“The X Factor” U.K.’s 10th season premiere (which was televised in the U.K. on ITV on Aug. 31, 2013) did not do anything that new or groundbreaking, but thankfully, the show appears to have reduced the amount of air time for contestant sob stories, which were among the biggest viewer complaints in 2012. The Season 10 episode’s best audition was undoubtedly from Sam Bailey, a 35-year-old prison worker from Leicester, England. Her terrific version of Beyoncé’s “Listen” earned a standing ovation from the show’s judges. It wasn’t quite a star-making audition moment, like the one Susan Boyle had on “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2009, but there’s a good chance that Bailey is one of the contestants who made it to the Top 32.
In 2013, “The X Factor” U.K. judges Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger have returned for another season, while Sharon Osbourne has come back to the show’s judging panel as a replacement for fired judge Tulisa Contostavlos. Osbourne was originally a judge on “The X Factor” U.K. from 2004 to 2007, when she quit because of personality clashes with then-judge Dannii Minogue.
Previous reports weren’t entirely accurate in the Daily Mirror and The Sun that “The X Factor” U.K. went back to requiring contestants to audition a cappella in 2013. As viewers saw in this auditions episode, contestants can still audition with backing tracks or instruments. What is true is that the show returned to the original format (which the show had from 2004 to 2008) of contestants auditioning privately in front of the judges in a small room, rather than a large arena that is open to the public (the format the show had from 2009 to 2012).
After Bailey’s performance, Walsh exclaimed, “Sam, where did that voice come from? I wasn’t expecting that!”
Scherzinger added, “That’s exactly how that song is supposed to be sung: with the passion of singing for your life!”
Barlow commented, “Sam, oh my god, your voice is incredible! Well done! And thank you for coming to see us.”
It goes without saying that Bailey got enthusiastic “yes” votes from all of the judges.
Here are the contestant categories and The X Factor” U.K. judges who are mentoring them in 2013:
- Girls (female contestants ages 16 to 24) — mentored by Nicole Scherzinger
- Boys (male contestants ages 16 to 24) — mentored by Louis Walsh
- Overs (contestants ages 25 and over) — mentored by Sharon Osbourne
- Groups — mentored by Gary Barlow
Even if you don’t watch “The X Factor” on a regular basis, you can still know what to expect in the audition episodes: good auditions, bad auditions and plenty of contestants crying.
Here is a listing of some of the episode’s highlights:
The Good Auditions
Sam Bailey performs Beyoncé’s “Listen.”
Luke Britnell performs original song “Think Positive.”
Hannah Barrett performs Emeli Sandé’s “Read All About It”
Luke Friend performs Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.”
The Bad Auditions
Euphoria Girls perform The Nolans’ “I’m in the Mood for Dancing.”
Fil Henley performs Robbie Williams’ “Let Me Entertain You.”
J Star Valentine performs Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
Sept. 1, 2013 update: The Daily Mirror had this report on the ratings for “The X Factor” U.K. Season 10 premiere episode: “More than 9 million people tuned in, 500,000 more than last year’s show. And the ratings, which also included people watching on + 1, peaked at 10.3 million.”