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X Factor USA


X Factor logo

X Factor logo

Courtesy Fox Television

Origin of 'X Factor':

X Factor was first launched as a UK talent show in September 2004. It was devised as a replacement for the successful series Pop Idol that went on indefinite hiatus after its second season. Pop Idol was the model for American Idol. Reportedly, Simon Cowell created X Factor so he could maintain personal control over the show. The similarities between the shows later led to legal conflicts. X Factor has been a tremendous success in the UK. It is the most popular television show there, and it has earned over 60% of the television audience share. The show has had a major effect on the pop music marketplace as well due to releases by winners, the impact of guest performances, and songs sung by contestants.

Launch In the USA:

Reports began to appear in April 2009 that Simon Cowell was looking to leave his judging position on American Idol and launch X Factor in the US. In January 2010 the official announcement appeared that Simon Cowell would leave American Idol after the ninth season and X Factor would launch in the US in the fall of 2011. Advertising announcing the upcoming arrival of the show began to appear in November 2010. In February of 2011 the X Factor producers announced that the show's winner would be guaranteed $5 million from Sony to launch their recording career.

'X Factor' Judges For Season One:

Some of the biggest speculation around X Factor's arrival in the US centered on who would sit on the judges' panel with Simon Cowell. At first the confirmed judges announced were Cheryl Cole, a judge on the UK's X Factor, Paula Abdul, former judge on American Idol, and L.A. Reid, major label music executive. However, it was soon announced that Cheryl Cole would be replaced by Nicole Scherzinger and controversy erupted over the reasons for the dismissal of Cheryl Cole. Welsh TV persenter Steve Jones will serve as the show's host.

Eligibility and Auditions:

X Factor competition is open to individuals and groups age 12 and up. There is no upper age limit. Auditions for X Factor take place in two rounds. First contestants audition for producers, and they select who will perform in front of the panel of judges. The singers who move on to bootcamp are then selected by the judges based on this second round of auditions.


The bootcamp segment of X Factor involves a series of performances that are designed to narrow down the pool of contestants. When the announcement is made of who graduates from bootcamp to the next round, each judge is also told which category of contestants they will mentor. The groupings for season two were Teens age 12-17, young adults age 18-24, over 25's, and groups. Each judge then proceeds to the judges' houses round with six contestants in their category.

Judges' Houses:

In the judges' houses round, each judge will go to a house in some part of the world to further mentor their contestants and eventually narrow the six down to three for the final live shows rounds. Often the houses are not actually ones owned by the judges, but instead may have been rented for the show. During this round each judge is assisted by an additional celebrity.

Live Shows:

Finally, the remaining 12 contestants advance to live shows televised each week. There will be two shows each week. The first will involve performances by the remaining contestants. The second will determine who is eliminated. In addition, guest performers will appear each week.

Season Two Of 'X Factor':

Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul were dropped as judges for the second season of X Factor. They were replaced by Britney Spears and Demi Lovato. The expected strong ratings from the presence of Britney Spears on the judging panel did not hold up through the season. Demi Lovato was strongly praised for her performance.

Season Three Of 'X Factor':

The third season of X Factor in the US was set to begin in the fall of 2013 with the judges panel shuffled again. L.A. Reid and Britney Spears exited the panel to be replaced by Kelly Rowland and Latin pop star Paulina Rubio.
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