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

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 (2001–03). 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 in the other categories. Not only Idol, but also new singing shows The Voice and Rising Star have become rival shows 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 166 winners of The X Factor worldwide.

Country/Region Local title Network Winner Judges Hosts
X Factor TV Klan
Arab League Arab world The X Factor Rotana (1-2)
CBC (3)
MBC 4 (4)
Shant TV
  • Season 1, 2010–11: Vrezh Kirakosyan
  • Season 2, 2012–13: Kim Grigoryan
  • Season 3, 2014: Vahé Margaryan
  • Season 4, 2016-17: Current season
  • Current
  • Garik Papoyan
  • André (2–)
  • Erik (4-)
  • Shushanik Arevshatyan (4-)
  • Former
  • Egor Glumov (1, 3)
  • Naira Gyurjinyan (1–2)
  • Gisane Palyan (1–2)
  • Emmy (3)
  • Aram Mp3 (1–2)
  • Grisha Aghakhanyan (3)
 Australia The X Factor Former
Seven Network (2–8)
Network Ten (1)
X Factor Adria
  • Ana Grubin (live shows, 1)
  • Bane Jevtić (1, Auditions, backstage, 1)
  • Snezana Velkov (1, Auditions, backstage, 1)
  • Una Senić (X Star, judges' houses, 1)
  • Antonija Blaće (selection process, live shows, 2)
  • Aleksandar Radojičić (selection process, live shows, 2)
  • Nikolina Pišek (backstage, 2)
 Belgium X Factor vtm
 Brazil X Factor Band
 Bulgaria X Factor NovaTv
  • Current
  • Maria Ignatova (2–)
  • Alexandra Raeva (2–)
  • Former
  • Deo (1)
 Cambodia X Factor Cambodia Hang Meas HDTV Season 1, TBC: Upcoming season
  • TBA
  • TBA
 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
El Factor X Family
  • Season 1, 2015: Dúo Herencia
 Czech Republic X Factor TV Nova
 Czech Republic
X Factor Czech Republic Prima family
Slovakia TV JOJ
 Denmark X Factor DR
  • Current
  • Sofie Linde Lauridsen (9–)
  • Joakim Ingversen (Ultra Factor, 9–)
  • Former
  • Eva Harlou (7–8)
  • Lise Rønne (1–2, 4–5)
  • Signe Muusmann (3)
  • Signe Molde (6)
  • Emil Thorup (Xtra Factor, 6)
  • Thomas Skov (X Factor Backstage, 8)
 Ecuador Factor X Kids Ecuador Ecuavisa
  • Season 1, 2015: Celena Rosero
 Finland X Factor MTV3
  • Heikki Paasonen
  • Jukka Rossi (Xtra Factor)
X Factor France M6 (2)
France W9 (1)
BelgiumWallonia RTL–TVI
X Factor Georgia
X ფაქტორი
Rustavi 2
  • Season 1, 2014: Tornike Kipiani
  • Season 2, 2015: Giorgi Nakashidze
  • Season 3, 2016: Avto Abeslamidze
  • Season 4, 2017: Upcoming Season
  • Ruska Makashvili
  • Giorgi Kipshidze
 Germany X Factor VOX
The X Factor Current
Skai TV
Sigma TV
ANT1 (1-3)
  • Current
  • Giorgos Theofanous (1–)
  • Tamta (4–)
  • Thodoris Marantinis (4–)
  • TBA
  • Former
  • George Levendis (1–3)
  • Katerina Gagaki (1–3)
  • Nikos Mouratidis (1–3)
  • Peggy Zina (4)
  • Current
  • Sakis Rouvas (1–)
  • Evangelia Aravani (backstage, 4–)
  • Former
  • Giorgos Lianos (auditions, 1–3)
  • Despina Kampouri (auditions, 1–2)
  • Maria Sinatsaki (auditions, 3)
 Hungary X-Faktor RTL Klub
 Iceland X Factor Stöð 2
  • Halla Vilhjálmsdóttir (1)
 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 TV8 (10-)
Sky Uno (5–)
Rai 2 (1–4)
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
  • Season 6, 2015: Astana Kargabay
  • Season 7, 2017: Upcoming Season
  • Current
  • Nagima Eskalieva
  • Eva Becher (6–)
  • Nurbergen Makhambetov (5 from live–)
  • Former
  • Alexander Shevchenko (1–5)
  • Sultana Karazhigitova (1–2, until live)
  • Ismail Igіlmanov (2, from live)
  • Erlan Kokeev (3)
  • Dilnaz Akhmadieva (4–5, until live)
  • Current
  • Arnur Istybaev (2–)
  • Former
  • Adil Liyan (1)
 Lithuania X Faktorius TV3
  • Season 1, 2012–13: Giedrė Vokietytė
  • Season 2, 2013–14: Žygimantas Gečas
  • Season 3, 2015–16: Monika Pundziūtė
  • Season 4. 2016-17: Iglė Bernotaitytė
  • Season 5. 2017: Upcoming Season
 Myanmar The X Factor MRTV
  • Season 1, 2016: Htun Naung Sint
  • Season 2, 2017: Upcoming Season
  • Si Thu Lwin
  • Nge Nge
  • Eint Chit
  • Za War
  • Zaw Htet
 Netherlands X Factor RTL 4
  • Wendy van Dijk (1–4)
  • Martijn Krabbe (2–5)
  • Nathalie Bulters (Backstage, 3)
  • Eva Treurniet (Backstage, 3)
  • Lieke van Lexmond (Backstage, 4)
  • Ferry Doedens (Backstage, 5)
 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
  • Season 1, (winter 2015): Uzbekistan Sardor Milano
  • Season 2, (2015–16): Arseniy Borodin
 Slovenia X Faktor POP TV
  • Season 1, 2012: Demetra Malalan
  • Damjan Damjanovič
  • Jadranka Juras
  • Aleš Uranjek
 South Africa The X Factor SA SABC 1
  • Season 1, 2015: FOUR
  • 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
 Thailand ปัจจัย X
X Factor
Channel 3
  • Season 1, 2017: Upcoming series
  • TBA
  • TBA
 Turkey X Factor: Star Işığı Kanal D
  • Season 1, 2014: Halil Polat
  • Current
  • Bülent Şakrak (1–)
  • Former
  • Kadir Doğulu (1)
 Ukraine The X Factor STB
  • Season 1, 2010–11: Olexiy Kuznetsov
  • Season 2, 2011–12: Viktor Romanchenko
  • Season 3, 2012–13: Aida Nikolaychuk
  • Season 4, 2013–14: Oleksandr Poriadynsky
  • Season 5, 2014: Dmytro Babak
  • Season 6, 2015: Kostiantyn Bocharov
  • Season 7, 2016: Armenia Sevak Hanagyan
  • Season 8, 2017: Upcoming Season

