‘It would have to be reformatted’: Cheryl explains why she ‘doesn’t think the public wants’ X Factor to return

Former X Factor judge Cheryl has explained why she doesn’t think the talent series should return.

The singer, 39, first appeared on the judging panel of the ITV talent show in 2008, before stepping down in 2011.

She returned in 2017 to assist former fellow judge and series producer Simon Cowell in the judges’ houses part of the competition. The show ran for one more series, and was officially cancelled by ITV in 2021.

Despite this, Cowell claimed in November 2022 that a future reboot is “more likely than not”.

When asked about this in a new interview with The Independent, Cheryl suggested Cowell would “struggle to admit” the talent contest had run its course, because it’s his “baby”.

“I don’t know if the public want it anymore,” she said.

“We had Pop Idol before that, then Popstars, then us,” the singer continued, referring to Popstars: The Rivals, the series that launched her to fame as part of pop group Girls Aloud.

Cheryl attributed her view to the many streaming services people are subscribed to, stating: “It’s not the same as when everyone was gathered on the sofa on Saturday because X Factor was the biggest thing on TV. So, ‘I don’t know’ is the answer, but the public would have... it would have to be what they want.”

The singer, who is making her West End debut in the play 2:22: A Ghost Story, said “it would have to be totally reformatted”. She added that grouping contestants above the age of 25 into a category called “the overs” would be “inappropriate”, and also said there would need to be “a gender-neutral option”.

Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole on ‘The X Factor’ in 2017 (Dymond/Thames/Syco/Shutterstock)
Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole on ‘The X Factor’ in 2017 (Dymond/Thames/Syco/Shutterstock)

During her time on the series, Cheryl mentored two eventual winners – Joe McElderry and Alexandra Burke.

Cheryl will appear in 2:22 A Ghost Story at the Lyric Theatre from 21 January until 23 April.