TV preview: The X-Factor

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It’s back. The shiniest, most expensive talent show in Blighty, and returning to the helm is show runner Simon Cowell.

Now his US version of The X Factor has folded, the pop svengali has come home for 
the 11th series of the programme which turned the likes of Leona Lewis, Olly 
Murs and One Direction into stars.

From now until December, TXF will dominate weekend nights on ITV, and one man who’s sat through every series is Louis Walsh.

The question is: how will the male judges get on working alongside returning judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (or Cheryl Cole if you prefer) and the outspoken Mel B?

Well, that remains to be seen, but we can tell you that the all-dancing Dermot O’Leary is back as host for the seventh year.

As the auditions kick off, millions of fans settle down to boo or cheer the latest batch of deluded divas and nervous warblers.

The minimum age for acts has been lowered to 14, and there’s every chance the 
world’s next big recording star could be making their TV debut tonight.

One woman well aware of the pressures facing this year’s wannabe stars is Diana Vickers.

In 2008, aged 16, the Lancashire lass enjoyed her showbiz breakthrough on the show. Although she came fourth, Diana has proved there is life after TXF.

She’s recently been filming the horror thriller ‘Awaiting’ in East Yorkshire, and in mid-October makes her sitcom debut in Comedy Central’s new series, Give Out Girls.

So, like 1D and Olly, she hasn’t done too badly off the back of being a runner-up.

How important does she think it is to win The X Factor?

“I don’t think it’s important,” she explains. “You do want to come in at a reasonable place - the quarter final I got to, and it’s a great platform.”

What advice does she have for the latest batch of hopefuls?

“I think if you can, get in Cheryl’s team... she’s fab and she did a great job with me, but just be yourself and don’t take it too seriously. Remember your roots. Just go on there and have fun. Use that platform to be clever and smart, and get what you want after.”

Of course keeping your feet on the ground as the weeks go by can be tricky for even the most grounded starlet. However, Ms Vickers has another top tip for those who might start believing the hype.

“Some people get wrapped up in it, and everybody who ever meets me, they’re like: ‘You got into the fame world when you were 16 but you’re so grounded.’ That’s because I keep really good people around me. I’m not in it to be famous. I’m in it because I love singing. I love writing and I love acting.”

Back to this year’s show, and there will be plenty of competition between the judges.

Cheryl and Simon have both mentored two winning acts, while Louis has backed one. As Mel B has yet to prove herself, and 2013 winner Sam Bailey was such a tough act to follow, it should be one of the most interesting contests so far.

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