Every year thousands of wannabe pop stars audition for The X Factor in front of judges Simon Cowell
, Louis Walsh
, Dannii Minougue and Cheryl Cole
. The contestants are grouped in the categories male soloists aged 14-24, female soloists 14-24 years, over 25s and groups.
While in the past, auditions were held behind closed doors, they now take place in front of live audiences throughout the UK. To make it to the next round, contestants need a Yes from three of the four judges.
In the following weeks, contestants have to stand the heat and criticism of the judges, some contestants have to go, and only 24 remain. Each judge is assigned and mentors one category and six contestants of whom only three make it to the final 12.
It is then up to the public to vote for their favorite contestant. Every week the contestant with the fewest public votes has to leave the show. The last contestant standing wins the show and a recording contract.
The X Factor originated in the UK and was created by Simon Cowell
but in the last few years, many other countries have launched their own version of The X Factor.