Number of Seasons: 6

TThe X Factor is an Australian television reality music competition, based on the original UK series, to find new singing talent. The first season of the show was broadcast in February, however since the second season the show has been broadcast from August until the grand final in November. The X Factor is produced by FremantleMedia Australia, and is currently broadcast on the Seven Network. The title "X Factor" refers to a singing talent which is "unique" and "something" that makes for star quality. Network Ten held the rights for the show in 2005, but dropped the show the same year due to poor ratings. In 2010 the Seven Network won the rights and a second season went into production. The X Factor was renewed after a highly successful Australian Idol was no longer broadcast through Network Ten. The X Factor is also broadcast in New Zealand on TV3. Two seasons of The Xtra Factor have been broadcast through Network Ten in 2005 and 7Two in 2010. Although the show was not renewed for a third season in 2011.

The original judging panel line-up in 2005 consisted of Kate Ceberano, Mark Holden and John Reid. When the show was revived in 2010 for a second season, the judging panel was replaced by Ronan Keating, Guy Sebastian, Natalie Imbruglia and Kyle Sandilands. Imbruglia and Sandilands opted not to return for season three and were replaced by Melanie Brown and Natalie Bassingthwaighte after their departure.

During the televised audition phases of The X Factor, originally the contestants sang in an "audition room" in front of just the judges, however from season two onwards all auditionees sing on stage in an arena, in front of the judges and an a live audience. The acts which are successful will progress to the next stage of the competition, "bootcamp" and then to "home visits", where the judges narrow their category down to three acts who will continue to the live shows, where the pubic vote for their favourite act, following weekly performances by the contestants.

To date there have been four winners: Random, Altiyan Childs, Reece Mastin and Samantha Jade. Each winner releases a winner's single. Although all winners songs have charted within the top-ten on the ARIA Singles Chart, only Mastin's and Jade's singles have charted at number one. The winner of the show receives a recording contract with record label Sony Music Australia. In season three, the winner also received a management contract and in season four, a Nissan Dualis car. To-date there have a been a number of hit singles released by contestants who have appeared on the show. The show's ratings were at its highest throughout the fourth season, with a peak of 1.6 million viewers as well as the show gaining a nomination from the Logie Awards for "Most Popular Reality Program", two years running.

Format and Stages

The X Factor is primarily concerned with identifying singing talent, though appearance, personality, stage presence and dance routines are also important elements of many performances. In season one, the show was split into three categories: 16-24s (soloists aged 16–24), Over 25s (soloists aged 25 and over) and Groups (including duos). In season two, the 16-24s category was split into separate male and female sections, making four categories in all: Under 25 Boys, Under 25 Girls, Over 25s and Groups. In season three, the minimum age for contestants was lowered to 14. Throughout 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. For each season, each judge is assigned a category and will mentor their three acts individually and all acts have a shared amount of time with their mentor. Each of the 12 acts will also have rehearsal time in the studio with their mentor. In some cases, if a solo artist is not strong enough, the judges will put together a group of solo artists which have potential to be great as a band.

There are five stages to the competition:

Stage 1 - Producer's auditions

The first set of auditions is held in front of the show's producers, months before The X Factor is aired. The producer auditions are not televised and you will only be able to audition either by application, appointment or if it is at an "open" audition, which anyone can attend. The successful auditionees chosen by the producers are invited back to the last set of the audition phase, which would take place in front of the show's judging panel and a live studio audience.

Stage 2 - Judges' auditions

The judges' auditions are held on selected dates and locations in a number of major cities of Australia, and are broadcast over the first few weeks of The X Factor. The show is open to solo artists and vocal groups aged 14 and above, with no upper age limit. Only a selection of auditions in front of the judges are broadcast, usually the best, the worst and the most bizarre. During the first season of The X Factor, each act entered an audition room and delivered a stand-up unaccompanied performance of their chosen song to the judges, without any instrumental music playing.

Stage 3 - Bootcamp

During the bootcamp stage each judge is assigned one of the four categories to mentor. It is held on three days. In seasons one, two and three, each judge was given 24 acts and had to decide on their twelve acts after day two, and their six acts after day three. Each judge was assisted by a celebrity guest judge to help them decide their acts. In season one, the judges narrowed down their acts to five instead of six. From season four, all four judges work together to collectively choose 24 acts (six from each category) for the next round, home visits, where they find out which category they will mentor.

Stage 4 - Judges' houses

During the home visits stage (formerly judges' houses in seasons one and two), the judges disband and visit different places of the world and begin to mentor the acts in their category before narrowing their final six acts down to three acts for the live shows. The judges receive help from celebrity guest judges at this stage.

Stage 5 -Live shows (finals)

The finals consist of two live shows, the first featuring the contestants' performances and the second revealing the results of the public voting, culminating in one act being eliminated each week. Celebrity guest performers also feature regularly in the results shows. The live shows are filmed at Fox Studios in Sydney. In season one, the shows were filmed at Hisense Arena (formerly Vodafone Arena) in Melbourne, where Australian Idol was filmed. The winner of The X Factor is awarded a recording contract with Sony Music Australia. In season three, the winner was also awarded a management contract and in season four, a Nissan Dualis car. The live shows are normally broadcasted on a Monday night at 7:30 pm.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org