The X Factor (UK series 4)

The X Factor (UK series 4)

The fourth UK series of "The X Factor" was broadcast on ITV in autumn 2007. The first show aired on 18 August 2007 and the series was won by Leon Jackson on 15 December 2007.cite news|title=Leon Jackson takes X Factor crown |url=|publisher=BBC News|date=2007-12-16|accessdate=2007-12-16]

The show's fourth run saw a number of changes to the format, most notably the lowering of the minimum age for participants from 16 to 14 and the increase in the number of categories from three to four resulting from the division of the under-25s into separate male and female categories.

The series hit the headlines even before recording began. Some of the controversy centred upon whether 14 year olds should be eligible to enter, and also on the high-profile dismissals of judge Louis Walsh and presenter Kate Thornton, [citenews|url=|title=Simon Cowell Reveals Why He Sacked Kate And Louis|publisher="Unreality TV"|date=11 March 2007|accessdate=2007-06-25] [citenews|url=|title=Kate Thornton faces 'X Factor' axe?|publisher="Digital Spy"|date=25 October 2006|accessdate=2007-06-25] to be replaced by choreographer and "Grease Is The Word" judge Brian Friedman and "Big Brother's Little Brother" host Dermot O'Leary respectively. Before hiring Freidman and Minogue, Cowell had apparantly approached colegue and fellow American Idol judge Randy Jackson, and close friend and x factor mentor Sinitta. Walsh, however, was quickly reinstated, with Friedman becoming the show's choreographer.

Jackson's prize as winner was a £1 million recording contract. [citenews|url=|title=Leon Jackson takes X Factor crown|accessdate=2007-12-17] His first single release was "When You Believe", originally recorded by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, re-worked for the finalists by composer Stephen Schwartz and released to download on 16 December 2007 with the CD format following from 19 December). The single became that year's Christmas Number One in the UK Singles Chart.



In March 2007 it was reported that judge Louis Walsh, who had appeared in all three previous series, had been sacked. This, along with the additional category, created vacancies for two new judges to join the original panel of Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne. [ [,,2001320029-2007110351,00.html Mr Nasty gives judge Louis sack] , "The Sun", March 9, 2007] The new judges were initially confirmed as Dannii Minogue and Brian Friedman. [cite web|url=|title="Fourth Series - Fourth Judge"|publisher="The X Factor"|accessdate=2007-06-04|date=2007-06-04]

Friedman appeared as a judge at early auditions, but on 22 June 2007 it was announced that he had stood down after discussing with Cowell that he was struggling in the role. Walsh was then reinstated and rejoined Cowell, Osbourne and Minogue at the Manchester auditions. Friedman remained on the show as a performance coach and choreographer, billed on screen as "Creative Director". [citenews|url=,,2007280828,00.html|title=Cowell and Walsh reLounited|publisher="The Sun"|date=22 June 2007|accessdate=2007-06-22] [citenews|url=|title=LOUIS' X AND MAKE UP|publisher="The Daily Mirror"|date=22 June 2007|accessdate=2007-06-22] [citenews|url=|title=Cowell backs down and calls for the Louis Factor again|publisher="The Daily Mail"|date=22 June 2007|accessdate=2007-06-22] [citenews|url=|title=Louis Walsh returns to "X Factor"|publisher=ITV News|date=22 June 2007|accessdate=2007-06-22] [citenews|url=|title=Louis Walsh returns to "The X Factor"|publisher=Digital Spy|date=22 June 2007|accessdate=2007-06-22] Suggestions that Walsh's firing and rehiring was concocted to generate publicity were denied. [ [,,50001-1271828,00.html Lou's X Factor Return] , Sky Showbiz] [ [ Louis 'thrilled' to return to the X Factor] , "Telegraph", June 23, 2007]

Commenting on Friedman's replacement by Walsh, Osbourne said that there was no "chemistry" within the original judging lineup, and that the atmosphere was "very uncomfortable". Cowell stated that the atmosphere was "very weird". For his part, Friedman said he felt "incredibly let down with the British talent".cite episode
title = Episode 1
series = The X Factor (series 4)
serieslink = The X Factor (TV series)
station = ITV
city = London
airdate = 2007-08-18

In a clip of the show that aired at the ITV Autumn Launch, Osbourne said that she felt it was "her year to win", adding: "If I don't win I will fire myself – before someone else does!"

