The X Factor (Australian TV series)
|The X Factor|
|Created by||Simon Cowell|
|Voices of||Nicholas McKay|
|Theme music composer||
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||172 (as of 20 October 2014)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jonathon Summerhayes|
Vodafone Arena, Melbourne, Victoria (2005 live shows)
Fox Studios, Sydney, New South Wales (current live shows)
|Running time||60–120 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Grundy Television (2005)
FremantleMedia Australia (2010–present)
|Picture format||576i (SDTV)|
|Original release||Original series:
6 February 2005 – 15 May 2005
30 August 2010 – present
|Related shows||The X Factor (UK)
The X Factor (U.S.)
The X Factor (New Zealand)
The X Factor is an Australian television reality music competition, based on the original UK series, to find new singing talent. The first season of the show was broadcast from February to May, however, since the second season it has been broadcast from July/August until the grand final in October/November. The X Factor is produced by FremantleMedia Australia, and is currently broadcast on the Seven Network in Australia and on TV3 in New Zealand. The title "X Factor" refers to a singing & stage talent which is "unique" and "something" that makes for star quality. Network Ten held rights for The X Factor in 2005, but dropped the show after the first season due to poor ratings. In 2010, the Seven Network went into a "bidding war" to gain rights for the show, and later won and a second season went into production. The X Factor was renewed after the highly successful Australian Idol was no longer broadcast on Network Ten.
The original judging panel line-up in 2005 consisted of Mark Holden, Kate Ceberano, and John Reid. When the show was revived in 2010, the judging panel was replaced by Ronan Keating, Natalie Imbruglia, Kyle Sandilands and Guy Sebastian. Imbruglia and Sandilands did not return for season three and were replaced by Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Mel B. Redfoo and Dannii Minogue joined the panel in season five as replacements for Sebastian and Mel B. Sebastian will return to the panel in season seven along with new judges James Blunt and Chris Isaak as replacements for Keating, Bassingthwaighte and Redfoo. During the televised audition phases of The X Factor, originally the contestants sang in an "audition room" in front of just the judges, however, from season two onwards all auditionees sing on stage in an arena, in front of the judges and a live audience. The successful acts then progress to the next stage of the competition, "bootcamp" and later "home visits", where the judges narrow their category down to three acts who will continue to the live shows, where the public vote for their favourite act, following weekly performances by the contestants.
There have been six winners to date: Random, Altiyan Childs, Reece Mastin, Samantha Jade, Dami Im and Marlisa Punzalan. Winners received a recording contract with record label Sony Music Australia. In season three, the winner also received a management contract, and in season four, a Nissan Dualis car. Each winning contestant's single has charted within the top-ten of the ARIA Singles Chart, only Mastin's, Jade's and Im's singles have reached number one. There have also been a number of hit singles released by other contestants who have appeared on The X Factor. The show has received numerous awards and nominations, including five Logie Award nominations, of which it has won one for Most Outstanding Light Entertainment Program.
- 1 History
- 2 Format
- 3 Series summary
- 4 Judges and hosts
- 5 Reception
- 6 Spin-offs
- 7 Music releases by The X Factor contestants
- 8 International broadcast
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The X Factor was created by Simon Cowell in the United Kingdom and is based on the original UK series. Cowell then began to grow and expand the The X Factor competition franchise and in 2005, the Australian version of the show was launched on Network Ten, the same channel as the highly successful Australian Idol. However, due to poor ratings Network Ten dropped The X Factor after one season.
In 2010, once the seventh and final season of Australian Idol was completed, it was announced that Seven Network went into a "bidding war" with Nine Network to obtain the rights of The X Factor, which they later won and a second season went into production. Networks Seven and Nine both began the bidding war after expressing interest by attending a conference organised by Cowell. Andrew Backwell, Nine Network's director of production and development, and Tim Worner of Network Seven's head of programming, both attended the conference. Cowell wanted the Australian version to match his "own specifications", and said that it would cost at least $20 million for 21 hours of television. The X Factor was originally set to return in February 2011, but began in August 2010.
The X Factor is primarily concerned with identifying singing talent, though appearance, personality, and stage presence. Dance routines are also important elements of many performances. Throughout 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. For each season, each judge is assigned a category and they mentor their three acts individually, with all acts having a shared amount of time with their mentor. Each of the 12 acts also have rehearsal time in the studio with their mentor. In some cases, if a solo artist is not strong enough, the judges will put together a group of solo artists which have potential to be great as a band. In season six, a wildcard was introduced to add one more act to the live shows, thus making it 13 finalists.
