Herald (APN). 25 February 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  14. ^ "X Factor hopeful a convicted killer". 3 News (Mediaworks). 25 February 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  15. ^ Harris, Caleb (27 February 2015). "X Factor entrant Shae Brider regrets appearance". The Dominion Post (Fairfax NZ). Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  16. ^ Tait, Morgan. "X Factor to apologise to victim's family". NZ Herald (26 February 2015) (APN). Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  17. ^ Glucina, Rachel. "'A very poor editorial decision' - Simon Cowell blames X Factor NZ producers for killer contestant". NZ Herald (APN). Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  18. ^ a b "Pressure on TV3 after X Factor judges Willy Moon and Natalia Kills humiliate contestant on live TV". New Zealand Herald. 16 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  19. ^ name="X Factor NZ: Natalia Kills and Willy Moon bully Joe Irvine">
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Beswick, Angela (16 March 2015). "Natalia Kills, Willy Moon fired from X Factor NZ". TV3. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  23. ^ "X Factor Around The World, Aksi Kumpulan Bintang!" (in Indonesian). 2013-08-16. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  24. ^ "X Factor Around The World Promo". X Factor Indonesia Official YouTube. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  25. ^ "Fatin dan Novita Akan Diadu Dengan Jawara X Factor Seluruh Dunia dengan Juri Paula Abdul". Tribun News. 2013-08-19. Retrieved 2013-08-19.