“The X Factor” U.K. has dropped Liverpool from its selection of cities where auditions in front of the judges will take place in 2013. On March 30, 2013, the Daily Mirror reported that Plymouth, England, has been added to cities that will have auditions this year.
A spokesperson for “The X Factor” U.K. told the Daily Mirror: “Last year we found some great talent in Liverpool but this year we won’t be returning. We visit a range of cities.”
The cities, dates, and venues for the auditions in front of the judges in 2013 are to be announced, but they are expected to begin in May, the same month that the lineup of judges will be officially announced.
In 2012, “The X Factor” U.K. judges were Gary Barlow, Nicole Scherzinger, Louis Walsh and Tulisa Contostavlos. British tabloids have been reporting for months that Contostavlos is getting fired, and she will be replaced by Sharon Osbourne, who was a judge on “The X Factor” U.K. from 2004 to 2007. Contostavlos has denied in a Sunday People interview and on Twitter that she is leaving “The X Factor” U.K., and she says she still wants to be a judge on the show.
The Daily Mirror also reported that “The X Factor” executive producer Simon Cowell (who was a judge on “The X Factor” U.K. from 2004 to 2010) will increase his video appearances on the show in 2013. It has been announced several times since 2011 that Cowell is not going to return to “The X Factor” U.K. judging panel as long as he is too busy as a judge/executive producer on “The X Factor” U.S., whose live episodes take place during the same months (October to December) as “The X Factor” U.K.’s live episodes.
An unnamed source commented to the Daily Mirror about why Liverpool was dropped from “X Factor” auditions: “There’s not really much foundation to their decision given the fact that the last three seasons have clearly produced a lot of talent. They are all under a lot of pressure from Simon Cowell to revamp the show and bringing in fresh talent from around the UK is their first big move towards doing that.”
Several “X Factor” U.K. finalists have come from Liverpool. Most recently, they included Christopher Maloney (third place in 2012), Marcus Collins (second place in 2011) and Rebecca Ferguson (second place in 2010). Craig Colton (sixth place in 2011) also hails from Liverpool.
Liverpool’s deputy mayor Gary Millar told the Daily Mirror: “It’s ridiculous to say Liverpool doesn’t have talent. The last three finalists came from Merseyside. Liverpool is the city with 57 Number One hits. The history of bands and upcoming venues is second to none. From buskers, to schools, to groups, music is part of Liverpool’s heritage. People from all over the world gravitate to Liverpool for our music.”
The Beatles are the most famous music stars to come from Liverpool.
In 2012, “The X Factor” U.K. held its “boot camp” phase of the competition in Liverpool. It was the first time that the show’s “boot camp” took place outside of London. The show’s boot camp in July 2012 was moved to Liverpool because Olympic activities in London caused hotel/venue booking problems for “The X Factor” U.K. boot camp.
Liverpool isn’t the only major city in England to have been dropped from “X Factor” auditions. In 2012, the show skipped Birmingham and chose to go to Newcastle instead. According to the Daily Mirror, Birmingham has been selected for “X Factor” auditions in 2013. Of course, London (Great Britain’s capital/largest city) is expected to always be part of “X Factor” auditions.
The news about Liverpool being dropped from “X Factor” auditions in 2013 comes just days after The Sun reported that just one person showed up in the first hour of “The X Factor” U.K.’s mobile-van auditions in Colchester, Essex, England, on March 26, 2013. The Sun reported that only about 20 people total showed up for “X Factor” auditions there that day, compared to the approximately 100 people who went to “X Factor” mobile-van auditions in Essex in 2012.
Ratings for “The X Factor” U.K. (which is televised in the U.K. by ITV) have been on a steady decline since 2011, the first year that Cowell was no longer a judge on the show. Despite the decrease in ratings, The Sun is reporting that the judges who are returning to the show are asking for annual salary raises. Walsh is reportedly asking for £1 million for 2013, while the other judges are expecting to be paid between £1.5 million to £2 million each.