Two days after the new lineup of “X Factor” U.K. judges was officially announced, the new panel made its debut on June 1, 2011, at auditions at the LG Arena in Birmingham, England.
Newly appointed judges Gary Barlow of Take That, former Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland, and Tulisa Contostavlos of the hip-hop group N-Dubz joined Louis Walsh (the show’s only original judge) for the start of a new era of “The X Factor” U.K.
The new judges’ lineup comes after a massive shakeup that had Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue officially exiting the show as judges within the course of a month. Cowell will continue to be an executive producer of the show.
While Minogue had been fired from “The X Factor” U.K., Cowell and Cole quit the show to be judges on “The X Factor” U.S.
Unfortunately, the move did not work out well for Cole, and after a few weeks on the job, she was fired from the “The X Factor” U.S. for reportedly not being a good fit for the show. As previously reported, Cole turned down an offer to return to “The X Factor” U.K. after being dropped from “The X Factor” U.S.
Walsh commented on Cole’s departure by telling the U.K. edition of Cosmopolitan:
“I talked to Cheryl today. W’ve been texting all day and we’re having fun. I think she’s going to be fine. Listen, from her texts today she’s absolutely fine.”
Walsh added a reference to Cole’s much-criticized hairstyle and clothes that she wore at her first “X factor” U.S. auditions:
“I told her I’m not wearing purple flares or backcombing my hair. She has a good sense of humor, so she laughed. We’re all going to miss the glam factor from Cheryl and Dannii – those two were like peacocks on a Saturday night. You have to be tough in this business. Cheryl has been through so much, she’s under public scrutiny whenever she goes out.”
Walsh also told the Daily Mail that Cole sent him text messages to “wish him well” on “The X Factor” U.K. and to “give them hell.”
Meanwhile, Barlow commented to the Daily Mail about Cole and joked about being the de factor replacement for Cowell on the judges’ panel:
“I’m not taking any lead from Simon at all. I am going to do it my own way. But Simon? It’s time he went anyway, move over!’
“Cheryl is a very good friend of mine. I’m sending support. I’ve spoken to her and I think she has turned a corner now. I would say she is going places.”
Among those attending the 2011 “X Factor” U.K. auditions in Birmingham were Olly Murs and Caroline Flack, the newly announced co-hosts of “The Xtra Factor,” the spin-off show that has behind-the-scenes footage of “The X Factor.” Murs came in second place on “The X Factor” U.K. in 2009, and Flack previously hosted “I’m a Celebrity! Get Me Out of Here! Now.”
“The X Factor” U.K. host Dermot O’Leary was also in attendance. O’Leary was one of the people who was in talks to host “The X Factor” U.S., but he was rejected in favor of former “T4” host Steve Jones.
Meanwhile, Sinitta (who makes recurring guest appearances on “The X Factor” U.K. as a contestant helper) sent this Twitter message to new “X Factor” U.K. judge Contostavlos: “I wanted [Cheryl Cole] back or your job myself… but I think you’ll make it work – fasten your seatbelt. Its gonna be a bumpy ride!”
Contostavlos tweeted this response to Sinitta: “Don’t worry my fellow female boss I’ll do u [sic] proud. Speeds [sic] my middle name so they better be ready to catch up.” She later tweeted about her first day as an “X Factor” U.K. judge: “Amazing day at the xfactor, I want 2 thank every1 4 the support! Thanks 4 making me feel at home! Lots of love T. X”
“The X Factor” U.K. is televised from September to December on ITV. Auditions for 2011 continue in Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff, London and Liverpool.
June 2, 2011 upate: The Daily Mirror has this review of the new “X Factor” U.K. judges and how they acted at the Birmingham auditions on June 1, 2011:
Gary Barlow has stood up to the mark – and proved he’s more than a match for Mr Nasty. Gary, who sat in Cowell’s seat, took charge by taking untested Kelly Rowland and Tulisa Contostavlos under his wing. And, like Cowell, he waited until last to deliver his often withering verdict.
He told one singer: “That has exposed your voice. That last song was hiding what you are. I was disappointed.”
Even with acts he liked he wasn’t fulsome in his praise. He said to one girlband: “Your image lets you down. That is what we can work on.”
He also leans back a long way in his chair like Cowell and does not waste his words, displaying dry humor.
Tulisa, predictably, didn’t hold back. Any thoughts the N-Dubz star would go easy on her fellow rappers were dashed when one girl did a Nicki Minaj track. She said: “It’s a singing competition, not a rapping competition. And that is someone else you are rapping. It’s a ‘no.’”
Louis Walsh was his usual amiable self, often starting to chat to the contestants before introducing the girls to talk.
Kelly Rowland seemed least at ease and struggled with the Brummie accent.
An audience member moaned: “She seemed the weakest link.”