It’s the round that all X Factor contestants hope to make it to – not only does it mean you're within touching distance of the live shows, but you also get a free luxury holiday.
Judges' Houses can be a bit of a lottery depending which category you’re in, but this year all the contestants are in for a treat as even Louis Walsh, who often makes do with rainy Ireland, has been sent to a sunny location.
Those contestants who were lucky enough to get through the six chair challenge will be rubbing their hands together at the prospect of a sumptuous setting for the next round. Let’s hope this year’s choices don’t disappoint.
When does Judges' Houses begin?
The show's format has had a bit of a shake-up this year, with Cowell accepting that people are far more interested in the early audition rounds than they are in endless live shows and public votes.
Finally, we're hitting Judges' Houses on Saturday and Sunday October 21 and 22, by which time, in previous years, the live shows would already have started.
Apparently, we should be expecting around six weeks of live shows this year which has been slashed down from the previous 10 in the run-up to the grand final.
Where will the Judges' Houses be this time?
Passports at the ready, contestants – there are some exciting locations on the cards this year, even for Louis' boys.
Nicole Scherzinger is continuing her tour of sun-drenched destinations by jetting off to South Africa with her category, which this year is the Overs. The judge always chooses a 'schamazing' place to whittle down her group, so her contestants should expect five-star luxury.
Sharon Osbourne usually heads back home to Los Angeles to gather her thoughts on who her final three should be, but this time an Instagram post of her heading home from some X Factor auditions on a private jet revealed that she had been to San Francisco.
The groups, who are matched with Simon Cowell, will get the chance to see his French Riviera home as they have been invited to join him in Nice for the next round.
For years, Walsh would welcome his category to his grand house in Ireland, which always seemed a bit of a short straw next to the far-flung locations of the other auditions. In recent years he has travelled to Las Vegas and Bermuda, and now his mentees are in luck once more as they will be flying to Istanbul.
Who will join them as guest judges?
Cheryl fans will be pleased to know that the former judge is coming back to join pal Cowell at his Nice house. The singer has been taking a break from work since giving birth to her son Bear with Liam Payne in March, so this appearance could mark her easing back into reality TV duties.
However, Cheryl’s return means that sadly there will be no space for Sinitta to join her ex on holiday again, and the So Macho singer has indeed confirmed that she won’t be donning her palm leaves at Cowell’s house this year. She tweeted: “Today I was informed I will Not be doing @TheXFactor again this year (after being invited back 2 years in a row and so close to filming),” alongside a cartoon of herself with a block of ice bearing the words “That’s cold”.
Sinitta had previously told The Sun: “You can’t look like that, have hair like that, have Liam, have the perfect baby, the perfect body, the perfect face, be a pop star, be drop-dead gorgeous and take Judges’ Houses. She needs to stay in her lane a little bit. I love you Chez but don’t even go there – not that I’m bothered. I thought I was coming back but now I’ve heard Cheryl is coming back. Simon has been a bit quiet on text and WhatsApp.”
Meanwhile, Scherzy will be cashing in on man of the moment Stormzy to assist her in choosing her final three. The Mercury Prize-nominated rapper has had a hugely successful year so far, so is a real coup for the show.
Mrs O will be taking the opportunity to have a family reunion when it comes to her Judges' House. Her Instagram post showed son Jack and daughter Kelly travelling on the private jet with her after helping her choose between the girls, although husband Ozzy is not expected to be pulling up a chair alongside them.
Walsh has definitely thought outside of the box in picking a pal to help him sort through the boys. He's enlisted Mika, who hasn't had a UK hit for quite some time but who has served as a judge on the X Factor Italy as well as on the French version of The Voice.
Who has made it to Judges' Houses?
There are now just 24 acts left in the competition, but that number will need to be slashed in half by the end of the Judges' Houses round.
Aidan Martin, 27, London - a barman and events host who performs his own original songs.
Jack Mason, 18, Aldershot - a busker with an impressive vocal range.
Leon Mallet, 22, Norwich - an urban pop singer who was told to ditch his brother as his double act partner.
Lloyd Macey, 23, The Valleys, South Wales - a graduate with a musical theatre/pop crossover voice.
Sam Black, 27, Isle of Man - a plasterer who was originally sent home from bootcamp, brought back to the competition to replace Anthony Russell.
Spencer Sutherland, 25, Ohio - an American contestant who has been jetting over from the US for every round.
Alisah Banaobra, 22, Philippines - one of this year's international contestants with a huge musical theatre voice.
Deanna Mussington, 22, Anguilla - another hopeful travelling to the UK for a shot at stardom, she is influenced by soul and Caribbean sounds.
Georgina Panton, 20, Birmingham - a mum with an eccentric personality who is a judges' favourite.
Grace Davies, 20, Blackburn - a singer-songwriter who has impressed with her original songs and is tipped to win.
Holly Tandy, 16, Barnsley - a pub singer who names her grandad as her biggest fan.
Rai-Elle Williams, 16, Croydon - a student with a soulful voice who has been a hit with the judges.
Berget Lewis, 45, Amsterdam - a professional singer who has had hits in the Netherlands.
Kevin Davy White, 29, London - a singer originally from Paris.
Matt Linnen, 28, Southend-on-Sea - a plasterer with a rock style to his voice.
Slavko, 31, Montenegro - a skilled dancer with a stand-out braid who met Walsh at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Talia Dean, 32, London - an airport VIP concierge who was originally booted out at six chair challenge, then brought back by audience demand.
Tracyleanne Jefford, 34, Middlesex - a mum with a retro voice and musical style.
Jack and Joel, both 22, London - a singer and beat-boxer who met at Oxford University.
Lemonade, 16-20, London and Derby - a vocal harmony group with a 90s R'n'B vibe.
Rak-Su, all 25, London - a group of old school mates whose original tracks have proved popular.
Sean and Conor Price, 15 and 17, Ireland - busking brothers inspired by Ed Sheeran.
The Cutkelvins, 20-24, Lanark - Scottish sibling trio of singers and rappers.
New girl group, 17-22, UK - currently nameless, the group of six was put together by Cowell from auditionees rejected in previous rounds.
The X Factor continues on Saturday, October 21 at 8.20pm on ITV.
Photo Credit: Dymond/Thames/Syco/REX/Shutterstock