In season one, the show was split into three categories: 16-24s (soloists aged 16–24), Over 25s (soloists aged 25 and over) and Groups (including duos). In seasons two–four, the 16-24s category was split into separate male and female sections, making four categories in all: Under 25 Boys, Under 25 Girls, Over 25s, and Groups. In season three, the minimum age for the Under 25 Boys and Under 25 Girls categories was lowered to 14. In season five only, the Over 25s was changed to Over 24s, with the Boys and Girls categories age group becoming 14–23.
There are five stages to the competition:
- Stage 1: Open auditions (these auditions decide who will sing in front of the judges)
- Stage 2: Judges' auditions
- Stage 3: Super bootcamp
- Stage 4: Home visits
- Stage 5: Live shows (finals)
The first set of auditions is held in front of the show's producers, months before The X Factor is aired. The open auditions are not televised and anyone can attend. The successful auditionees chosen by the producers are invited back to the last set of the audition phase, which takes place in front of the show's judging panel and a live audience. If there are three judges present during the auditions, the act needs at least two "yes" votes (three if there are four judges present) to gain the majority vote. The judges' auditions are held on selected dates and locations in a number of major cities of Australia, and are broadcast over the first few weeks of The X Factor. The show is open to solo artists and vocal groups aged 14 and above, with no upper age limit. Only a selection of auditions in front of the judges are broadcast, usually the best, the worst and the most bizarre. During the first season of The X Factor, each act entered an audition room and delivered a stand-up unaccompanied performance of their chosen song to the judges, without any instrumental music playing.
Super bootcamp and home visits
During the super bootcamp stage (formerly lock down in season one, and bootcamp in seasons two and three), each judge is assigned one of the four categories to mentor. It is held on three days. In seasons one, two and three, each judge was given 24 acts and had to decide on their 12 acts after day two, and their six acts after day three. Each judge was assisted by a celebrity guest judge who would help them choose their acts. In season one, the judges narrowed down their acts to five instead of six. From season four, all four judges work together to collectively choose 24 acts (six from each category) for the next round, home visits, where they find out which category they will mentor. During the home visits stage (formerly judges' houses in seasons one and two), the judges disband and visit different places of the world and begin to mentor the acts in their category before narrowing their final six acts down to three acts for the live shows. The judges receive help from celebrity guest judges at this stage.
The finals consist of two live shows, the first featuring the contestants' performances and the second revealing the results of the public voting, culminating in one act being eliminated each week. The live shows are filmed at Fox Studios in Sydney. In season one, the shows were filmed at Hisense Arena (formerly Vodafone Arena) in Melbourne. In season two, the live shows were broadcast on Sunday and Monday nights, but moved to Monday and Tuesday nights for seasons three and four. In season five, the live shows returned to Sunday and Monday nights.
In the initial performance shows, each act performs one song (two songs each during the Semi-Final and three songs each during the Grand Final) in front of the judges and a studio audience. The acts usually sing over a pre-recorded backing track, and backup dancers are commonly featured as well as stage props. Acts occasionally accompany themselves on guitar or piano. In the first season, acts usually chose a cover of a pop standard or contemporary hit. Much was made of the idea that each performer-mentor combination was free to present the performance whichever way they wanted, including the performer playing live instruments, or the addition of choirs, backing bands, and dancers. From the second season, each performance show has a different theme; each act's song is chosen according to the theme. The acts' mentors pick the song for them and critique their performance in order to get it perfect for the live shows. A celebrity guest connected to the theme is often invited onto The X Factor, and clips are shown of the guest conversing with the contestants at rehearsal. After each act has performed, the judges comment on their performance. Heated disagreements, usually involving judges defending their acts against criticism, are a regular feature of the show. Once all the acts have performed, the phone lines open and the viewing public vote on which act they want to keep in the competition.
The results are announced during the live decider show the following day, in aid to give the Australian public time to vote. The two acts that received the lowest number of votes perform again in the "final showdown", and the judges vote on which of the two to send home. In the first season, there would never be an even number, therefore one act would always be eliminated by a majority. However, once a fourth judge was added to the panel, this was possible and "deadlock" was introduced in case of a tie vote. If the final showdown goes to deadlock, the act with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated from the competition. The actual number of votes cast for each act is not revealed, nor is the order. The results show also features a number of celebrity guest performers promoting their singles or albums, usually their latest ones.
After The X Factor
The winner of The X Factor is awarded a recording contract with Sony Music Australia. In season three, the winner was also awarded a management contract, and in season four, a Nissan Dualis car. Other highly placed contestants of the competition are also offered recording deals, however, this is not always guaranteed. Johnny Ruffo, Young Men Society, The Collective, Jason Owen, Bella Ferraro, Nathaniel Willemse, Third Degree, Taylor Henderson, Jai Waetford, Dean Ray, Brothers3 and Reigan Derry were contestants of the show that did not win but signed with Sony Music Australia. Christina Parie, another contestant who did not win, signed with Warner Music Australia. Season five auditionees The Royce Twins crowd funded their self-titled Debut EP and released it independently.
