Autumn means just one thing — the kingpin of the British music industry, Simon Cowell, returns to screens on his annual mission to find the next big star. The new series starts on September 1 and which has got me wondering just exactly how to get tickets to The X Factor live shows. If you're already excited for this year's show and are simply dying to get your hands on a place in the audience to see the final acts perform live, I have some good and bad news.
The good news is the tickets are free, the bad news is they're not available yet. But that doesn't mean you can't register, simply visit Applause Store and sign up to the site, and you'll be the first to know the minute tickets become available, which means it could be you cheering this year's hopefuls on during one of the scariest stages of the competition.
But before it's live shows time (that particular phase comes after auditions, Bootcamp and Judges Houses), there's a lot of reality show to get through first. And this year's series is looking pretty different.
First off, the judging panel. Cowell has had a major shake-up this year, replacing X Factor stalwarts Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne, and Nicole Scherzinger with ex-One Direction member (and former X Factor contestant) Louis Tomlinson, ex-Take That member Robbie Williams, and Williams's wife, actress Ayda Field. The seemingly pretty random setup could be a response to 2017's viewing figures, which hit an all-time low according to the Guardian.
Alongside the shiny new panel, Digital Spy reports that this year's show will introduce a "Golden X" — much in the style of Britain's Got Talent's "Golden Buzzer" — which will give each judge the power to accelerate one act straight through to the Judges' Houses round. Speculation continues as to which glamorous destinations will be chosen for this round, and which guest judges will star, but with a former Directioner on the panel, could a surprise visit from Harry Styles be on the cards? Fans will just have to wait and see.
While the Judges' Houses usually take the show abroad, this year the auditions have gone global, too. Back in April the show's Twitter announced that it had opened auditions in Benidorm and Tenerife, opening up a whole new dimension to the early stages of the competition.
According to The Sun, the Six Chair Challenge will return this year, as will everyone's favourite TV host (and the UK's best hugger), Dermot O'Leary. One thing that won't be returning though is spin-off show, The Xtra Factor, so says the Radio Times.
It remains to be seen what changes will be made to the show's scheduling. Back in the its heyday, The X Factor would have its grand finale the week before Christmas — just in time for everyone to buy the winner's single and make it Christmas Number 1. But thanks to the show's dwindling popularity and the rise of music streaming, things don't play out quite the same way nowadays, and last year the show ended as early as December 3, according to reports by the Radio Times.
But while the show is ending earlier and earlier, the live shows are still a crucial part of the competition, so make sure you sign up for your spot before this year's series gets into full swing!