While here American Idol is still a big deal, across the pond it's a different show altogether: The X Factor. You must've heard of it already. In the recent months talk of the show going to American shores has been going around, I've been throwing around Leona Lewis' name. "Most successful X Factor winner," I call her, and rightfully so, since she's achieved huge success both in the UK and around the world.
Well, Leona isn't the only big star that came out of the show. Other artists, such as Alexandra Burke and Shayne Ward, have become staples in British pop radio stations. Last year's runner-up, JLS, has also achieved success in the UK. Yep, JLS is a singing group.
That's a major difference between X Factor and Idol. While the latter only allows solo performers, the former also allows groups. In fact, performers are split into four categories: Boys (16-24 years old), Girls (16-24 years old), Over 25s, and Groups. The audition process is pretty similar to Idol's, though: performers who succeed in the first stage of auditions enter "boot camp", equivalent to the Hollywood round. (From what I've heard the plan is to do this in Las Vegas). The final 12 contestants will be determined at the "judges' houses"--well, they aren't really their houses, but imagine how they announced the Top 36 on Idol last year.
In X Factor's latest season, though, the first stage of auditions are held in front of a studio audience, similar to America's Got Talent.
The contestants then perform in live shows. This, of course, we know very well--after a performance, the judges pass their judgment and leave everything to the audience. But here's where things get different. A significant part of X Factor's dynamic comes from the judges, who are given categories to mentor. Say, one judge handles the Boys, and another judge handles the Girls. The judges only know which category they'll mentor during the Boot Camp, but at that point, they work closely with the contestants. Each category starts with six performers, and are whittled down to three when the live shows begin.
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