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The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent, contested by aspiring singers drawn from public auditions. Created by Simon Cowell, the show began in September 2004 and has since aired annually from August/September through to December. The show is produced by FremantleMedia's Thames and Cowell's production company SYCOtv. It is broadcast on the ITV network in the United Kingdom and TV3 in Ireland, with spin-off behind-the-scenes show The Xtra Factor screened on ITV2. It is the originator of the international The X Factor franchise. The X Factor was devised as a replacement for the highly successful Pop Idol, which was put on indefinite hiatus after its second series, largely because Cowell, who was a judge on Pop Idol, wished to launch a show to which he owned the television rights. The perceived similarity between the two shows later became the subject of a legal dispute. The "X Factor" of the title refers to the undefinable "something" that makes for star quality.
The original judging panel was Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh. Dannii Minogue joined the panel in series 4, and Cheryl Cole replaced Osbourne in series 5 after her departure. After series 7, Cowell and Cole both left to judge the American version of the show whilst Minogue left the show due to commitments on Australia's Got Talent. Kelly Rowland, Tulisa Contostavlos and Gary Barlow then joined Walsh on the judging panel for series 8, though Rowland announced she would not return for series 9 and was replaced by Nicole Scherzinger. Osbourne later returned in 2013, replacing Contostavlos. Since 2007, the show has been presented by Dermot O'Leary, who replaced original host Kate Thornton. The show is split into a series of phases, following the contestants from auditions through to the grand finale. In the original televised audition phase of the show, contestants sang in an audition room in front of just the judges. From series 6 onwards, auditionees sing on a stage in front of the judges and a live audience. Successful auditionees go through to "bootcamp" and then to "judges' houses", where judges narrow down the acts in their category down to three or four acts to mentor for the live shows, where the public vote for their favourite acts following weekly live performances by the contestants.
There have been nine winners of the show to date: Steve Brookstein, Shayne Ward, Leona Lewis, Leon Jackson, Alexandra Burke, Joe McElderry, Matt Cardle, Little Mix and James Arthur. Winners receive a recording contract with record label Syco Music with a stated value of £1 million. (This includes a cash payment to the winner, but the majority is allocated to marketing and recording costs.) The winning contestant's single from 2004 till 2010 was released in time for the end-of-year chart battle for the UK's Christmas number one, a spot which was gained in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010. In 2011 and 2012, the winner's single was released a week earlier. All of the winners' singles have gone on to achieve the number one chart position nevertheless, with Brookstein and McElderry claiming the New Year's number one spot a week later instead in 2004 and 2009 respectively, while Little Mix achieved the top spot a week earlier in 2011. In 2012, Arthur achieved the number one spot a week earlier as well, but also claimed the New Year's number one spot, and became the first X Factor winner to regain the top spot on the charts. As of April 2013, a total of 33 number-one singles have been released by artists who have appeared on the show.
The X Factor is the biggest television talent competition in Europe and has proved hugely popular with the public. Series 6 attracted 200,000 auditionees and peaked at 19.7 million UK viewers (a 63.2% audience share). 10 million votes were cast in the series 6 final. On 18 October 2010, ITV announced that Cowell had signed a three-year contract renewing The X Factor until 2013.
With help from their mentor, Tulisa Contostavlos, the group built up a strong fanbase with their excellent vocal harmonies, strong performances and, on December 11, 2011, they made history by becoming the first group ever to win X Factor UK in the show's eight-year history. They released their first single, a cover of the Damien Rice song "Cannonball", that same day via digital download. A physical copy of the single, which will also contain 3 of the group's best performances from the show, was released in stores on December 14, 2011. "Cannonball" debuted at number one on the UK Singles Charts 4 days later on December 18, 2011.
They keep their fans, known as "Mixers", up-to-date via Twitter.
Performances on The X Factor
Little Mix (known as Rhythmix until live show 4) performed the following songs on The X Factor
|Performances on The X Factor|
|Perrie Edwards||Jesy Nelson||Leigh-Anne Pinnock||Jade Thirlwall|
|Auditions||"You Oughta Know"||"Bust Your Windows"||"Only Girl (In the World)"||"I Wanna Hold Your Hand"||Free choice||Through to bootcamp|
|Bootcamp 1||"Breakeven"||"Price Tag"||"Price Tag"||"Firework"||Bootcamp challenge||Through to groups category|
|Bootcamp 2||"Survivor" (with 'Faux Pas')||"Yeah 3x" (with 'Orion')||Free choice||Regrouped/through to judges' houses|
|Judges' houses||"Big Girls Don't Cry"||Through to live shows|
|"Cry Me a River"|
|Live show 1||"Super Bass"||Britain vs. America||Saved by Tulisa Contostavlos|
|Live show 2||"I'm Like a Bird"||Love and Heartbreak||Safe (4th)|
|Live show 3||"Tik Tok/Push It"||Rock||Safe (6th)|
|Live show 4||"E.T."||Halloween||Safe (2nd)|
|Live show 5||"Don't Stop the Music"||Dancefloor fillers||Safe (4th)|
|Live show 6||"Radio Gaga/Telephone "||Lady Gaga vs. Queen||Safe (3rd)|
|Live show 7||"Don't Let Go (Love)"||Movies||Safe (1st)|
|Live show 8||"Baby/Where Did Our Love Go"||Guilty pleasures||Safe (2nd)|
|Semi-final||"You Keep Me Hangin' On"||Motown||Safe (1st)|
|"If I Were a Boy"||Songs to get you to the final|
|Final||"You've Got the Love"||Free choice||Safe (1st)|
|"If I Ain't Got You/Empire State of Mind" (with Tulisa Contostavlos )||Mentor duet|
|"Don't Let Go (Love)"||Favourite performance||Winner (1st)|