  • Oksana Marchenko
  • Andriy Bedniakov (7–)
 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
(Spanish Kids version)
  • Season 1, 2013: Los Tres Charritos
 Vietnam The X Factor Vietnam
Nhân tố bí ẩn
  • Season 1, 2014: Giang Hồng Ngọc
  • Season 2, 2016: Trần Minh Như
  • Season 3, 2017: Upcoming season
  • Current
  • Thành Trung (2–)
  • Gil Lê (2–)
  • Former
  • Nguyên Khang
  • Thu Thủy
  1. ^ Also shown in Republic of Ireland and in series 3, 4, 7 and 13 auditions were held in Dublin, and viewers in Ireland were allowed to vote. The UK version of The X Factor is also shown in Malta on channel TVM.

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[edit]

On the second series of The X Factor, 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 it's 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 (Moon's 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 fuck 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[edit]

On the second series of The X Factor, in the sixth audition show which aired on television on 24 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 apologized 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 the victim's mother 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 as "a very poor editorial decision" and saying that "a more rigid approval process" would ensure a similar situation would not happen in future.[18]

Natalia Kills' and Willy Moon's abuse of Joe Irvine[edit]

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"and "atrocious" and a "doppelganger" of her husband.[20] Moon continued the assault, stating Irvine was "like Norman Bates dressing up in his mother's 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 15 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.[citation needed]

Moon and Kills were both fired from the show the day after the incident, several hours before the next episode went to air.[22]

United Kingdom[edit]

United States[edit]

Rachel Crow elimination[edit]

  • During week 7 of the live shows during the first season, judge Nicole Scherzinger could not decide which act to send home between contestants Rachel Crow and Marcus Canty. Scherzinger sent the vote to deadlock to let America's votes determine who would be eliminated. Crow was eliminated, shocking Crow, Scherzinger, and fans. Scherzinger was booed off the stage at the end of the show with many calling for her to be fired[23] and subsequently received death threats from some viewers.[24] It is speculated that this is the main reason for Scherzinger's dismissal as a judge following the season ending and subsequent transfer to the UK version of the show.

Don Phillip audtion[edit]

  • In the season two premiere, Don Philip, someone who once collaborated with Britney Spears, auditioned in front of the judges, and received a "no" from all judges. He then told Access Hollywood that ten minutes of footage from the interview was cut as he says he felt bullied into revealing he was gay.[25] Spears reportedly replied "It is fine that you are gay," though that was edited out as well.[26] Those at Fox then released a statement saying "The judges were not given any information at all about Mr. Philip prior to his audition."[27]

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.[28][29][30]

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. ^ [1] Archived 6 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  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. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Beswick, Angela (16 March 2015). "Natalia Kills, Willy Moon fired from X Factor NZ". TV3. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  22. ^ Piper, Dean (11 December 2011). "Nicole Scherzinger faces the axe after US X Factor backlash". Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  23. ^ Posted by Geno (2011-12-14). "Geno's World: Nicole Scherzinger On Receiving Death Threats Over Rachel Crow's 'X Factor' Elimination". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  24. ^ 'X Factor' contestant Don Philip: I was 'bullied' into revealing that I'm gay - The Clicker
  25. ^ X Factor Edits Don Philip's Coming Out Gay To Britney Spears On Season Debut
  26. ^ Britney Spears’ Former Duet Parter Don Philip Says He Was ‘Set Up’ on ‘X Factor’
  27. ^ "X Factor Around The World, Aksi Kumpulan Bintang!" (in Indonesian). 16 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  28. ^ "X Factor Around The World Promo". X Factor Indonesia Official YouTube. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  29. ^ "Fatin dan Novita Akan Diadu Dengan Jawara X Factor Seluruh Dunia dengan Juri Paula Abdul". Tribun News. 19 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-19.