Nick Grimshaw, Rita Ora join ‘The X Factor’, Fernandez-Versini & Cowell return

MUMBAI: ITV, Syco and Thames announced that Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora have signed as judges for the new series of The X Factor, as well as confirming that Cheryl Fernandez-Versini will return to the judging panel alongside show creator Simon Cowell. 


Popstar Rita Ora is no stranger to The X Factor having first appeared on the show in 2012 as a guest judge. Ora burst on to the music scene in 2012, scoring a No.1 single with her collaboration with DJ Fresh on ‘Hot Right Now’. She went on to have a No. 1 debut album which produced two further No.1 singles. The first single from her second album, ‘I Will Never Let You Down’, became her fourth UK number one when it debuted at the top of the charts. 


Speaking about joining the show, Ora said, “I am excited to be coming back to The X Factor – I had a ball here in 2012. This is a journey I can't wait to embark on to find some talented singers. It’s the new generation taking over. Booooom.” 


As the host of BBC Radio 1’s Breakfast show since 2012, Grimshaw is one of the most respected Radio DJs in the business. A massive champion of music, he will bring a new and fresh perspective to the panel in the search for the next big singing sensation. 


A well-known fan of The X Factor, Grimshaw said, “I love X Factor and have watched the series religiously since it started, so obviously I'm hugely excited to be joining the show. Music is my job and my passion and I'm really looking forward to seeing what talent we can find and nurture this year. I can't wait for Judges Houses in Oldham!" 


Fernandez-Versini returns to the panel for her fifth series, after last year taking Lauren Platt all the way to the semi-finals. She was previously a judge on The X Factor from series five to series seven, securing victory in 2008 with Alexandra Burke and 2009 with Joe McElderry. 


Fernandez-Versini said, “I haven't been as excited about an X Factor season since I first became a judge. The addition of Rita and Grimmy along with some interesting changes we've made to the format has refocused us to do what we do best, finding talent and making stars. I cannot wait to get started!” 


Cowell, who last year mentored the winning act, Ben Haenow, as well as the runner up Fleur East, said, “It’s taken a while! But I am very happy to be able to confirm our line-up of judges for The X Factor this year. The combination of Nick, Cheryl and Rita is going to be a lot of fun! They all bring a lot of enthusiasm and passion for music to the show. I have a feeling I am in for a bit of a rough time but sometimes you have to embrace the craziness and now, with luck, we hope to find a star.” 


ITV director of entertainment and comedy Elaine Bedell added, “We're delighted that Cheryl is returning to the show with Simon and we welcome Rita and Nick on board. Nick will bring his unique perspective and extensive musical knowledge to this year's X Factor panel, while in Cheryl and Rita we have two of the UK’s most successful female recording artists.” 


FremantleMedia UK acting CEO Richard Holloway said, “Rita and Nick are brilliant additions to the panel. Nick began his career in the music business and is hugely passionate about finding and breaking new talent, while Rita knows what it takes to be a successful artist. Alongside the welcome return of Cheryl and Simon, we have a formidable judging panel for what is shaping up to be quite the series.” 


The new panel is part of a number of changes to this year’s series of The X Factor, which also include the brand new hosts Caroline Flack and Olly Murs. The new series will see the auditions move out of the rooms and straight in to the arenas, with hopefuls having to perform in front of an arena audience from the start in the hope of making it through to the next stage. Further changes will be announced in due course. 


The X Factor returns to ITV in autumn this year and applications for the new series are open now.

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