Osbourne's walkout

During the results of the first live show on 20 October, judge Osbourne walked away from the panel after it was revealed that both the bottom two acts came from her category. This left the three remaining judges (Cowell, Minogue and Walsh) to decide which of the bottom two would leave the contest. When presenter Dermot O'Leary asked Osbourne for her vote she claimed to have left the show, saying, "I'm out—gone". [cite episode
title = Episode 11: Live Show 1
series = The X Factor (series 4)
serieslink = The X Factor (TV series)
station = ITV
city = London
airdate = 2007-10-20
] [cite news|title=Sharon: I want to go back to X Factor|url=|publisher=UTV|date=24 October 2007|accessdate=2007-10-24] It later emerged that Osbourne was dissatisfied with the last-minute rescheduling of the programme from 17:45 to 17:30, claiming that fewer people saw the performance of her act, Kimberley Southwick, as she was first on stage. After a considerable amount of media coverage, including Paul O'Grady convincing Osbourne to return live on his chat show, it was confirmed on 23 October by Osbourne's spokesman that the judge would return to the show. [citenews|url=|title=Sharon Osbourne Returns To X Factor|publisher=Unreality TV|date=22 October 2007|accessdate=2007-10-23] [cite web|url=|title=Sharon speaks|publisher=The X Factor|date=23 October 2007|accessdate=2007-10-23] A newspaper source explained that leaving prematurely would have been breach of contract and the legal repercussions would have made it in Osbourne's interests to return to the panel. [citenews|url=|title=Sharon's exit after Dannii row|publisher=The Sun|date=22 October 2007|accessdate=2007-10-23]

Alleged feuds and alliances

During the filming of "The X Factor", there was much media speculation about rumoured feuds between the judges, most notably between Sharon Osbourne and Dannii Minogue. One report emerged of a backstage argument just 15 minutes before they were due to go live on television." [ The Bitch Factor: Forget the X Factor contestants, it's the judges who are at war] ". The Daily Mail, December 14 2007. Retrieved on 2007-12-14.] On one show, Minogue criticised contestant Niki Evans's tuning, which prompted Niki's mentor, Louis Walsh, to suggest live on television that Minogue herself could not sing. Minogue then reportedly missed part of the results show as she was crying. In an interview published on December 2 2007, Minogue stated "As for Sharon, you don't click with everybody. But it's her choice not to be friends. Apparently she's envious because I'm younger and prettier.",Adam Lee-Potter. " [ Xclusive: Dannii..I'm single & so happy] ". "Daily Mirror", December 2 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-03.] and in another that she feels "younger and prettier" compared with the other judges. [" [ Sharon Osbourne's savage attack on Dannii Minogue: 'She's only on X Factor because of her looks'] ". The Daily Mail. Retrieved on 2007-12-15.] During Osbourne's appearance on "The Graham Norton Show", she stated, referring to Minogue, "She knows she's there because of her looks, not because of her contribution to the music industry." In a press conference held on Wednesday December 12 2007, when asked why she had been publicly talking about Minogue, Osbourne said "It's an even playing field, Dannii speaks about me, I speak about her." Minogue said in turn "I've looked up to Sharon and Louis for years and I wanted to be part of that gang. But when they're slating you, you think: 'Please don't, I really like you.'" Cowell has admitted that Osbourne does not feel comfortable about having a new judge and that Osbourne and Minogue will never be "the best of buddies," adding that if Osbourne wanted to leave the show, he would let her. [cite news|url=|title=‘IF SHARON WANTS TO GO, IT’S FINE BY ME’|publisher="Daily Star"|date=20 October 2007|accessdate=2007-10-21] "The Daily Mail" has reported that Cowell was forced to sit the judges down, asking them to maintain a civil relationship with each other behind the scenes. The apparent flirting between Cowell and Minogue has also generated comment in the popular media. [ [ "Simon Cowell admits staring at Dannii Minogue's bum"] , "Now" Magazine, 24 October 2007] [ [ "Cowell: Dannii has seX Factor"] , "The Sun", 20 Oct 2007]


Series 4 presented a change in the panelists' judging style. Simon Cowell said at the ITV Autumn Launch: "We tried to be bit more impartial as judges, and that, you'll see a lot more of on X Factor. There's still competition within the judges but our job essentially is to find a star." [citenews|url=|title=ITV Home - ITV|publisher=ITV VIDEO|date=12 July 2007|accessdate=2007-08-15] This ethic was put into practice with the judges working together at the bootcamp. At the live stages, the acts were no longer introduced with their mentors at the start of the show. Only the judges were introduced, after which the individual performances began.


