The X Factor 2012 bursts back onto our screens tomorrow night, and yesterday the show's judges spoke about the upcoming episode.
Louis Walsh, Tulisa and new judge Nicole Scherzinger revealed their thoughts on the upcoming series at a Q&A session in London yesterday.
Also in attendance was host Dermot O'Leary and executive producer Richard Holloway.
However Gary Barlow understandably missed the event due to personal circumstances.
Mel B was quite a feisty guest judge! How was it to be on the panel with her?
Tulisa: I cant, I just, I love her. obviously there are moments when the problem is she always kind of tells the truth and you can’t knock her for it. So there are moments when you’re like, do you have to be that obvious? But at the same time she’s laying the truth, so I think you’re either gonna love or hate her on a show like that.
Louis: She’s just saying what everyone is thinking at home. She’s very honest, that’s why she’s Scary Spice.
Are Tulisa and Nicole going to be having a fashion war this year?
Tulisa: No. When it comes to fashion I’m a bit more back to my roots, I’m enjoying mixing the street vibe with the glam. So I feel like me, again. So it’s finding myself, when it comes to fashion. Nicole just knows what she’s doing when it comes to fashion, she found herself a long time ago. She’s all good, so you can see her coming out and looking glam and probably me
Nicole: Tulisa’s gorgeous so, I like her, she just keeps it real and always looks good. I like to switch it up a lot and have some fun with it.
Are there any good groups on the show this year?
Tulisa: Definitely. I don’t want to give too much away but there’s some hot solo males. One boyband’s a little bit older.
Louis: The few boybands we got were very good. I can remember two really good boybands. Most of them are really good. There’s two really good boybands, gentleman singers. I don’t know what they will show, but I know that there are two really good, vocal boybands.
Nicole, what will you do differently on The X Factor UK compared to the US version last year?
Nicole: I don’t know what I will do differently. I’ll sing every night! I don’t know, I’m inspired by these two, there’s obviously a different energy on the panel and different contestants. All I can do is just be honest in the moment and truthful. I put 110% in last time on the X Factor when working with the contestants so I’m gonna go with that and follow my heart.
Louis: Be honest, you have more fun on this show. Simon is in America!
Louis, will you be taking Sinitta or Sharon [Osbourne] with you to judges' houses this year?
Louis: Sinitta is here in the audience. I can’t tell you, I can’t tell you anything. But, I know who it is. That’s all I’m saying. You’ve got to watch the show.
Nicole, you branded yourself a 'scary bitch', are you going to be more scary than Scary Spice?!
Nicole: I don’t know, she’s been scaring everyone. I think what I mean is, I’ve been in this business for a long time. I love the experience, and I know what I’m looking for. There’s no room for any excuses, I’m a very hard worker so I expect that from a lot of people. Ultimately I try to let people down gingerly, in a constructive say so as to bring out the best in them. But ultimately I know who has it and who doesn’t.
This year acts with managers can audition, has this had an effect on who goes through? How many of the successful auditionees are those with managers?
Tulisa: I don’t know that the exact numbers, it’s not something that when the contestants come on stage, we pay attention to. It’s not really a general question that we ask them. There has been a change in the broadness of musicians, there have been people bringing out guitars and writing their own songs. But just because someone has a manager or experience in the music business doesn’t mean they any less deserving to be on the show than a normal person with a normal job who’s had no experience. There are so many people out there that are so talented, that have managers, Just because they have a manager doesn’t mean that it’s any easier for them to make it than anybody else. I had a manager for seven years of my career before anywhere at all. I think it’s just about being fair. It’s a stigma that if you’ve had experience or had management, so you shouldn’t be allowed on the show. I think it’s a load of rubbish. This year we’ve opened the doors to that and now we’ve got some real home grown talent, more than ever.
Richard Holloway (executive producer): Just to reiterate what we do, we aim to give everyone the opportunity to come and be part of the show. But everybody that comes along and applies to the show all go through the same process. It’s just broadening the net and opening it up so that everybody gets an opportunity. Every single person, whether they have got any form of management or not will go through the same process.
Some contestants, such as Pink wannabe [tag]Zoe Alexander[/tag] and Cheryl Cole's niece Melissa Armstrong have claimed in the press that they were told to sing certain songs, what do you make of that?
