We joined the judges Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Nick Grimshaw, presenters Olly Murs, Caroline Flack and the Xtra Factor hosts Rochelle Humes and Melvin Odoom on the red carpet at the glitzy X Factor press launch held at the Picturehouse Central in London yesterday.
Rita Ora was on tour in America so unfortunately couldn't make the launch.
Simon surprised everyone by arriving sporting a beard rather than his usual clean shaven look. Simon called his beard a symbol of his 'sense of freedom', saying 'I actually got lazy while I was on holiday and I thought I'd keep it. I'm sure it will come off in about a week.'
When asked about One Direction taking time out, Simon said 'I know Louis wants to be an A&R guy, run a label; he was always going to be good at that. I haven’t gone into too much detail with the others.'
Cheryl added: 'Liam is a really good song writer, he wrote a track on my last album, so I think you’ll see different things from all of them.'
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini admitted on the red carpet she is busy preparing herself not to get too emotional during the Judges' Houses stages now that they will be broadcast live.
She said: 'This is when I have to take previous experience into control. I'm going to try and set emotions aside and be fair on the people that are going through. Rather than worrying about how horrible it is for me!'
Simon explained that sticking to just the arena try-outs has instantly reinvigorated the show. 'There's a different energy this year,' he says. 'I can't explain it. I have felt relaxed and I think getting out of those small rooms made a big difference; I don't like those little auditions, they drive me nuts. The crowd have had an incredible energy this year, which has helped.'
The rules have also been relaxed for the constants' auditions, with dancers and props permitted for the first time. 'We basically said to ourselves that we shouldn't apply any rules to the auditions,' Simon explained.
'If they want dancers, this or that, dogs, cats - well, I don't care about cats - but you can do what you want. A couple of auditions I have sat there and thought how I have never seen anything like it on this show. They have really put the effort in; I think it's made the show better.'
This year is more interactive with the viewers, If contestants win over the judges and the arena, the successful acts will then progress through to Boot Camp, which this year kicks off in a grand country house.
Then comes the exciting part, for the first time ever the public will decide which judge gets which category – the Boys, the Girls, the Overs and the Groups - in a live vote via hashtags (and individual emojis for each judge) on Twitter, which will open during the first episode on Saturday 29th August, and close at 12:00pm on Tuesday 1st September.
You can find out more on how the voting works on our X FACTOR BLOG
The four judges will then be informed of the public's decision during filming of the six-chair challenge at the SSE Arena, Wembley, which will whittle down the acts for Judges' Houses.
This year for the first time the Judges Houses stage will be broadcast live from four international locations, This we cannot wait for!
Having watched the first show, we can honestly say Nick Grimshaw is a breath of fresh air. He is funny, articulate and has great banter with Simon. Rita is fun, look out for the dancing!
We can't give much away before the show airs on Saturday other than we felt there was a lighter feel to The X Factor this year. The fun is back, the sob stories gone and a great mixture of talented and deluded.
We also asked Simon a question at the Q&As after the screen which we will tell you more about later.
More photos from the launch on our X FACTOR PRESS LAUNCH page.