The “X Factor” U.K. judging lineup of 2015 is undoubtedly the most controversial that the show has ever had, based on viewer reactions on the Internet. On June 16, 2015, “The X Factor” U.K. and its U.K. network ITV announced that Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora have replaced Louis Walsh and Mel B as judges on the show. Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Simon Cowell will remain judges on the show in 2015. Several U.K. tabloids had reported weeks in advance that Grimshaw and Ora were joining the show.
The hirings of 30-year-old Grimshaw and 24-year-old Ora are a blatant attempt to attract younger viewers, and most of the reactions on the Internet have been very negative, since many people feel that Grimshaw and Ora don’t have much experience or credibility when it comes to making music or producing hit artists. Grimshaw is a DJ on BBC Radio 1, while Ora has released just one album so far. Before joining “The X Factor” U.K., Ora was a judge on BBC rival “The Voice” U.K. in 2014. In 2012, she was a guest judge on “The X Factor” U.K., and she reportedly turned down offers to be a judge on the show in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Meanwhile, Fernandez-Versini (who goes by the stage name Cheryl) has long been ridiculed by the media and serious music fans for her questionable singing talent. Cowell is the only judge on the panel whom many viewers feel has enough credibility to judge singers, since he has a long history of discovering hit artists.
Ratings for “The X Factor” U.K. have been on a downward spiral since 2011, when Cowell left the show to become a judge on “The X Factor” U.S. He returned to “The X Factor” U.K. judging panel in 2014, after “The X Factor” U.S. was cancelled. BBC’s “Strictly Come Dancing” has now overtaken “The X Factor” U.K. in the ratings. Based on viewer reactions (many people have said they’ll stop watching the show because they dislike Ora and/or Grimshaw), “The X Factor” U.K. has little chance of being the top-rated show in its time slot in 2015.
As previously reported, the “out with the old, in with the new” house cleaning at “The X Factor” U.K. also included host Dermot O’Leary, 42, being fired and replaced by 31-year-old Olly Murs and 35-year-old Caroline Flack. Murs and Flack co-hosted spinoff show “The Xtra Factor” in 2011 and 2012. Rochelle Humes (from the girl group The Saturdays) and Melvin Odoom (also known for the TV show “Sweat the Small Stuff”) are hosting spinoff show “The Xtra Factor” in 2015. Humes and Odoom replace Sarah-Jane Crawford, who hosted “The Xtra Factor” in 2014.