It’s the most coveted job in reality TV – and this year, Simon Cowell has signed up some brand new X Factor judges to help him choose music’s next superstar.
Robbie Williams, Ayda Williams and Louis Tomlinson were confirmed as the new judges this week and the auditions start on July 18th at Wembley.
The three new judges appeared with Simon at a press conference at Somerset House in central London yesterday afternoon (July 17) where they were officially revealed.
Here is the official 2018 judges lineup
Robbie is a global superstar who has sold more than 75 million albums over his career and won 18 BRIT Awards - more than any other artist in history. Robbie has been playing to sold out stadiums across the world over the past year on his 'The Heavy Entertainment Show Tour’ - which has seen him perform to more than 1.25 million fans across the UK, Europe and Australasia. Robbie released the platinum-selling ‘The Heavy Entertainment Show’ album in November 2016 - it debuted at Number 1 on the UK album chart, giving Williams his 12th Number 1 solo album.
“For nearly 30 years I’ve been touring. I’ve been wanting to branch out and The X Factor felt like the perfect vehicle. Ayda is my rock, she’s looked after me through thick and thin. I’m looking forward to getting started as a judge!” he said.
Ayda Williams - actress, presenter and wife to Robbie for eight years - will be competing with her husband to claim the winning spot on this year’s show. Ayda has an invaluable inside take on how the music industry works and knows first-hand what it takes to forge a successful career. It is the first time on The X Factor UK that a husband and wife have been judges.
“On a professional level I’ve auditioned for years so I know the highs and lows. I know what it takes to help people achieve their dreams. It’s all about the auditionees, it’s an organic process. The fact I get to work with Rob and against him is fantastic!” said Ayda
Louis is the first judge to have also been a contestant on the show. As a member of One Direction he has sold more than 150 million records worldwide and achieved more than 100 global No1s.One Direction were the biggest selling UK act globally for three consecutive years and in 2013 they were overall the biggest selling act in the world.
As a solo artist, Louis’ single Back to You hit No.1 in 37 countries and has been streamed more than 220 million times. He recently won the 2018 iHeartRadio award for Best Solo Breakout and is currently recording his debut solo album.
“The X Factor for me made a lot of sense," said the singer. "Development of artists is something I’ve been interested in for a long time. Having been on the show myself I know first-hand that the live shows are like nothing else you would experience. I’m looking forward to guiding auditonees through the process.”
Music mogul and show creator Simon has been the mastermind behind some of the music industry’s biggest acts from Leona Lewisand One Direction to Little Mix and James Arthur. Acts from The X Factor UK have sold more than 250 million records globally to date.
"This new panel is all about optimism, everyone has a real passion for finding a new star. The three new judges bring a whole new energy and I’m excited," said Cowell.
Where is Sharon Osbourne?
Sharon will return as a judge on the live shows. It has not been revealed whether she will have any mentoring duties or how it will impact on the show format having an extra judge.
ITV has said that they are ushering in “a new era” for the contest, and that Sharon will have “an exciting new role”.
Sharon said: “I can’t wait to get back to the judges’ desk. I love the new format.”
In a big shock for fans of the programme, X Factor stalwart Louis Walsh’s departure from the show has been announced.
We’ve been here before with Louis – he tried to quit mid-series in 2005 before being convinced to return for the very next show, and in 2007 was briefly bumped from the panel in favour of choreographer Brian Friedman but was brought back after just a few days.
It seemed that Louis had expected to be starring in The X Factor again as he had told the Daily Mirror: "I have a signed, water-tight contract, as has Sharon. Of course you'll see us back on the show. Sharon and I have a three-year contract, and we've only done two, so this will be our third year. Simon doesn't break contracts."
But ITV has now revealed that he won’t be back, with Louis commenting: “I’ve had a fantastic 13 years on The X Factor but the show needs a change and I’m ready to leave.
“I’m looking forward to another series of Ireland’s Got Talent, going back to my day job as a manager, writing my memoirs and seeing the world!”
Former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger is always a popular choice with viewers and injects a lot of life into the show, but she won’t be returning in 2018.
Nicole didn’t have a contract that continued past the end of the 2017.
The X Factor will return in the autumn.
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