X Factor 2017 is finally here! We're not sure how because it seems like just yesterday Honey G was trying – and miserably failing – to be the next Missy Elliott before Matt Terry eventually won last year.
But moving forward, Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh are officially back and on the lookout for the next big thing.
Just two weeks into the new series, we've already seen some huge changes, like auditions being held at Thorpe Park and acts being allowed to perform their own material for the first time ever. But Digital Spy has been promised that there are more surprise on the way by show insiders and that this series is going to be one of the best ever.
We're still in the very early stages of the competition but here's everything we can tell you so far.
X Factor air date: When will it be on?
X Factor 2017 launched on Saturday, September 2 at 8pm.
In the past, Simon has had a habit of kicking off the series on the last Saturday of August over the Bank Holiday weekend. This year, however, the series started a little later than usual as the programme is running for just 13 weeks, making it the shortest season ever.
X Factor live shows: When do they start?
Usually, there are ten live X Factor shows every year in the lead up to the grand finale.
However, this series there will just be six after bosses decided to make this season shorter than usual.
With that in mind, it's expected the live shows will start on Saturday, October 28 to coincide with the show's annual Halloween-themed episode.
X Factor final: When is it?
Previously, the show has always finished around two weeks – sometimes less – before Christmas. But not this year.
X Factor 2017 is the shortest series to date and bosses have moved the finale to Saturday December 2.
At least it won't clash with the Strictly final.
X Factor judges: Who's on the panel?
We're excited about this one! Simon Cowell has 100% confirmed that last year's panel is coming back for 2017. This means he'll be once again joined by Nicole Scherzinger, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne.
Speaking to The Sun, Simon said: "I don't think for the moment we'd want to make any changes. It worked on X Factor last year and the Britain's Got Talent panel works really well."
He added: "There's always room to come up with new ideas for shows but you've got to look at the whole landscape. It's a crowded market but there's always room for something new if it's a good idea."
And they've certainly had a right laugh at the auditions - including some at Thorpe Park, no less - with Simon bringing along his son Eric (or mini-me):
X Factor changes: How different will the series be?
According to Simon and Sharon, The X Factor is going to be so different this year compared to the series that have come before.
The music mogul has confirmed there will be plenty of changes when the show finally returns to our screens this weekend, and at the launch of this year's series, he and Mrs O finally revealed what we can expect some of those changes to be.
"I think too that this year is probably the first that I feel all of us have been blatantly honest with the contestants," Sharon told Digital Spy.
And it didn't take long for Simon to agree either, adding: "You can see it, when I watched the first episode I could see that it felt different.
"It was like being less aware of big caricatures but just being absolutely honest – why you liked them, why you didn't like them, how they could improve. There's no such thing as a perfect first audition."
Sounds like it should be an interesting series...
Will X Factor clash with Strictly Come Dancing?
Good news! Simon has reportedly tucked into a slice of humble pie and moved the X Factor finale so that it will NOT clash with Strictly. Yes, really!
Unfortunately though, throughout the rest of the series, the shows will clash with each other's schedules. Strictly doesn't finish over on BBC One until 8.45pm and X Factor starts at 8pm, meaning the shows will be on at the same time for 45 minutes every Saturday. Thank goodness for ITV+1!
The X Factor 2017: Are there any big changes this year?
Indeed there is – and not everyone is happy about it. The nail-biting Six Chair Challenge is coming back with one hell of a twist. The judge picking the final six acts for his or her category will now be seated away from the others on the panel. This series, it was Sharon Osbourne, and she was left in tears as she had to choose her finalists from a group of 20 without any help from the other judges.
Simon Cowell has also confirmed that he's completely revamping the show (again), and he's starting by getting rid of the not-at-all-random jukebox.
Cowell announced the news at the show's auditions in Wembley, telling fans (via The Sun): "All these crazy things we used to do with themes have gone, no more jukeboxes, none of that rubbish this year.
"The public are smart enough to know what's real – that's what we are focusing on this year."
There have also been reports that contestants will be encouraged to perform their own original songs this year, while it has also been claimed that there will no longer be performance-only Saturday live shows, with contestants voted off on Saturdays AND Sundays, and that the number of live weekend shows look set to be cut from ten to six, though this has yet to be officially confirmed by ITV.
Will there be any guest judges?
Of course there will be, as there are every year. But which A-listers will Simon and his pals be signing up? And could Louis Tomlinson make a return after his performance of the series last year? We'll let you know as soon as we do.
There have been rumours that Simon may have convinced Cheryl to return as part of the Judges' Houses round of the competition, but this has so far been played down by ITV.
The X Factor host: Who is presenting this year?
Dermot O'Leary, of course! Remember when he took some time out in 2015, leaving the show in the hands of Olly Murs and Caroline Flack? Well, Simon has learnt his lesson and won't be repeating that mistake any time soon.
Explaining why he ever let Dermot go in the first place, Simon told The Mirror: "I think there was probably a misunderstanding. I thought he wanted to go and he probably thought I wanted him to leave. Neither of us, being stubborn, spoke to each other and then we realised that we miss him."
Last year, Dermot is understood to have signed a contract worth £8million to return to The X Factor. As part of the deal, he's required to stay on as presenter until at least 2019. Yay!
What about The Xtra Factor? Who's in charge of that?
Awkward question... After 12 great years, the Xtra Factor has been axed.
Sadly, this means Rylan Clark-Neal and Matt Edmondson are now out of a job.
However, ITV is launching a new digital series called Just Eat's Xtra Bites instead which will be hosted by Becca Dudley instead which will be hosted by Becca Dudley. She will also be the face of all X Factor social media platforms, including Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter.
Which categories do the judges have?
This won't be decided for sure until the show starts, but it will be announced before it's aired on TV.
The X Factor airs on ITV.
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