The X Factor returns to ITV this autumn with a brand-new panel.
Robbie Williams, Ayda Williams and Louis Tomlinson join show creator Simon Cowell as judges for The X Factor series 15.
This series will see the return of the arena auditions at The SSE Arena, Wembley, in front of the judges and a 4,000 strong audience.
Robbie is a global superstar who has won 18 BRIT Awards - more than any other artist in history – and has sold more than 75 million records during his solo career.
He has been playing to sold out stadiums across the world over the past 18 months on his The Heavy Entertainment Show Tour which has seen him perform to more than 1.25 million fans across the UK, Europe and Australasia.
Robbie released the platinum-selling The Heavy Entertainment Show album in November 2016 which debuted at No.1 on the Official UK album chart, giving him his 12th No.1 solo album.
Robbie tells us about this year's show:
How does it feel to be an X Factor judge after years of watching it from the comfort of your sofa at home? It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in showbusiness hands down, full stop. I just can’t believe I’ve never done it before. In a weird way the pressure is off. When you appear on TV shows like The X Factor doing promotion you’re being judged. Now we’re doing the judging. I feel like I’ve found a new lease of life, I love working with my wife and it’s just fun. It’s brought a whole lot of fun back to my job.
What do you think you bring to the panel this year?
It’s a difficult question to answer because we are the panel. I think it’s an answer people can only give if they are on the outside of it. Also, it feels like we’ve only been here five minutes, I haven’t seen us on camera yet. I don’t know how it works on TV but I do feel that instantly the chemistry was great between us. What do we bring that the old judges didn’t? I don’t know but I’m sure Twitter will tell us!
You said during auditions that telling people “no” was easy when you watched the show on the TV, how does it feel now you’re on the panel and looking them in the eye? The thing is, what I understand now is that we’re auditioning too, this is our job. So, our job and our audition takes preference over anyone who is in front of us. You have to be kind and human, but we’re here to make good television. Also, we’ve got to get it right. It’s quickly obvious and evident that as a human you can only see so many people before something has to be amazing for it to pique your interest. I’ve got ADHD and I’m finding that with auditions, the thing that is worst than being terrible is being average. You see a lot of average. There’s something about seeing a lot of average, maybe you can be a bit inhumane at times, but you can only do your job as a human!
What is it like working with your wife?
I got together with Ayda 12 years ago, I was having a hiatus from the music industry. I didn’t do anything for three years and I loved it. I realised that I just wanted to spend time with my best mate. If I go to work, ultimately I go to work so I can come home and relax with my best friend. If I can go to work with my best friend, then that’s the best of both worlds.
Do you think fans are going to get an insight into your marriage?
I know what my wife is capable of. I know what we’re capable of together so we’ve just been waiting for the right vehicle to go, ‘Check out the Williams!’ I think it will be interesting for people to see us together in that way.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt from Simon so far?
The biggest thing I’ve learnt is that I’ve got a long way to go before I am as good as him at this job! Look, there have been hundreds of versions of these shows and hundreds of different panels, name me one person who is better than Simon Cowell at this job. He is head and shoulders above everybody, I’m just happy to sit in my seat and see how he does it, see how he forms questions, what he asks. Like I say, I’m learning a lot from him.
How do you rate the talent this year?
I’m a fan of the show and always have been so I like to think I know a bit about what makes for good TV. But I’m finding out more every day. I think we’ve got a very strong show, from the silliness to the whimsy, to the actual gold plated talent. I think we’re covered, I think there’s a bit of something for everybody.
Was there anything specific you were looking for?
You know, it’s always those unexpected moments, the unspecified bit of magic. I don’t think you can write down exactly what that is when it happens. It comes out of the ether and it’s incredible. I wasn’t expecting anything, I just wanted to be blown away. I can happily say that I have been blown away more than a few times.
How are you feeling about mentoring the contestants and being responsible for their career? There is a responsibility that comes with mentoring people and helping their career and hopefully not hindering it. I’m auditioning for this show too, so they are mentoring me at the same time, we’ll work it out together. If they look good, I look good and vice versa!
Do you think it’s harder to launch a career now than when you started?
I don’t know, that was last century! This is one hell of a platform though, isn’t it? Take That didn’t have the option of being seen by ten million people each weekend. If we had have had that option then we would have obviously grabbed it with five sets of hands. As it happens these lucky people will have just that and they should grab the opportunity with both hands and make everything they can from it.
Do you think you can win?
Am I confident I can win? Give me any category and I’m confident I can win!
THE X FACTOR RETURNS SATURDAY 1ST AND SUNDAY 2ND SEPTEMBER AT 8PM ON ITV