The X Factor announced that Robbie Williams, Ayda Williams, and Louis Tomlinson will join Simon Cowell on the new-look judging panel for the hit singing reality show. The series returns to M-Net channel 101 a week after its UK broadcast and will air Fridays and Saturdays from Friday 7 September, 19:00 to 21:00, and Saturdays from 18:00 to 20:00.
Robbie is a global superstar who has sold more than 75 million albums during his career and won 18 BRIT Awards - more than any other artist in history. The singer has been playing to sold out stadiums across the world over the past year on his 'The Heavy Entertainment Show Tour’ - which has seen him perform for more than 1.25 million fans across the UK, Europe, and Australasia. Robbie released the platinum-selling ‘The Heavy Entertainment Show’ album in November 2016 - it debuted at Number 1 on the UK album chart, giving him his 12th Number 1 solo album.
Ayda Williams - actress, presenter, and Robbie’s wife of eight years - will be competing with her husband to claim the winning spot on this year’s show. Ayda has an invaluable inside take on how the music industry works and knows first-hand what it takes to forge a successful career. It is the first time on The X Factor UK that a husband and wife have been judges.
Louis is the first judge to also have been a contestant on the show. As a member of One Direction he has sold more than 150 million records worldwide and achieved more than 100 global No 1s. One Direction was the biggest selling UK act globally for three consecutive years and in 2013 they were overall the biggest selling act in the world. As a solo artist, Louis’ single Back to You hit No.1 in 37 countries and has been streamed more than 220 million times. He recently won the 2018 iHeartRadio award for Best Solo Breakout and is currently recording his debut solo album.
Music mogul and show creator Simon has been the mastermind behind some of the music industry’s biggest acts from Leona Lewis and One Direction to Little Mix and James Arthur. Acts from The X Factor UK have sold more than 250 million records globally to date. Simon told the gathered media at the press conference: “This new panel is all about optimism, everyone has a real passion for finding a new star. The three new judges bring a whole new energy and I’m excited.”
Robbie said: “For nearly 30 years I’ve been touring. I’ve been wanting to branch out and The X Factor felt like the perfect vehicle. Ayda is my rock, she’s looked after me through thick and thin. I’m looking forward to getting started as a judge!”
Ayda said: “On a professional level I’ve auditioned for years so I know the highs and lows. I know what it takes to help people achieve their dreams. It’s all about the auditionees, it’s an organic process. The fact that I get to work with Rob and against him is fantastic!”
Louis said: “The X Factor for me made a lot of sense. Development of artists is something I’ve been interested in for a long time. Having been on the show myself I know first-hand that the live shows are like nothing else you would experience. I’m looking forward to guiding auditionees through the process.”
Sharon Osbourne will also return as a judge for The X Factor UK’s live shows while Dermot O’Leary is back as presenter.
Auditions for the 15th season of The X Factor UK began at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Wednesday, July 18.