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Battle of the X Factor Judges: Old vs. New!

It’s Judgment Day as we make the supreme X Factor dream team

As The X Factor progresses through its 8th series, both newcomers and long-term fans of the show are watching with avid interest as the new judges settle into their seats. Naturally, everyone has their own favourites amongst the three newbies, as well as the judges who have departed for pastures new.

So how do the new judges measure up against the old?

Does the new team of judges gel as well as the gradually changing foursome of series 1-7?

Well, everyone loves The X Factor for different reasons. For some it’s just the music, for others it’s the sheer entertainment generated from both the great and the truly awful performances. Some love to become engrossed in the lives of the contestants, watching them experience their dream of being on stage.

It’s easy to see that there’s a huge variety of elements that make The X Factor so watchable. The judges are a large part of this as they shape the very fabric of the show; encouraging some contestants and sharing in their triumphs. Others hopes they dash, commiserating with the performers whose X Factor journey is at an end.

Each judge has their own unique style and quirks that help make the most memorable moments of the show. So let’s take a little look at how each judge fits into the picture…

Simon Cowell

Judge for: Series 1-7 (2004-2010)
Winning contestants mentored: 2 (Steve Brookstein: series 1, Leona Lewis: series 4)
Most frequently says: “That was the worst performance I’ve ever seen on this show.”

The original Mr “Tell It Like It Is”. Simon Cowell’s departure from the UK X Factor this year represents the loss of an iconic judge who is never afraid to lay on some painful truths and spare no feelings in the pursuit of finding contestants with star power.

From his sardonic smirks to his open-chested shirts, Simon Cowell has always represented top-notch entertainment. Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that his style has always shaped a great show as he provides fireworks during auditions and genuinely emotional moments when he bestows his full praise on a performer.

Cheryl Cole

Judge for: Series 5-7 (2008-2010)
Winning contestants mentored: 2 (Alexandra Burke: series 5, Joe McElderry: series 6)
Most frequently says: “You totally owned that stage tonight. You made it your own.”

There’s no way to look at Cheryl Cole without seeing a bright bundle of Geordie enthusiasm and friendliness. During her time as a judge, Cheryl was often the most affectionate of the judges, comforting contestants who became overwhelmed with emotion and succumbing to a goodly stint of “the weepies” herself.

However, she was no pushover, as contestants were worked hard under her tutelage in order to extract their very best. Cheryl was a perfect mix of iron fist and velvet glove. It didn’t hurt that she’s so easy on the eye too, having been voted Britain’s sexiest woman twice.

Sharon Osbourne

Judge for: Series 1-4 (2004-2007)
Winning contestants mentored: 0
Most frequently says: “One million percent… yes!”

Coming from a family as madcap as the Osbournes, it’s no surprise that Sharon’s judging style was unorthodox. Prone to bouts of explosive energy and enthusiastic endorsement of her charges, episodes rarely lacked some good “Sharon moments”.

Often seen bursting into fits of laughter alongside Louis Walsh, Sharon certainly spiced up the audition sections, much to the chagrin of some of the less talented contestants.

Dannii Minogue

Judge for: Series 4-7 (2007-2010)
Winning contestants mentored: 1 (Leon Jackson: series 4)
Most frequently says: “You look REALLY great tonight.” (Usually followed by a massive “but…”)

Sister to the world-storming Aussie sensation that is Kylie, Dannii Minogue often provided some gravitas to the judging proceedings, balancing out the more, ahem, “energetic” outbursts of Sharon and Louis Walsh.

While often slightly more reserved than her fellow judges, Dannii clearly cared about her pet projects as much as the others, providing sound mentoring with equally valuable advice.

Louis Walsh

Judge for: Every series (2004-present)
Winning contestants mentored: 1 (Shane Ward: series 2)
Most frequently says: “I want everyone at home voting for ya!”

The indefatigable, ever-energetic Louis. Mr Walsh bridges the gap between the old and new judges as he is the unshakable judge who doesn’t seem to want to give up his seat, presiding at every series of the UK X Factor so far.

Louis provides the judging panel with some seriously infectious smiles and not a few ridiculous sayings. If we all had a pound for every time he says, “I want everyone at home voting for ya!” then we’d be laughing as much as he does.

Sometimes whimsical, sometimes nonsensical, but always entertaining, Louis Walsh is a valuable addition to any judging panel foursome, as his X Factor longevity shows.

Kelly Rowland

Judge for: Series 8 (present)
Winning contestants mentored: To be decided
Most frequently says: “You’re so talented.”

Of Destiny’s Child fame, Kelly represents The X Factor’s first American influence on the judging panel. Bold and occasionally belligerent, there’s little that’s softly spoken coming from Kelly. She has no hesitation saying what’s on her mind, to either the contestants or her fellow judges.

Kelly seems to be gelling well with the rest of the new judging team, providing a breath of fresh air and a new perspective from across the pond.

Tulisa Contostavlos

Judge for: Series 8 (present)
Winning contestants mentored: To be decided
Most frequently says: “Louis, it’s not ‘The N-Dubz’, it’s ‘N-Dubz’!”

From her British hip-hop roots with N-Dubz, Tulisa is the youngest judge to help decide the future of X Factor contestants. Like Kelly Rowland, Tulisa is a real newcomer to the format and has plenty to prove, making her keen to make her impression felt by the other judges, contestants and the viewers at home.

At times combative, other times remarkably sweet, Tulisa could just be the dark horse of this series, providing a unique style of mentoring that will let her leave a mark on the show’s history.

Gary Barlow

Judge for: Series 8 (present)
Winning contestants mentored: To be decided
Most frequently says: “…” (Deadpanning while an ousted contestant sobs hysterically)

Suave, softly but firmly spoken, and a master of cutting contestants to the bone, there have been times when Gary seems to be trying to fill Simon Cowell’s boots as “the mean one”. He seems utterly comfortable keeping a deadpan expression while some poor starlet wannabe explodes into a deluge of tears.

Like Simon though, Gary isn’t short on praise when he thinks it’s been earned. Never saying more than he needs to, Gary helps round off the current foursome and provides the perfect counterpoint to the more bold and brash tones of Kelly and Louis.

Our Champion Team of X Factor Judges

So after much soul-searching and having debated the pros and cons of each judge in turn, we’ve managed to decide that our all-star team of X Factor judges would be as follows:

• Simon Cowell
• Cheryl Cole
• Tulisa Contostavlos
• Louis Walsh

There’s only room for one hard-nosed tough-talker, and for us it has to be Simon over Gary. There’s nothing wrong with Mr Barlow’s efforts, it’s just that Simon is the original and best.

Cheryl Cole has always been the perfect partner for Simon’s judging style, whether the two of them would care to acknowledge it or not. For Cheryl’s vivacious personality and extraordinary compassion, she simply has to make the all-star team.

Tulisa is our favourite of the new crop, with her quick-witted outbursts and her insightful assessments of contestant performances. We also think that she would gel well with Simon and Cheryl, given the opportunity.

Last but not least, Louis has to make the grade. Although he can contradict himself with fascinating regularity and spout a load of rubbish, that’s actually half the fun of having him around. Louis is entertaining all on his own, doubly so when he’s ineffectually sniping at the other judges – Simon in particular. For that alone, as well as his occasionally sound judgement, he’s worth every minute of his air time.

Who’s in your X Factor judge dream team?

If you could add an entirely new judge into the mix, who would you choose?