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The X Factor UK (Series 15)
XFUK15
Series 15
Broadcast from September 1, 2018
Judges Simon Cowell
Sharon Osbourne
Robbie Williams
Ayda Field
Louis Tomlinson
Presenters Dermot O'Leary
Network ITV
Number of finalists 16
Notable returnees Tom Richards (7)
Anthony Russell (4, 14)
Scarlett Lee (14)
Chronology
Previous Series 14
Next Series 16

Series 15 of The X Factor premiered on ITV on September 1, 2018.

Production

On 1 January 2017, rumors spreaded via Twitter, a fifteenth series of the show would be happening in 2018. On 23 January 2017, Simon Cowell had confirmed Series 15, and stated it would be 'more thrilling than Series 14'. In October 2017, during the fourteenth series, Louis Walsh revealed that he and Sharon Osbourne had already signed for another year as judges and they would return for the fifteenth series. However, in June 2018 Walsh released a statement confirming his departure. It was also revealed that Osbourne would only be present for the live shows.

It was also rumoured that Cheryl, after making her comeback at Simon's judges houses, would return to the show as a fulltime judge replacing Nicole Scherzinger. Speaking about the latter possibly not returning, Louis Walsh said in an interview that he would like to see Mel B or Mika, who assisted him at Judges' Houses during the 2017 series, join the panel.  However, in an interview with OK! Magazine Nicole Scherzinger confirmed that producers had asked her to return.

In a December 2017 interview with entertainment website Digital Spy, Alesha Dixon, who filled in for judges Nicole Scherzinger and Sharon Osbourne in audition stages and Simon Cowell during the live shows during Series 14, stated her uncertainty about being asked to participate in the 2018 series since she is committed to Britain's Got Talent. In April 2018, it was revealed by the Sun, that Nicole had been axed from the show and even though their contracts had been renewed, it was also revealed that the producers were also thinking of getting rid of Sharon and Louis too. Possible replacements that have been touted, would include; Cheryl, Alesha Dixon, Mariah Carey and Kylie Minogue for Nicole and Sharon and Louis Tomlinson or Craig David for Louis' replacement.[1]

On 1 April 2018, it was confirmed that Nicole Scherzinger would not return for this series.  In June 2018, it was announced that Louis Walsh will not return for this series, marking his second time that he would not be present on the final judging panel.

On July 17, 2018, it was confirmed that Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams, Ayda Field and Simon Cowell were to be the judges for this season. [2]

As Robbie Williams would be absent for three weekends of the live shows, it was announced that Chic co-founder Nile Rodgers, who assisted Louis Tomlinson at Judges' Houses, would be taking his place on the judging panel, beginning with the results show on November 4. Williams will return to the show for the weekend of November 24.

Twists/Changes

Age limit: The minimum age limit remained at 14 years old.

Auditions: The room auditions were scrapped once more in favour of the arena auditions, which were held in London.

Bootcamp: This has been scrapped with a deliberation stage being introduced to cut down the yeses from the auditions to perform at the Six Chair Challenge.

Category Change: For the first time in the orginal show's run, the maximum age for both the Boys and Girls categories was 29 years old which meant that the Overs category became the Over 30s.  This is similar to Season 1 of The X Factor USA.

Six Chair Challenge: In a change to previous years, a golden buzzer was introduced with an 'X' on it, meaning that when it is pressed that act is guaranteed a 'Safe Seat', which indicates that the category's judge cannot remove them from the seat and therefore they are put through to Judges' Houses.

Judges' Houses: It was announced that four acts will be taken through to the live shows. This previously happened in 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2014.

No Wildcard: Due to the judges taking four acts through to the live shows, there will be no wildcard for the first time since Series 10.

Live Shows: In a change to the format from 2004 to 2017, there was due five judges with Sharon Osbourne acting as an impartial judge. However, on September 30, it was announced that Osbourne will no longer be taking part in the show.

Results Show: After the sing-off was scrapped for Series 14 in favour of a 'prize fight', the latter has been scrapped in order to return to the bottom three, introduced in Series 11, with the lowest-voted act being automatically eliminated and the next two lowest-voted facing the sing-off. Due to technical issues during the Week 3 live shows, the phone lines did not open after the Saturday show and on the Sunday results show the flash vote, first seen in Series 10, was reintroduced to reveal which acts would be in the bottom three.

Finalists

Contestant Category Finish Elimination
Olatunjiyearwoodmini Olatunji Yearwood
32, Trinidad and Tobago
Over 30s 16th
week one
Fewest public votes
Armstrongmartinsmini Armstrong Martins
23, London
Boys 15th
week one
Majority vote
Janicerobinsonmini Janice Robinson
50, New Jersey
Overs 14th
week two
Fewest public votes
Lmachoirmini LMA Choir
19-40, Liverpool
Groups 13th
week two
Deadlock
Unitedvibemini United Vibe
17-20, various places
Groups 12th
week three
Fewest public votes
Mollyscottmini Molly Scott
16, County Durham
Girls 11th
week three
Majority vote
Misunderstoodmini Misunderstood
25-27, London
Groups 10th
week four
Fewest public votes
Giovannispanomini Giovanni Spano
33, West London
Overs 9th
week four
Majority vote
8th
week five
Fewest public votes
7th
week five

Selection Process

Auditions

See: List of The X Factor UK auditionees (series 15)
The auditions began on July 18, 2018 and for the first time they were all held exclusively in the SSE Arena Wembley, with the room auditions having been cut. Unlike the previous season, the Bootcamp stage of the competition was axed, meaning auditionees who got through would instead be sent through to a deciding stage, that would take place over two days before the Six Chair Challenge.

