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Monday 1st June 2020

The X Factor judges of past and present – from Tulisa to Simon Cowell to Mel B

Who's your favourite X factor judge?

The X Factor has been on our screens for almost two decades.

Over the years, Simon Cowell has recruited an array of famous faces to sit with him on the judging panel.

But Can you remember them all?

Here's all of the X Factor judges ever, past and present – including those we almost forgot...

Simon Cowell: 2004 to present

Original X factor judges Simon Cowell in 2017 (Credit: ITV)

He's known as the showbiz genius responsible for creating global pop sensations One Direction and Little Mix.

But Simon Cowell has also created a string of mega-successful reality TV talent competitions such as Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor.

Since The X Factor’s inception in 2004, it has turned into a worldwide phenomenon and is broadcast in more than 140 countries.

Simon has sat on the judging panel since the beginning.

Over the years, viewers have noticed he has undergone a transition from straight-talking Mr Grumpy to a softer, more patient judge since becoming a father.

Robbie Williams & Ayda Field: 2018

Husband and wife duo Robbie Williams and Ayda Field are rumoured to be on the 2018 X Factor judging panel (Credit: ITV)

Rumour mills were working overtime with reports that Robbie Williams and Ayda Field were going to be X factor judges.

And the news was of course confirmed in July 2018.

The ‘Rock DJ’ hitmaker Robbie and his glamourous wife are close friends with Cowell, having lived as neighbours in L.A.

Ayda and Robbie were reportedly struck a deal with the music mogul following Robbie’s stint on Britain’s Got Talent.

Speaking about signing the duo, Simon revealed to the Mirror: “It all kind of worked out without me even asking. How cool is that?”

Louis Tomlinson: 2018

The One Direction star was an X factor judge in 2018 (Credit: ITV)

Louis Tomlinson's first brush with The X Factor was as a contestant in 2010.

After singing solo, he was put together with four other teen lads.

They became One Direction, went on to come third and then spent a spell dominating the music world.

So what better person to be judging and mentoring?

Sharon Osbourne: 2004 to 2007, 2013, 2016

Sharon Osbourne is no stranger to the judges desk (Credit: ITV)

The legendary Sharon Osbourne became a familiar face as an X factor judge from 2004 to 2007.

She rejoined in 2013, though, and once again in 2016.

After a two-year hiatus, the outspoken music manager was due to return for the 15th series as a fifth judge for the live shows.

Speaking about her role, Sharon said: "I can’t wait to get back to the judges’ desk. I love the new format."

But she subsequently dropped out, claiming she was going to be too busy.

Louis Walsh: 2004 to 2018

Louis Walsh has been an X Factor judge since 2004! (Credit: ITV)

The Irish boyband expert revealed in June 2018 that he was quitting the show.

Of course, this meant that 2018 was a Louis Walsh-less year since the programme’s debut in 2004.

Louis said in a statement: “I've had a fantastic 13 years on The X Factor but the show needs a change and I'm ready to leave.”

Nicole Scherzinger: 2012 to 2014, 2016, 2017

Nicole won't be returning to The X Factor in 2018 (Credit: ITV)

One of the most animated judges to ever grace The X Factor panel, Nicole became known for her dramatic reactions.

The songstress also coined the term “SCHERMAZING” during her time on the show.

She regularly used it describe her favourite contestants. Nicole revealed she wasn’t returning to the table in April 2018.

Dannii Minogue: 2007 to 2011

Dannii Minogue was on The X Factor judging panel from 2007-2011 (Credit: ITV)

Aussie popstar Dannii Minogue first appeared in 2007 and remained a judge for four series, before jumping ship in 2011.

Dannii and Sharon O were constantly at loggerheads during their time sat beside one another.

But despite the awkward feuding, Miss Minogue fared well with The X Factor audience and became popular among viewers.

Cheryl: 2008 to 2011, 2014, 2015

Cheryl led Alexandra Burke to victory in 2008 (Credit: ITV)

Girls Aloud favourite Cheryl joined The X Factor in 2008.

This was after Sharon made a dramatic exit following reports that she and Dannii could no longer work together.

Cheryl (then with the surname Cole) was a judge from 2008 - 2011.

She then returned in 2014 and 2015 as Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (though she would go by just Cheryl following her split from her ex-husband).

As a product of Pop Idol, the Geordie singer had firsthand experience with reality TV talent competitions.

Her background made her a firm but fair judge and mentor.

The pop star put this to use when leading Alexandra Burke to victory in her first year on the show.

Tulisa: 2011 to 2012

N-Dubz's leading lady frequently held up her right arm when introduced on the live shows, showing her tattoo which read "The Female Boss" (Credit: ITV)

Tulisa Contostavlos was the youngest X factor judge judge during her time on the show in 2011 and 2012.