To date, six seasons have been broadcast, as summarised below.
Contestant in (or mentor of) "Under 25 Girls" or "Under 24 Girls" category
Contestant in (or mentor of) "16-24s" category
Contestant in (or mentor of) "Over 25s" or "Over 24s" category
Contestant in (or mentor of) "Groups" category
Judges and hosts
The X Factor debuted in 2005 with Australian recording artist Kate Ceberano, record producer Mark Holden, and Scottish events manager John Reid as the judges. Ceberano's judging skills were compared to X Factor UK judge, Sharon Osbourne. When it was announced that The X Factor would return in 2010, British reality television star Peter Andre was linked to the role. However, he declined the offer as he did not want to be away from his children for so long. The judging line up was announced in May 2010 with Irish recording artist Ronan Keating, radio presenter Kyle Sandilands, and Australian recording artists Guy Sebastian and Natalie Imbruglia. On 16 March 2011, Sandilands announced that he would not be returning for the third season, stating that he left the show because "it's just too hectic, it's too much work". On 27 April 2011, the Seven Network confirmed that Mel B would be Sandilands' replacement, and Natalie Bassingthwaighte was confirmed as Imbruglia's replacement on 6 May 2011. Bassingthwaighte said she would focus on bringing an honest critique to the show and will guide "the artists through the competition", while Mel B said, "[The contestants] are either going to love me or hate me but it's going to be a fun ride. I'm really easy to get on with and I'm a hard worker. I'm firm but nice." Keating, Sebastian, Bassingthwaighte and Mel B returned for the fourth season in 2012.
In March 2013, Keating confirmed in an interview with News Limited that Sebastian and Mel B had left the show, but stated that he wanted them to return. Dannii Minogue was announced as Mel B's replacement on 12 April 2013, and Redfoo was announced as Sebastian's replacement on 21 April 2013. Keating, Bassingthwaigte, Minogue and Redfoo returned for the sixth season in 2014. In April 2015, Keating and Bassingthwaighte announced that they will not be returning for the seventh season in 2015. Redfoo also announced his departure the following month. Minogue will be the only judge from the previous season returning. On 3 May 2015, it was announced that Sebastian will be returning to the panel along with two new judges James Blunt and Chris Isaak.
Hosts and other personnel
When The X Factor began in 2005, Daniel MacPherson was the main host of the show and Chloe Maxwell was the host of spin off show, The Xtra Factor. Following the announcement that The X Factor was returning in 2010, the Herald Sun reported that MacPherson was favourite to fill the hosting role but was unable to commit because of his duties on Dancing with the Stars. On 30 May 2010, actor Matthew Newton was announced as the host. However, on 22 August 2010, it was revealed that Newton had to withdraw after an altercation in Rome with his now ex-girlfriend Rachael Taylor. Newton flew from Rome to Dublin, where he was to film segments for The X Factor with Keating. However, he was escorted back to Australia by a producer of the show after they decided he was in no state to film. He was then checked into Wentworthville's Northside West Clinic.
On 23 August 2010, it was announced that actor Luke Jacobz would take over as host and all original audition footage with Newton was removed with footage of Jacobz being shot instead. On 28 August 2010, it was announced that radio presenter Natalie Garonzi would host The Xtra Factor on 7Two. Season three finalist Johnny Ruffo joined the fourth season live shows as the host of the online live streaming show, The X Stream. Comedy duo Luke & Wyatt joined the sixth season live shows as the hosts of the online show, The Fan Factor.
Judges' categories and their finalists
In each season, each judge is allocated a category to mentor and chooses a small number of acts (three acts) 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.
- – Winning judge/category. Winners are in bold, eliminated contestants in small font.