Following the axing of series 1–3 presenter Kate Thornton, Dermot O'Leary took over as host for series 4. [cite news|url=|title=O'Leary to present X Factor show|publisher=BBC News|date=30 March 2007|accessdate=2007-04-09] In an interview with ITV Head of Entertainment and Comedy, Paul Jackson, Dermot O'Leary said he was still getting used to handling the rejected at the auditions: "I'm still trying to work it out. It's an emotionally exhausting show to do."

Fearne Cotton became the new host of "The Xtra Factor" on ITV2, following Ben Shephard's resignation. Shephard reportedly quit because he was not given the job of lead "X Factor" host on ITV. [citenews|url=,,2001320029-2007210332,00.html|title=Fearne Cotton to host Xtra Factor|publisher="The Sun"|date=9 May 2007|accessdate=2007-05-09] [citenews|url=,,11050-2007200238,00.html|title=Ben Shephard Exits X Factor|publisher="The Sun"|date=2 May 2007|accessdate=2007-05-02] [citenews|url=|title=Ben Shephard leaves Xtra Factor|publisher="The Daily Mirror"|date=2 May 2007|accessdate=2007-05-02]

tandard of talent

At ITV's Autumn launch on 12 July 2007, Simon Cowell discussed the upcoming series. He said that in previous years the programme had been more like a "popularity contest" than a talent show. When asked about the standard of talent, Cowell said: "It's in a different league this year... we're going to have the best 12 [finalists] we've ever seen". This came with comments that the series 4 auditions went "brilliantly". [citenews|url=|title=ITV Home - ITV|publisher=ITV VIDEO|date=12 July 2007|accessdate=2007-08-15] [citenews|url=|title=Cowell: This year's 'X Factor' better than ever|publisher=Digital Spy|date=12 July 2007|accessdate=2007-07-12] [citenews|url=|title=X Factor 2007 will be the best - and worst - yet|publisher=What's On TV|date=13 July 2007|accessdate=2007-07-13] [citenews|url=|title=Simon's 'best and worst acts'|publisher=Metro|date=13 July 2007|accessdate=2007-07-13] [citenews|url=|title=COWELL'S X-CITED!|publisher=Daily Mirror|date=13 July 2007|accessdate=2007-07-13]

With the unforeseen and widely recognised talent of series 3 winner, Leona Lewis, "The X Factor" has evolved from looking for a music act of national standard. Dannii Minogue said at the Sheffield auditions: "I think that Leona [Lewis] has completely upped the ante now on this show, and there's no turning back. We're looking for an international standard of acts that can sell millions of albums". [cite web|url=|title=X-Factor auditions come to Sheffield|publisher=VIDEO YouTube|date=18 July 2007|accessdate=2007-08-29] There has also been more emphasis placed on the international standing of "The X Factor". Simon Cowell has said that it is the "biggest show in Europe" with around 150,000 auditioningcite web|url=|title=Countdown to dream debut|publisher="ITV"|date=10 December 2007|accessdate=2007-08-11] cite web|url=|title=The Final - Christmas songs|publisher="ITV"|date=10 December 2007|accessdate=2007-08-11] for series 4. In response to the raised standard of talent on the show, producers tried with series 4 to assemble what Dermot O'Leary called an "international panel of judges"; this was particularly the case with the original judging lineup that included Brian Friedman. There were also more international contestants in series 4, with two acts from the United States [cite web|url=|title=The L.A. X Factor|publisher=The X Factor|date=20 August 2007|accessdate=2007-08-29] [cite web|url=|title=Xtra Factor show 2|publisher=The X Factor|date=27 August 2007|accessdate=2007-08-29] , numerous acts from Japan [citenews|url=|title=Fan travels from Japan to meet Cowell|publisher=Digital Spy|date=31 August 2007|accessdate=2007-09-11] [cite web|url=|title=The Xtra Factor show recap - Show 6|publisher=The Xtra Factor|date=23 September 2007|accessdate=2007-09-23] and a Brazilian act [cite web|url=|title=Making sweet music|publisher=The X Factor|date=27 August 2007|accessdate=2007-08-29] appearing on the show's weekly broadcast.

Before the first live show, Cowell said that "I think we could be heading for a train wreck," referring to the fact that the public did not believe any of the final 12 this year were as good as the previous year's winner, Leona Lewis. He added, "But if you take Leona out of the equation, they weren't that good last year. As a whole, we've probably got the most talented 12 we've had. We just haven't had the chance to showcase them properly yet." [cite news|url=|title=The X Factor: Cowell calls show 'train wreck'|publisher=Available for Panto|date=19 October 2007|accessdate=2007-10-21]


Initial auditions with producers took place in April and May 2007, with callbacks in front of the judges in June. The number of applicants reached an all-time high with 150,000 people auditioning in the cities of London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester and Belfast. Eight thousand people attended an open audition at Emirates Stadium (home of Arsenal F.C.), London, on 9 June 2007.citenews|url=|title=The X Factor - The X Factor Auditions...!|publisher="The X Factor"|date=31 May 2007|accessdate=2007-06-01] Due to the record number of applications an additional open audition was held at Birmingham Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on 21 July 2007.

