The year is 2004. A new singing competition takes over Britain with the promise of making someone a star. Thousands of people come to show off their skills. Some successful, others not so much. The X Factor gave us One Direction, Little Mix, Stacey Solomon and Jedward. Through the late naughties it was everyone’s favourite Saturday night comfort show. But all good things come to an end, and after 17 years the hit TV show is saying its goodbyes.
I wanted to reflect on some of the most iconic moments over the years, so without further ado here is my top 10 X Factor moments:
10. Dawn the Apprentice Jockey
Dawn saw her audition fall apart in front of her eyes as Louis and Sharon fail to compose themselves after she revealed her unconventional profession. The pair, seemingly having never heard of anyone riding a horse before, end up in tears from laughing at the jockey. Like two bold school children, Simon tells them to get out so Dawn can perform Madonna.
9. “Nuffin’, I’m lazy at the moment”
Sometimes I sit up late at night wondering where Rachel is now. She’s better than Madonna, you know. Her sugar walls come crumbling down around her as she states “That was really good, wasn’t it?” and is promptly told no. Hilariously, half of her audition needs to be bleeped out due to her reaction.
Nothing could prepare any of us for this rollercoaster of an audition. Abby and Lisa strut onto the stage full of nervous giggles. Are they cousins? Friends? Do any of us really know who Natalie Imbruglia is? They don’t. Their attitudes get worse as the audition goes on, and ends with a punch to the face. Yikes.
7. Ant & Deaf
I don’t have a list of my favourite Peter André covers, but if I did, this would be at the top. Ant and Seb try to impress the judges with their version of Mysterious Girl. With Ant’s Rick Astley-esque vocals and Sebs adlibs, this audition should’ve been a shoo in but the judges had another opinion. C’mon move your body.
6. 1,2,3 Freestyle!
How did these boys go on to be the biggest boy band in the world? This clip of the boys trying to freestyle at bootcamp lives in my head rent free.
5. Louis Enters the Splash Zone
Ms. Debbie gives us business eleganza in her purple blazer and confident demeanour, but unfortunately sets our expectations too high and delivers a mediocre performance of Mariah and Whitney’s ‘When You Believe’. After being told no she returns for revenge, however Louis is quicker and throws his glass of water over her.
4. J-Star takes us to Church
Some auditions really make me question whether the person is just taking this piss or genuinely thinks they’re a good singer. This is one of those auditions. The part time model claims he has something really special with his rendition of Hallelujah, and goes on to sing one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever heard. Kind of iconic though.
3. Nicole snatches the mic
It’s not only the auditions that gave us great moments. The 2012 final gave us Nicole Scherzinger grabbing Jahmene Douglas’ mic from his hand when she realises hers isn’t working.
2. Karaoke King
Aaahhhhhh. OOoooooohhhh. Aaahhhhhh. OOOoooohhhhh. There is so much to unpack in this audition. The awful attempt at Earth Song. Onkar trying to fall against the back wall that doesn’t exist. The judges repeatedly asking if falling on his knees hurt. The declaration that he has been in karaoke finals… WITHOUT looking at the screen. I’m obsessed. It’s all a mess. Brilliant.
- Cher Lloyd by Cher Lloyd
I truly don’t think anything will ever give me as much joy as hearing Cher Lloyd trying to rap to Coldplay. At any given moment I guarantee that the only thing in my brain is, “I hear Jerusalem bells a-ring-a-dingin’.” After her tragic attempt at Cooler Than Me at the judges’ houses, I’m really not sure what possessed Cheryl to put her through to the live shows… but I’m so glad she did. Other notable quotes include “I can’t get nothing out”, “I’m buzzin for it”, and of course, the unforgettable Swagger Jagger.