Tulisa: That’s completely news to my ears. As far as I’m concerned, that’s not the case. Nobody gets told what to sing, it’s their audition at the end of the day. Producers aren’t going to say “you have to sing that song or you’re not going on stage”. I think that by looking at the way she [Zoe] was dressed and even the way she was singing when she wasn’t singing the theme song, she was pretty hung up on doing the whole Pink thing. Everything she said was contradictory.
Louis: Totally. She [Zoe] came on the stage looking like Pink and she acting like Pink.
Richard Holloway (executive producer): They come with five songs prepared, it’s our judges discretion as to what song they wish to hear, that’s just the audition process. That’s not any news. Every act comes with five songs prepared. All the contestants that go in front of the judges are spoken to by the production team, obviously they have to get all the CD tracks, the karaoke tracks or live instruments. Whatever they are going to play, the conversation takes place between them and us in terms of what they want to sing and their choices, the final decision in terms of what they are going to sing when they walk onto that stage is 100% theirs.
It was widely reported in the press how Zoe reacted during her audition, do you think she was quite vulnerable?
Tulisa: I though she seemed like quite a strong character, from the level of aggression she was giving off. At the end of the say there’s always going to be the odd person that will throw this massive hissy fit and everyone goes “oh my God!”. There are thousands of people over the years that have auditioned, just because one person can’t control their temper and throws a big fit. I don’t think it’s a reason for everyone to go “oh my God, you’ve got to think about their emotional stability” because that’s just one person. That’s her with her own issues, she chose to bring those issue to the stage.
Louis: People dealt with her backstage, before and after.
Richard Holloway (executive producer): Let me assure you, it was her decision to sing Pink.
Louis: Did you not see what she looked like? She looked like Pink.
Richard Holloway (executive producer): We have had conversations with her, since this was quite some time ago and she’s fine.
Do you feel any pressure this year following the dip in ratings last summer?
Tulisa: It was still the second biggest X Factor last year.
Louis: The public loved it.
Tulisa: Just because you lose a viewer here and there, when you’ve got millions and millions of viewers and you drop on million then you go back up again. It doesn’t mean that the shows in crisis. It’s changed very much over the years and the viewings have fluctuated. It’s still the biggest show, second only the Royal Wedding, so that in itself just shows me, I’m not worried at all.
Richard Holloway (executive producer): Speaking on behalf of ITV and certainly on behalf of us at The X Factor, we were absolutely thrilled with the results from the show that year and the ratings fluctuate from time to time. When you’re still the number one rated show on television, is there much to complain about? Not really.
There was some controversy over some of the comment made to the contestants on last year's live shows, such as Tulisa's remarks to Misha B, will you try to censor yourself more this time around?
Tulisa: I can’t speak for anyone else, all I can say is that whenever I am on the show I am 100% real and anything I say is what I’m thinking. I don’t premeditate situations or try and think, I’m gonna be like this or I’m gonna be like that or try to act like that or come across like that. I’m just 100% me, so whatever comes to me at the time, comes to me. If people like it, they like it. If they don’t, they don’t. If I was to try and premeditate a situation I wouldn’t be being myself.
Louis: We’re just honest. Sometimes we say things we shouldn’t but we say what we are thinking at the time. We are very emotionally involved in our acts, we all want to win.
Richard Holloway (executive producer): You can’t ask the judges to predict how they will present themselves when they deal with a situation. Situations just happen and they react to them at the time. They all react in a very passionate and a very real way. What happens, happens, that’s part of the magic of the show
Is this year's show going to become more of a soap opera and about the drama rather than the music?
Louis: What do you mean soap opera? It’s a talent show.
Tulisa: It’s always going to be about the music and there’s always gonna be drama and fun and situations that come with it. At the end of the day it’s a family show, it’s not just about talent. The reason people win the show is because people are voting for them, so it’s about totally connecting with the audience and for people to connect you need to see every side of a person. If you are going to see every side of a person and see them in every situation as they are going through the competition, so there is gonna be drama, there’s gonna be tears and there’s gonna be laughs. That doesn’t make the show any less credible; it is still about the music.
The X Factor 2012 starts on Saturday night on ITV1 at 8PM
Browse pictures of The X Factor judges at the launch below...