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Original judge Simon Cowell, joined by three new judges Williams, his wife Ayda Field and One Direction band member Louis Tomlinson, opened the series by dishing unusually nice feedback to the hopeful singing contestants.
Instead of the blunt and oftentimes brutal verdicts the series judges are renowned for, Cowell along with the new judges gave a multitude of hugs and compliments to the contestants.
— The X Factor (@TheXFactor) September 1, 2018
But perhaps no segment was criticised more than the final, which saw Williams join his own superfan Andy Hofton onstage for a rendition of Williams 1997 mega-hit ‘Angels.’
In what was an obvious setup, the pair hugged several times, and Hofton received four yeses to go to the next round – despite his singing abilities being more than a little questionable.
But many viewers weren’t fooled by the closing audition, with some venting on Twitter about the ‘cringe’ scene and Williams ‘making it all about him’:
— Sam Martin 💕 (@Socially_Sam) September 1, 2018
This was inevitable. Williams can’t help making it all about him. @TheXFactor
— PF (@PeterFearns) September 1, 2018
Is Robbie going to song every week? Does he know they’re supposed to be finding new singers? #xfactor
— Roz Laws (@rozlaws) September 1, 2018
— Joanne (@JoanneJorobs) September 1, 2018
— Kay Lou Pugh (@kay_lou_pugh) September 1, 2018
X FACTOR what a farce, more like the Robbie Williams show .
— Ron white (@rongooner54) September 1, 2018
— Serena (@luv2chat2ya) September 1, 2018
Though of course not all viewers were completely against the duet, with some praising Williams, including ‘making that chap’s life’:
This might just be the highlight of this man's life! Good man Robbie #XFactor
— Rebekka-Mary Darling (@RebekkaMary) September 1, 2018
The X Factor continues Sunday at 8pm.