|One||13||6 February 2005||N/A||15 May 2005||N/A|
|Two||28||30 August 2010||1.186||#5||22 November 2010||1.363||#3||1.632||#1||1.2|
|Three||32||29 August 2011||1.319||#1||22 November 2011||1.721||#2||1.998||#1||1.4|
|Four||33||20 August 2012||1.598||#1||20 November 2012||1.881||#2||1.921||#1||1.6|
|Five||32||29 July 2013||1.633||#1||28 October 2013||2.251||#2||2.431||#1||1.6|
|Six||34||13 July 2014||1.226||#2||20 October 2014||1.378||#2||1.428||#1||1.1|
Awards and nominations
|2010||TV Tonight Awards||Best Reality (Australian)||Nominated|
|Poprepublic.tv IT List Awards||Australian TV Show||Won|
|2011||Logie Awards||Most Popular Reality Program||Nominated|
|Nickelodeon Australian Kids' Choice Awards||Get Real Award||Nominated|
|TV Tonight Awards||Best Reality (Australian)||Nominated|
|Poprepublic.tv IT List Awards||Favourite Australian TV Show||Won|
|2012||Logie Awards||Most Popular Reality Program||Nominated|
|Poprepublic.tv IT List Awards||Favourite Australian TV Show||Won|
|2013||Logie Awards||Most Popular Light Entertainment Program||Nominated|
|Most Outstanding Light Entertainment Program||Won|
|Cosmopolitan Fun, Fearless, Female Awards||TV Personality (Dannii Minogue)||Nominated|
|TV Tonight Awards||Best Reality Show (Australian)||Nominated|
|Poprepublic.tv Awards||Favourite Australian TV Show||Won|
|Favourite Concert Tour of 2013 (The X Factor Live Tour)||Nominated|
|2014||AACTA Awards||Best Reality Television Series||Nominated|
|Logie Awards||Most Popular Light Entertainment Program||Nominated|
|Cosmopolitan Fun, Fearless, Female Awards||TV Personality (Dannii Minogue)||Nominated|
|Screen Producers Australia Awards||Reality Television Production||Nominated|
|TV Tonight Awards||Best Reality Show (Australian)||Nominated|
|Worst Male (Redfoo)||Nominated|
|2015||AACTA Awards||Best Reality Television Series||Nominated|
The Xtra Factor
The Xtra Factor was a companion show that was broadcast after the main live shows. In season one, The Xtra Factor was broadcast on Network Ten and hosted by Chloe Maxwell. After The X Factor was revived for a second season in 2010, Natalie Garonzi became the new host of The Xtra Factor on the Seven Network's digital channel 7Two. The show was not renewed when The X Factor returned for a third season in 2011. The voiceover for both series of The Xtra Factor was Nicholas McKay.
The show featured behind-the-scenes footage of The X Factor and the emotional responses of the contestants after the judges commented on their performances. A celebrity panel was usually featured, who gave their opinions on the contestants. The judges and contestants also answered phone calls from viewers, while Facebook statuses, tweets, and SMS messages appeared on screen. The Xtra Factor also showed extra auditions, bootcamp performances and the judges' houses performances.
During the finalists time on The X Factor, The Xtra Factor camera crew followed the finalists about during their day. The footage which was filmed throughout the week would be broadcast once the show went live, once a week. There would also be an exclusive interview of the act which had been eliminated during that week of the show, and an exclusive interview with the winner and their mentor.
The X Stream
The X Stream was an online live streaming show that was broadcast via The X Factor 's official website during the season four live performance shows on Monday nights. The show began on 17 September 2012 and was hosted by season three finalist Johnny Ruffo. The X Stream featured behind-the-scenes footage of the green room where contestants stay before and after their performances, a view of them waiting backstage as well as the contestants' responses after the judges commented on their performances. They also answered questions from viewers via Twitter. The X Stream did not return in 2013.
The Fan Factor
The Fan Factor is an online show that is hosted by comedy duo Luke & Wyatt. It began on 13 August 2014 and features an all-access pass to The X Factor. The hosts also answer questions and complete challenges that viewers have sent in. New episodes are released via The X Factor 's official website on Wednesday nights.
Music releases by The X Factor contestants
In November 2011, season three winner Reece Mastin became the first contestant to reach number one on the ARIA Singles Chart with the winner's single. To-date, Mastin is the most successful contestant, having released two top-five albums and three number-one singles (two in Australia and one in New Zealand). Season four winner Samantha Jade was the second contestant that topped the ARIA Singles Chart with the winner's single. Contestants have also achieved success on the New Zealand and South Korean charts.
After the winner of The X Factor is declared, their winner's single would be released onto iTunes. A few weeks later, their debut album would be released, which would contain their winner's single and cover versions of songs they performed as a contestant on the show. Since season three, the contestants' weekly performances are released onto iTunes for a limited time only, which lead to a number of downloads and in some cases their performances appear on the ARIA Singles Chart.
The top twelve finalists of the fourth season recorded a cover of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" as a charity single, in aid of Sony Foundation's You Can program which aims "to build specialised and age-appropriate youth cancer centres across Australia". The single was released on the iTunes Store on 18 September 2012. It marked the first time finalists on the Australian version had released a charity single. The show's second charity single, a cover of Pharrell Williams' "Happy", was also released to help raise funds for the You Can program. It was recorded by the top six finalists of the sixth season with Australian pop group Justice Crew and released on the iTunes Store on 29 September 2014.
|Country / Region||Channel|
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