Auditionees needed a minimum of three "yes" votes (previously two) from the judges to proceed to the next round.citenews|url=|title=The X Factor - About the show|publisher=The X Factor|date=17 August 2007|accessdate=2007-08-17]


Series 4 saw all four judges work together at the bootcamp, rather than disband to manage their own categories as happened in previous series. Bootcamp was broadcast over a two-part show on Saturday 29 September. Episode 7 showed the first round at the Heythrop Park Hotel in Oxfordshire, where the acts were whittled down to 12 in each category (48 acts in total). The next episode, showing the second round at the Apollo Theatre in London, was screened a few hours later. Here the acts were further reduced to six in each category – a total of 24 acts. After this, the judges were told which category they were to mentor. These were:

*Simon Cowell: Groups
*Sharon Osbourne: Girls
*Dannii Minogue: Boys
*Louis Walsh: Over-25s

The judges then disbanded for the "Visits to the Judges' Houses" round.

Visits to judges' houses

In the "visits to judges' houses" round, each judge chose three of their remaining six acts to go forward and represent them on the live shows. The locations for the round were confirmed during episode 8 on September 29; they were later revealed by Louis Walsh not to be the judges' real homes. [citenews|url=|title=X Factor judge admits home not his|publisher=The Press Association|date=11 October 2007|accessdate=2007-10-12] Simon Cowell took his six acts to Marbella; Sharon Osbourne to Los Angeles; Louis Walsh to Dublin; and Dannii Minogue to Ibiza. [citenews|url=|title=Dannii's delight|publisher=Daily Star|date=30 August 2007|accessdate=2007-08-30] [citenews|url=|title=Minogue to visit Ibiza for 'X Factor'|publisher=Digital Spy|date=30 August 2007|accessdate=2007-08-31] As in previous series the judges, now disbanded, were joined by an adviser to help them make decisions. Simon Cowell was joined by former pop star Sinitta; Sharon Osbourne by Pussycat Dolls lead singer Nicole Scherzinger; Louis Walsh by Westlife singer Kian Egan; and Dannii Minogue by songwriter and music producer Terry Ronald. The judges' houses stage was broadcast over a two-part weekend special. Episode 9 on Saturday 6 October showed all 24 acts performing for a place in their mentor's top three and, subsequently, the live shows. The final twelve were revealed the day after on Sunday 7 October.

The acts eliminated in this round were:
*Boys: Luke Bayer, Charlie Finn, Dominic Harris
*Girls: Victoria Closs, Kimberley Howlett, Stephanie Woods
*Over 25s: Daniel Boulle, Icaro Taborda, Zyta Zebihi
*Groups: Ghostt, I Sette Cantanti, W4

Categories and finalists

Twelve acts made it through to the live shows. [cite news|url=|title='Reject' groups Futureproof and Hope emerge as early favourites to win X Factor|publisher="Daily Mail"|date=October 8, 2007|accessdate=2007-10-08]

"Note:" All ages given are as of the start of the live shows in October 2007.


:colorbox|#BFFFC0; – Winner:colorbox|#FFC0CB; – Eliminated:colorbox|#ABCDEF; – Withdrawn

;Judges' votes to eliminate:
*Osbourne: Refused to vote due to two of her acts being in the bottom two.
*Cowell: Kimberley Southwick
*Minogue: Alisha Bennett
*Walsh: Kimberley Southwick

27 October 2007

*Theme: Songs from the movies
*Celebrity guest: Céline Dion
*Song performed by celebrity guest: "Taking Chances"

;Judges' votes to eliminate:
*Walsh: Andy Williams
*Osbourne: Andy Williams
*Minogue: Beverley Trotman
*Cowell: Andy Williams

17 November 2007

*Theme: Disco
*Celebrity guest: Girls Aloud
*Song performed by celebrity guest: "Call the Shots"

8 December 2007 (Semi-final)

*Theme: One song chosen by mentor, one song chosen by contestant.
*Celebrity guest: Michael Bublé
*Song performed by celebrity guest: "Lost"

15 December 2007 (Final)

*Theme: Christmas classics, duet with guest and each contestant's favourite song from the series
*Celebrity guests: Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Katherine Jenkins
*Songs performed by celebrity guests: "Wow" performed by Kylie Minogue

After the finalists sang their first songs, highlights from the series were shown. After their second songs, some of the more memorable auditions were shown, followed by a performance of "One Moment in Time" by some of the auditionees.