Heart Little Mix went on to be one of the most successful groups to ever win the competition.

But outspoken Tulisa appeared to lack chemistry with the other judges and later left the show.

Kelly Rowland: 2011

Kelly Rowland was one of the X factor judges on the 2011 series (Credit: ITV)

Destiny’s Child singer and solo artist Kelly Rowland joined the judge’s panel at the same time as Tulisa, in 2011.

While she went down well with viewers, Kelly was cut after just one series.

Gary Barlow: 2011 to 2013

Gary Barlow was a judge on The X Factor from 2011-2013 (Credit: ITV)

Filling Simon’s shoes from 2011-2013, Take That’s Gary Barlow remained reasonably deadpan throughout his time on The X Factor.

While he did exhibit an occasional dry wit which many viewers didn’t expect, he was often criticised for being too harsh.

A prime example of Gary’s sharp-tongue was the time he called Tulisa out live on air for having “fag ash breath”.

Mel B: 2014

Mel B was a judge for The X Factor in 2014 (Credit: ITV)

Much like Gary, fellow popstar legend Mel B appeared to occasionally lack sensitivity.

After being on the show for just one series in 2014, the former Spice Girl was given the boot.

Simon deemed her a better fit for US audiences and she has since featured as an America’s Got Talent judge for five series.

Rita Ora: 2015

Rita Ora was one of the X factor judges in 2015 (Credit: ITV)

After appearing as a guest judge in 2012, British pop sensation Rita Ora signed up as a full-time fixture for 2015.

Her act, Louisa Johnson, emerged victorious at the end of the series.

During the live finals, the pair teamed up to perform a powerful rendition of ‘And I’m Telling You’.

Nick Grimshaw: 2015

Nick Grimshaw was one of the X Factor judges in 2015 (Credit: ITV)

Radio 1 Breakfast Show host Nick Grimshaw joined real-life best friend Rita on the judging panel in 2015.

His time on the show came to an end following his somewhat-reserved and underwhelming stint as a judge.

X Factor guest judges

Brian Friedman: 2007 

Brian Friedman backstage at The X Factor live shows in 2014 (Credit: ITV)

For the fourth series, American choreographer and backing dancer Brian had a stint as an X factor judge.

However, he was swapped out for Louis Walsh after a few episodes.

The US star was given the title of Creative Director instead, a move he has since said was planned all along.

Pixie Lott: 2010

The singer appeared as a guest judge in 2010 (credit: ITV)

Pixie temporarily sat on the judging panel in 2010.

This is the same year Rebecca Ferguson wowed the entire nation.

Her time on The X Factor was short and sweet, and she was later snapped up by rival TV talent competition The Voice.

Natalie Imbruglia: 2010 

Natalie filled in for a pregnant Dannii in 2010 (Credit: ITV)

The Aussie star appeared on The X Factor in 2010 in for pregnant friend, Dannii.

However, despite her best efforts, ‘Torn’ hitmaker Natalie Imbruglia didn’t go down too well at the live auditions.

There were reports of auditionees dismissing her criticism and branding the judge a “one hit wonder.”

Katy Perry: 2010       

The US star appeared as a guest judge in 2010 for one episode (Credit: ITV)

Katy Perry took a swing at judging the live auditions in 2010.

The US star was quite popular with audience members and auditionees alike.

While she only featured in one episode, Katy was a memorable judge who took her role very seriously.

In fact, she became invested in many of her favourite contestants.

Geri Halliwell: 2010 

The singer appeared on The X Factor in 2010 as a guest judge (Credit: ITV)

Geri Halliwell beat her Spice Girl counterpart, Mel B, to the judging panel by four years.

Simon invited Ginger Spice to be a guest judge in 2010.

Despite her very brief time on the show, Geri has become known as one of the most talkative judges in X Factor history.

Alexandra Burke: 2011

British star Alexandra won The X Factor in 2008 (Credit: ITV)

Alexandra Burke stepped in for Kelly Rowland in 2011.

She actually won the competition three years earlier following a passionate duet with Rowland’s BFF, Beyonce, at the final live shows.

Unfortunately, many viewers deemed Alexandra better suited to the role of contestant than judge.

Anastacia: 2012

Anastacia was a guest on The X Factor in 2012 (Credit: ITV)

‘I’m Outta Love’ singer Anastacia sat on the judging panel in 2012 and filled in as a guest judge for the live auditions.

Her most memorable moment was when she was left teary-eyed after a young man dedicated his emotional performance to his gran, who was battling breast cancer.

X factor is expected to return in 2021.

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