The first series of The X Factor, coproduced by FremantleMedia company talkbackTHAMES and Simon Cowell’s Syco TV, began in September 2004 in the UK. A panel of expert judges from the music industry preside over initial auditions, with audience votes coming into play during the later live shows featuring the selected contestants in four distinct categories, one assigned to each of the four judges (14-24 year old boys, 14-24 year old girls, over 25s and groups). The X Factor is open to all ages, all styles, solo acts or groups. And the performers aren’t the only ones competing – it’s judge v judge, artist v artist. The format has been sold to more than 20 countries, often rating as the number one show.
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