You know it’s definitely autumn when the X Factor appears back on our TV screens.
Time to put away the barbecue, perhaps purchase a takeaway and settle down with the family to hear about people’s journeys, emotional rollercoasters, dying hamsters, how they were born to do this, how they’re not going to let anyone down, and are going to give a mathematically improbable 110 per cent...
I’m not knocking it though – I’m already hooked.
This year is a bit special though, isn’t it?
We have the return of Mr Cowell, career creator and hope-dasher extraordinaire.
Can I just ask though, what’s with the shirts open to the navel Simon?
Button up or you’ll get a chill – you’re in England now, not LA!
Also back is Cheryl, who was Tweedy, then Cole, and is now Fernandez-Versini, but is just known by her first name, in the same style as Madonna and Kylie.
Into this mix arrives Melanie Brown, Scary Spice in a previous life.
She’s very blunt, but I do like her honesty.
Then there’s Louis, good old reliable Louis.
He’s been in every series apart from a brief blip a few years ago, but he soon returned and is now part of the show’s furniture.
It’ll be interesting to see how the chemistry of the new panel progresses – I’m expecting some fireworks given Simon and Cheryl’s history.
I love watching the audition stages, but, and I say this every year, I cannot believe how deluded some people are when it comes to their singing voices!
Do they not have partners, friends, parents or neighbours who could have a quiet word and tell them that their singing really isn’t that great?
Is public humiliation on prime-time Saturday night TV really the best way to go?
New for this year is having the closed-room auditions beamed into the contestants’ waiting room, which is great as some of the reactions and conversations between the people watching are priceless.
I particularly liked the ones discussing the ‘posh’ girl, who said they thought she’d celebrate getting through to the next round with caviar, Champagne and asparagus.
I have to say, it seemed an unusual and unlikely combo to me!
Read more from Helen here.