Number of Seasons: 3

The X Factor USA is a reality television singing competition created by Simon Cowell and produced by FremantleMedia North America and SYCOtv, a partnership between Cowell and Sony Music.

It began airing on Fox on September 21, 2011, as an addition to the The X Factor franchise based on the original UK show.

The concept of the series is to find new singing talent (solo or groups) where the winner is determined by the viewers through telephone, Internet, and SMS text voting and receives a $5 million recording contract with Epic Records.

The series employs a panel of judges who critique the contestants' performances. Each judge is assigned one of four categories; the criteria for each has varied between seasons.Throughout the live shows, the judges act as mentors to their category, helping to decide song choices, styling, and staging, while judging contestants from the other categories. They also compete to ensure that their act wins the competition, thus making them the winning judge. The original judges were Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Paula Abdul, and L.A. Reid. However, Cole was dismissed after two sets of auditions and was swiftly replaced by Nicole Scherzinger, who was originally to co-host with Steve Jones. Abdul and Scherzinger left the series after the first season, and were replaced by Britney Spears and Demi Lovato. The series was originally presented by Jones, who was replaced by Khloé Kardashian and Mario Lopez in the second season.

On October 22, 2012, Fox confirmed that the show will return for a third season. Spears has said that she would like to return for a second season, and of course show creator, Cowell, will be back for season three. On December 13, 2012, it was confirmed that L.A. Reid would not return for season three so he can focus on his musical performers. Other casting confirmations have yet to be made.

Format and Stages

The show is primarily concerned with identifying singing talent, though appearance, personality, stage presence and dance routines are also an important element of many performances. Each judge is assigned one of four categories. For season one, these groups were: girls between 12 and 29, boys between 12 and 29, individuals 30 and over, and groups. Season two's categories were changed to: teens between 12 and 16, young adults between 17 and 24, individuals 25 and older, and groups. For both seasons, some groups were formed from soloists and other groups rejected after the audition process. Through the live shows, the judges act as mentors to their category, helping to decide song choices, styling and staging, while judging contestants from other categories.

The winner of the competition is awarded a recording contract with Syco Music in association with Sony Music Entertainment, which would include cash payments totaling $5 million.

The X Factor USA is divide in stages:

Producer's auditions

The show is open to solo artists and vocal groups aged 12 and above, with no upper age limit. The applicants were given the opportunity to apply by uploading a video audition to the Internet. The show's producers will also be sending a "mobile audition van" to various locations throughout the U.S. so they can audition singers who cannot make the arena auditions. A round of first auditions is held in front of producers months before the show is aired, either by application and appointment, or at "open" auditions that anyone can attend. These auditions, held at various venues around the U.S., attract very large crowds. Should they pass that audition (either for reasons of talent or for the potential of making entertaining television), they are given a "golden ticket" that allows them to sing to a more senior production member. Only candidates who successfully pass that second and third auditions are invited to perform to the judges.

Judges' auditions

The show is open to solo artists and vocal groups aged 12 and above, with no upper age limit.The contestants audition in front of the judges which must come to a majority vote to allow the contestants to proceed to the next round, in this case, at least three judges have to say yes for the hopeful to go to boot camp.


The contestants selected at auditions are further refined through a series of performances at "bootcamp". At bootcamp the judges collaboratively choose either 32 acts (season 1; eight from each category) or 24 acts (season 2; six from each category) for the next round, and only then are told by the show's producers which category they are to mentor.

Judges' houses

The judges then disband for the "judges' houses" round, where they further reduce their acts on location at a residence with the help of a celebrity guest.

The Four Chair Challange

On the third season of the show, Cowell confirmed that the bootcamp and judges' houses sections of the competition, which traditionally followed the audition rounds, had been dropped and replaced with a brand new stage called "The Four-Chair challenge". Speaking on the change, he said "It [bootcamp and judges' houses] was the one element of the show I wasn't happy with, and it looked too similar to what everybody else is doing." He went on to describe the new "middle section" as "really dramatic, very tough on us and the contestants, and very high pressure", and compared the new round as similar to the live shows

Live shows (Finals)

The finals consist of a series of two live shows, the first featuring the contestants' performances and the second revealing the results of the public voting, culminating in one or more acts being eliminated. Celebrity guest performers also feature regularly.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org