Has Simon Cowell finally worked out how to breathe some life into the show? Now's Lauren Franklin thinks so...

I love The X Factor – and not just because my job would be unbearable for six months of the year otherwise.

Sure, the show will always have its naysayers, but love it or loathe it, you can’t deny that when the formula is right, it has an extraordinary amount of cultural relevance.

In recent years the judging panel line-up just hasn’t been right, despite major and diverse names being pulled in.

Gary Barlow had about as much charm as a cantankerous dad after a long day at work, hunched over in his seat, making the odd bitchy remark and at a strain saying something supportive or constructive. Worse still, he had no eye for what makes a strong popstar with staying power.

While Tulisa definitely had her finger on the pulse enough to see that Little Mix had the potential to be huge, there was something that failed to connect with viewers.

We’ve had Kelly Rowland and Nicole Scherzinger who were just a bit weird, last year Cheryl’s return was an anti-climax and Mel B began strong then lost steam towards the end of the series.

What The X Factor needs in a judge is someone with the charisma to keep audiences from switching to Strictly and the knowledge of the music industry to pick contestants with enough star power to be popstars who carry some real clout.


This week Grimmy has been annonced as is the man who Simon Cowell has lined up for a seat on the panel  replacing Louis Walsh and joining Rita Ora and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.

‘I love X Factor and have watched the series religiously since it started, so obviously I’m hugely excited to be joining the show,’ Grimmy said when the news broke on Tuesday morning.

‘Music is my job and my passion and I’m really looking forward to seeing what talent we can find and nurture this year. I can’t wait for judges’ houses in Oldham!’

‘He feels fresher and more relevant than some of the previous judges,’ a source also said.

I agree. As the host of Radio 1’s Breakfast Show, the 30-year-old is at the forefront of pop culture and knows exactly what the record buying public are inspired and excited by.

He knows what makes a good popstar too – something that past judges and audiences can sometimes fail to grasp.

Being able to sing isn’t enough if you want to be a popstar who is relevant and exciting. You need style, edge and an indefinable charm. You need to be accessible but other-worldly at the same time.

While people may like the idea of the nice lady from across the road that can belt out ballads winning a huge record contract, or a shy boy who wears a suit and does Mariah Carey covers being the most popular person in the country, records they do not sell. And time, sales and terminated contracts prove this.

When it comes to getting your song played, the Radio 1 playlist is the most competitive and cutthroat battlefield out there for artists. Just ask Cheryl – her recent offerings have failed to make the grade and therefore the charts.

If he can bring this ruthless attitude and eye for star quality to the show then surely it would be impossible not to find a fresh batch of worthy popstars?

Coupled with this is the fact that Grimmy is actually really, really good at what he does. His breakfast show is hilarious, he’s creative, unique, and audiences love him – as the ratings prove. Many have been Twitter blasting him taking a judging spot, but I can only suggest giving him a listen to in the morning. He’s responsible for making me an almost tolerable human before midday.

That kind of persona is exactly what the X Factor needs. I’m bored of seeing out of touch judges who spend Saturday nights behaving like they’ve been made to sit in a ditch, not on the panel of one of the world’s biggest shows.

Lauren Franklin