After weeks of rumours and speculation, the judging panel for the upcoming series of The X Factor has officially been revealed and the new trio is already getting mixed reviews.
Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams, and his wife Ayda Field will join Simon Cowell at the judge’s desk for the upcoming 15th series. Williams and his wife replace Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger, while Tomlinson will fill Sharon Osbourne’s role.
The announcement was officially made at a press conference on Tuesday morning as the judges came together for the very first time.
“We tried to get Robbie on every show we’ve had for 15 years then it happened by accident, Simon said. “We went to my house and chatted on the balcony and did a deal.”
Williams is best known for being part of the group Take That from 1990 to 1995 and again from 2009 to 2012. He has seven number-one singles and has seven 100 biggest-selling albums in the UK.
“I’ve done tours and promos for years and now it’s time to branch out and try something different,” Robbie told the press. “Thank you for having us, Simon.”
Sharon will return to the judging panel in the live shows due to Williams being absent after getting double-booked Mexico City and Buenos Aires for two weekends in November.
Williams’ wife Ayda will join him on the panel. She is best known for being an actress on the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives in the US and also had several other acting gigs in sitcoms. The 39-year-old made her UK debut in the ITV series Paranoid and she joined the panel of Loose Women in 2017.
“I’m here to find some great talent and make some great TV. I want to help someone achieve their dreams,” Field said. “If it wasn’t a challenge it wouldn’t be so fun. I’m excited to be the underdog and give the boys a run for their money.”
Fans quickly questioned Field’s credentials as she has no background in singing or judging talent competitions. However, Simon quickly defended the newest judge by saying her passion for others brought her to the panel.
“She’s passionate about people and people doing well and has an optimism and I’ve tried to make an optimistic panel. I’ve never felt so excited,” he said.
Tomlinson will make his return to the show that made him famous. Back in 2010, he was part of boyband One Direction, which finished in third place on the show. Louis previously was a guest judge on America’s Got Talent back in 2016.
“My music release schedule hasn’t changed,” Louis said. “All in all it made a lot of sense, I’ve always been interested in the development made sense for me being on the show.”
Host Dermot O’Leary was on hand to introduce the judging panel, which sees a change for the first time in two years.
The new look panel will come together at the judge’s desk tomorrow when the arena auditions for the newest series kick off at Wembley Arena.
The X Factor returns to ITV in the autumn.