When is The X Factor back? Who are the judges? Who are the presenters? Everything you need to know

Get ready for the return of the biggest music contest on TV.

It’s almost that time of year again already – the X Factor is due to return to our screens over the autumn and the anticipation is building.

Simon Cowell, Robbie Williams, Ayda Williams and Louis Tomlinson were confirmed as the judges this week and the auditions start in July.

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.

Find out all you need to know about the new series right here.

[Read more: X Factor winners - Where are they now?]

When is The X Factor back on TV?

X Factor is back  on Saturday, September 1st at 8pm on ITV.

The search for a new music superstar gets underway as The X Factor returns to ITV. Heralding the start of a new era for the nation’s most talked about entertainment show, is a brand-new panel with Robbie Williams, Ayda Williams and Louis Tomlinson joining music mogul Simon Cowell as judges.

Returning as host is Mr Saturday Night, Dermot O’Leary, who will be on hand to guide viewers and contestants alike through their X Factor journey, providing them with a word of advice or a much-needed hug as the contestants perform in front of the judging pa

This series sees the return of the arena auditions at The SSE Arena, Wembley, where the hopefuls will have to perform not only for the judges but live in front of members of the public, making it the biggest audition of their lives. Should they impress and secure three or more ‘yeses’ they will go through to the judge’s deliberation, where the judges will review and decide who gets to perform in the Six Chair Challenge. This is all before the competition really heats up and culminates with the live shows later in the year.

Expect outstanding vocals and sensational performances, as the judges and contestants go all out in a bid to be crowned The X Factor Champion 2018.

Who are the judges?

Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams

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

Ayda Williams

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 Tomlinson

Louis Tomlinson

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.”

Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell

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 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.

Who is not returning?

This is an interesting one – it was recently announced that longstanding mentor Louis Walsh would not be on the judges’ panel for 2018, ending his association with the show which has seen him take part in 12 of its 13 seasons.

He said: “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!”

[Read more: Louis Walsh leaves 'new era' X Factor]

Back in 2005, Louis tried to quit the show mid-series after a row with pal Sharon Osbourne, but was convinced to return almost straight away.

In 2007, he was briefly relegated to a backstage role but when it became clear that his replacement judge, Brian Friedman, wasn’t quite what head judge Simon Cowell was looking for, Louis was reinstated.


His bowing out of the series may come as a surprise as just a couple of months ago he 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."

Who are the presenters?

Dermot O’Leary will be back at the show’s helm.

He briefly left The X Factor in 2015 when duo Olly Murs and Caroline Flack took over presenting duties, but had been tempted back by 2016 and looks like he isn’t budging any time soon.

Dermot has already revealed that he has had some early production meetings for the new series, so we’re expecting him to be dancing back onto our screens come August.

What’s new for 2018?

Added to the changes on the judges’ panel, we’re expecting to see another shake-up in the format as ITV have billed it as “a new era” for The X Factor.

Of course, we’re waiting to see what role Sharon will fulfil at the live shows – will she mentor a fifth category, or weigh in on the other judges’ decisions?

The auditions have left UK shores for the first time this year, holding some of the first round tryouts in the sunnier climes of Benidorm and Tenerife.

We’re sure that plenty more changes will be unveiled as the launch date draws closer.

[Read more: Strictly Come Dancing 2018 judges confirmed]

How to get tickets for The X Factor

Audience tickets for the auditions are still available via Applause Store.

The X Factor returns on Saturday, September 1st at 8pm.

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