Returnees for this year included Anthony Russell who auditioned for the show in 2007, being eliminated at Bootcamo, and in 2017, successfully reaching the Judges' Houses stage before withdrawing due to personal reasons and Scarlett Lee who auditioned in 2017 and made it to Sharon Osbourne's Six Chair Challenge, but was eliminated after failing to impress in a sing-off with Rai-Elle Williams and Alisah Bonaobra. Tom Richards previously auditioned during Series 7 in 2010 and made it to Judges' Houses in the Boys category mentored by Dannii Minogue but was not selected for the live shows.

Six Chair Challenge

See: Six Chair Challenge (UK series 15)
This took place from August 1st to 3rd at the SSE Arena, Wembley. The act who received the Golden Buzzer is highlighted in gold:

Summary of six chair challenge
Judge Category Chairs
1 2 3 4 5 6
Field Overs Olatunji Janice Robinson Ricky John Louise Setara Giovanni Spano Danny Tetley
Cowell Girls Bella Penfold Shanice Smith Maria Laroco Scarlett Lee Georgia Burgess Molly Scott
Tomlinson Boys Brendan Murray Dalton Harris Anthony Russell JSOL Thomas Pound Armstrong Martins
Williams Groups VibeFive Misunderstood Sweet Scents LMA Choir A Star Panda and Burgundy

Judges Houses

See: Judges' Houses (UK series 15)

Summary of judges' houses
Judge Category Location Guest mentor(s) Contestants eliminated
Cowell Girls Malibu, CA Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, Ryan Seacrest, Diane Warren, Babyface, Michelle Visage, Adam LambertLeona Lewis, Sinitta, Paul Anka, Tricky Stewart & Dallas Austin Maria Laroco, Georgia Burgess
Field Overs Los Angeles, CA Adam Lambert & Leona Lewis Ricky John, Louise Setara
Tomlinson Boys Ibiza Liam Payne & Nile Rogers J-Sol, Thomas Pound
Williams Groups Beverly Hills, CA David Walliams Panda and Burgandy, Sweet Sense

Live Shows

Results Summary

Weekly results per contestant
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Eliminated Olatunjiyearwoodmini Armstrongmartinsmini Janicerobinsonmini Lmachoirmini Unitedvibemini Mollyscottmini Misunderstoodmini Giovannispanomini
7th
Eliminated
(week 5)
8th
Eliminated
(week 5)
Giovanni Spano Safe Safe Safe 9th
Eliminated
(week 4)
Misunderstood Safe Safe Safe 10th
Eliminated
(week 4)
Molly Scott Safe Safe 11th
Eliminated
(week 3)
United Vibe Safe Safe 12th
Eliminated
(week 3}
LMA Choir Safe 13th
Eliminated
(week 2)
Janice Robinson Bottom three 14th
Eliminated
(week 2)
Armstrong Martins 15th
Eliminated
(week 1)
Olatunji Yearwoood 16th
Eliminated
(week 1)
Sing-off Robinson,
Martins
LMA Choir,
Murray
Acacia & Aaliyah,
Scott
Spano,
Acacia & Aaliyah
Field's vote
to eliminate
Martins Murray ScottAcacia & Aaliyah
Tomlinson's vote
to eliminate
Robinson LMA Choir ScottSpano
Williams' vote
to eliminate
Martins Murray N/AN/A
Rodgers' vote
to eliminate
N/A N/A ScottSpano
Cowell's vote
to eliminate
Martins LMA Choir Acacia & AaliyahSpano
Eliminated Martins
(3 of 4)
Majority vote
LMA Choir
(2 of 4)
Deadlock
Scott
(3 of 4)
Majority vote
Soano
{3 of 4)
Majority vote

Controversies

Felix Sheperd

During the audition stages, a 20-year old transgender man named Felix Sheperd performed "All I Want" by Kodaline, impressing the judges and receiving a standing ovation from the audience.  Before his performance, Robbie Williams asked him about his background and dead-named him.  Although many fans were supportive of Sheperd's decision, others were outraged about Williams' actions.

Sharon Osbourne

In an interview on The Howard Stern Show, Osbourne went on an expletive-laden rant about Simon Cowell's treatment of her and what she would do to him in return.  This led to fans demanding her replacement on the show, where she had only been due to replace Robbie Williams for the live shows due to his busy tour schedule. On September 30, she confirmed that she would no longer be taking part in the show.

Technical issues

The third live show saw technical issues where the judges and acts Danny Tetley and Anthony Russell sounded distorted. An onscreen message apologised for the disruption and as a result it was decided to open the voting lines the following evening during the results show. Presenter Dermot O'Leary did not address the matter during latter since the Saturday show had been prerecorded due to Robbie Williams' absence.

Ratings

References