Alleged voting irregularities
It was reported that Ofcom received at least 1,100 complaints from would-be voters for Rhydian Roberts, the runner-up of the series, saying that despite calling numerous times they were unable to get through to vote for Roberts. The programme said the high number of calls meant some people were greeted by engaged tones. Ofcom said earlier on 17 December that it had received 700 complaints; this later jumped dramatically to 1,100.

ITV denied the allegations, commenting that "As all numbers go through to the same lines and vote platform it is impossible for there to be any bias in favour or against a particular contestant." [" [ | Fans sound off over X Factor voting] ", The Guardian 2007-12-18. Retrieved on 2007-12-18 ] ITV confirmed that Leon performed strongly throughout the series and won on the night of the final by around 10% of the popular vote. [" [ | Walsh defends The X Factor result] ", The Guardian 2007-12-18. Retrieved on 2007-12-18 ] A subsequent Ofcom investigation found that Roberts had not been unfairly disadvantaged. [cite news|title=Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue number 108, 8 May 2008|url=]


The fourth series proved yet again to be a ratings winner. The first episode peaked at 10.7 million viewers, with an average of 9.5 million viewers (45% share), according to unofficial overnight ratings. This was 2.5 million viewers higher than last year's launch, and higher than the series finale of both series 1 and series 2. [" [ Louis Walsh claims credit for X Factor's record-breaking 11 m viewers] ", Daily Mail, 20 August, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-08-20] Moreover, 60% of 16- to 34-year-olds tuned in that night. "The Xtra Factor" on ITV2 also performed well on its launch night, with an overnight figure of 1.2 million viewers watching the episode — 500,000 more than for the 2006 launch. [" [,,2152532,00.html The X Factor Ratings] ", The Guardian, 20 August, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-08-20] [" [ ITV has The X Factor with viewers] ", Broadcast Now, 20 August, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-08-20]

The second episode was another ratings success and attracted more viewers than all of the other terrestrial channels combined. The show peaked at 10 million viewers with an average of 8.5 million, beating its rival "DanceX" (the finale) on BBC One which attracted 3.6 million. [" [ X Factor beats out all the other TV channels - combined] ", Daily Mail, 28 August, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-08-28.]

The third episode attracted 8.7 million viewers, which was considerably more than BBC One's "Eurovision Dance Contest" which achieved an audience of 3.8 million viewers. [" [,,2161571,00.html Euro dancers trounced by X Factor] ", The Guardian, 3 September, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-09-03.] Viewing figures remained strong in the fourth episode, averaging 8.2 million viewers. [" [,,2166207,00.html Takeaway curries viewers' favour] ", The Guardian, 10 September, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-09-10.] The fifth episode featuring auditions generated 7 million viewers and a 43% share of audience. [" [,,2171139,00.html Slow start for Parky's final run] ", The Guardian, 17 September, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-09-18.] The sixth and final episode featuring auditions attracted another strong audience which peaked at 9.2 million and averaged with 8 million and an audience share of 45%. [" [ Elvis contest fails to serenade viewers] ", Broadcast Now, 24 September, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-09-27.]

The seventh and eighth episodes in the series featured the successful candidates auditioning at boot-camp. Despite competition from BBC One's "Strictly Come Dancing", "The X Factor" received the highest viewing figures, beating "Strictly Come Dancing" by 2.1 million viewers and receiving 6.8 million in total. The second part of the show attracted 7.2 million viewers. [" [,,2181130,00.html The X Factor outperforms BBC1 rival] ", The Guardian, 1 October, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-10-02.] The ninth instalment won 7.5 million viewers, narrowly beating the live launch of "Strictly Come Dancing", which had 7.2 million. [" [ The X Factor beats Dancing debut] , BBC News, 7 October, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-10-07.]

The final of "The X Factor" on December 15 scored highly in the ratings with a peak audience of 12.1 million. The first part of the show attracted an average of 11.4 million viewers, whilst the second half averaged with 11.7 million viewers. [" [ The X Factor goes out on a high note] ", The Guardian, 17 December 2007. Retrieved on 2007-12-15.] This was the highest rating, in terms of total viewership, for all four series of the show.


External links

*|id=xfactor|title="The X Factor"

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