Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dermot O'Leary's leaving X Factor and Simon Cowell may also be heading for the exit after this season's final show

By Lara Gould

I quit: X Factor presenter Dermot O'Leary is leaving the hit ITV show and comedian James Corden is being lined up to replace him

Dermot O’Leary is quitting The X Factor – and Simon Cowell is also expected to make his final appearance on the programme tonight.

O’Leary is hoping to land the same role as host of the show on the upcoming X Factor USA. He is likely to be replaced on the British version by comedy star James Corden.

In a major shake-up of the programme, Cowell is unlikely to appear on both shows and will instead concentrate on launching the American version next year.

O’Leary, 37, has been heavily tipped to land the coveted role hosting X Factor USA, a move that would see him become a household name in America.

He has hosted the British show for four years, but if he is not given the US role he has told friends that he will interpret that as a sign that his time on the series is over, and that he will look at other opportunities.

Gavin & Stacey star Corden, 31, who worked with Cowell on World Cup record Shout For England last summer, is being lined up as his replacement.

All change: O'Leary, pictured with Cher Lloyd - voted off last night - and Cheryl Cole has presented the show for four years

Corden has regularly been seen at the Fountain Studios in Wembley, North-West London, where The X Factor is filmed, since the live rounds began in October. He sent the finalists good luck messages last night.

Cowell, 51, is also tipped to bow out on a high after tonight’s nail-biting finale, which is expected to be watched by a peak audience of 20 million viewers.

Yesterday he dropped the biggest hint yet that he would leave the ITV1 series, which has helped turn him into a global star, to work full-time on the American version.

Waving goodbye? Tonight's final could be the last appearance for judges Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole

Asked about changes to The X Factor in 2011, he said: ‘Something’s going to happen in the next three or four months that’s going to alter my decision next year.

‘I have actually enjoyed doing this series more than any other because it’s been controversial, and that stops it being boring.

‘As soon as you get bored, the audience get bored and there’s no show. Simple as that.’

On Thursday, the multi-millionaire mogul refused to confirm whether he would return to the hit series. At a Press conference for the finalists in London he would only say: ‘It (the show) will be back.’

The last show together? This could be the last final the current judging panel work on together

Cowell has revealed his plans to a handful of senior staff on The X Factor, many of whom he is taking with him to work on the new US show. Seeming to confirm the move, a close confidante added: ‘Simon is not coming back next year.

‘Dannii Minogue and Louis Walsh will return, so the viewers will have a sense of continuity, but Simon’s not going to be on the show.’

It’s not clear whether the fourth judge, Cheryl Cole, 27 – who is understood to have been offered a role on X Factor USA – will return to work on both programmes concurrently.

Staying put: Louis Walsh and Dannii Minogue will continue to judge X Factor UK

Last night, tensions were mounting as the finalists geared up for a gruelling two-night final. One act was being sent home at the end of last night’s show and tonight the three remaining hopefuls will go head-to-head.

They will perform one solo song and their ‘winner’s single’ – the song they will release if they win the series.

Voting lines opened after contestants from the series began a two-hour spectacular by performing Irene Cara’s What A Feeling from the film Flashdance.

The last four contestants – Matt Cardle, Cher Lloyd, Rebecca Ferguson and boy band One Direction – were then due to perform a song before being joined by a guest star.

Nerves were already beginning to fray on Friday as 17-year-old Cher lashed out at staff asking her to pre-record a video link with her mentor Cheryl Cole.

Struggle: Matt Cardle's voice was strained as he performed a duet with Rihanna

She said: ‘I can’t wait until Monday when all this is over. I feel like a puppet – I can’t even eat my lunch in peace. I haven’t eaten all day.’

Production staff were also on edge ahead of the carefully stage-managed production set to feature duets with worldwide stars Christina Aguilera, Black Eyed Peas’ singer and Rihanna, while Robbie Williams was due to join One Direction.

Painter and decorator Matt Cardle, 27, who has been battling a throat infection, had to halt his rehearsals four times and was visibly upset as he struggled to reach high notes on his song.

He was spotted backstage wearing a sign which read: ‘Kiss me. I’m resting my voice.’

Meanwhile, several other acts who left earlier in the series failed to show for the dress rehearsal, including single mother Chloe Mafia – real name Chloe Heald – the 19-year-old exposed as a prostitute when she was a contestant at bootcamp.

Controversial: Chloe Mafia - exposed as a prostitute during the bootcamp stage of the show - arrived late for rehearsals yesterday

Despite the controversy surrounding her involvement in the show, Miss Heald was due to perform Lady GaGa’s Bad Romance along with other acts from earlier in the series.

It was due to peak with Miss Heald being ‘flown’ on set suspended from wires, but a production assistant wearing her name badge was forced to stand in when she failed to arrive for the run-through.

Two other acts notable by their absence were Gamu Nhengu, the 18-year-old Zimbabwean controversially sent home by her mentor Cheryl Cole amid questions about her visa status, and Shirlena Johnson, 30, who was axed after fears about her mental health.

A production worker was overheard admitting that Shirlena, from East London, was ‘not expected back’.

...and Christina Aguilera puts on her diva act

Christina Aguilera lived up to her reputation as a diva ahead of last night’s show by refusing to speak to any of the finalists – including Rebecca Ferguson, her duet partner.

An X Factor insider who witnessed the rehearsals said: ‘Christina was being a diva. She folded her arms on stage, didn’t talk to Rebecca and then walked straight off afterwards.’

All for the cameras? Christina Aguilera reportedly would not speak to any of the finalists including duet partner Rebecca Ferguson

Raunchy: The singer's performance was racy and burlesque-themed

The American singer – who is notorious for such outlandish requests as vitamin C tablets in the shape of Flintstone characters – had already demanded a closed set to rehearse her UK hit Beautiful with single mother Rebecca, 24. Only essential staff were allowed to stay.

After running through the song Ms Aguilera, 29, walked off without acknowledging Liverpudlian Rebecca, and retreated to her dressing room, leaving a phalanx of security staff outside the door.

All smiles: Robbie Williams appeared to relish his time onstage with One Direction

Ms Aguilera also demanded her own hairdresser, make-up artist and nail technician. They were told to wait outside and called in one at a time as required. An X Factor spokesman refused to comment on Ms Aguilera’s behaviour.

In contrast, Robbie Williams was all smiles as he arrived to sing She’s The One with One Direction. Fans of the band were hoping Robbie didn’t fluff his lines as he did while partnering Olly Murs last year.

Meanwhile Mary Byrne, the Tesco worker who was ejected last week, also stormed out prior to her cameo in the finals. She claimed that she was unwell.


No comments:

Post a Comment