The X Factor 2011 bootcamp kicks off today for a gruelling week of singing, dance master classes and nerve-wracking waits for the remaining hopefuls. Around 200 successful wannabes who impressed the judges at their first audition are on their way to London this week in the hope of making it to judges’ houses.
They'll be quickly whittled down to just 16 if the format follows last year’s - four in the each of this year's categories - The Girls, Boys, Groups and Over 25s.
ITV have billed this year's bootcamp as "the biggest ever" and it's not hard to see why, on Thursday the remaining contestants will perform in front of some 10,000 fans at Wembley Arena.
But that's if they make it that far.
A source said previously: “Simon may not be on X Factor UK this year but he is making sure it keeps its sparkle.
“He’s really putting the pressure on. He wants to boot camp to be a boot camp and not a holiday camp. So that means making it longer and tougher."
And if that wasn't pressure enough, US star Rihanna is set to act as a guest judge at the make or break stage of the competition.
An insider told the Daily Star Sunday last month: “They’re desperate to bring the show in with a bang this year and Rihanna is definitely their wild card.
“It’s going to be a massive gamble given last year’s controversy but it’s absolutely worth it.”
Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos, Kelly Rowland and Louis Walsh will be back on the panel to give their verdict, and ultimately decide who will be jetting off around the world for judges' houses.
After bootcamp the panellists will find out who they'll be mentoring, and there's already competition between the judges. Tulisa said: "I’d like [my category] to be the Boys or Girls.”
The X Factor 2011 starts on August 20 on ITV1.
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