The recent announcement of the judging panel for the 13th series of The X Factor was greeted with bemusement as the producers operated to the rarely-adopted mantra of “out with the new and in with the old”.
Gone were Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora, the pair picked very deliberately to give the show a makeover last year, and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, the youngest of the series’ veteran mentors, opted to vacate her seat too.
Instead of recruiting fresh faces to join Simon Cowell, the decision was made to reunite him with the other two judges who were there when it all began in 2004 – Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne – who will be 64 and 63 when the live episodes commence.
Another former contributor, 37-year-old Nicole Scherzinger, returns after a three-year absence as the most junior of the quartet.
Reflecting the drastic contrast to 2015’s approach, whereas series 12 had the most youthful ever panel with an average age of 36, series 13 will have the oldest at 55, which is not only a 19-year hike, but a five-year increase on the previous record high.
There are some suggestions that criticism of the uninspired and predictable choices is ageist, so news.bwin decided to see how 2016’s foursome compare to their predecessors on a number of different metrics to assess whether the negative reaction has been justified:
As you can see, the area in which Cowell, Walsh, Osbourne and Scherzinger perform best is socially, with their average Facebook like and Twitter follower counts the second strongest in X Factor history.
The Cowell-Walsh combination also helped deliver the greatest ratings in the show’s existence in 2010, which is a key consideration given that last year was the worst yet.
However, one aspect in which this year’s judging line-up is emphatically trumped by what came before is in terms of UK number one singles. Scherzinger is the sole singer of the gang and hit the top of the charts just three times. The six prior panels all boasted double figures.
If you think the former Pussycat Doll’s mid-2000s success renders her the most likely winning mentor, she can be backed at 9/4. Cowell shares favouritism with her at that price, followed by Osbourne at 11/4 and Walsh at 7/2.