X Factor 3 Four Chair Challenge Begins Next Week

Those of you following X Factor 3 spoilers are aware that Boot Camp and Judges Houses rounds were  done away with this season, replaced with a four-part round that had a Top 40 performing for the judges in front of a live audience.

Contestants were sent to Boot Camp, only to be called to the stage after a long wait to be told whether they made the final cut or not. Nobody had the opportunity to sing! Simon told Ryan Seacrest yesterday that the new format was taken from a Dutch version of the show.

The new format is explained below, and sounds similar to what American Idol did with their middle rounds last season, only with a cruel twist added to the mix.

The FOX press release below also outlines the schedule through to the live shows.




Top 16 Acts Revealed Thursday, October 10 

First LIVE Show Airs Tuesday, October 29

When THE X FACTOR’s nationwide auditions come to a close tonight (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and Thursday, Sept. 26 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT), the judges – Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio – must choose the Top 40 acts. After deliberations in Los Angeles, only 10 acts from each category – Boys, Girls, Over 25s and Groups – will be selected to move forward in the competition, and the category assignments will be revealed to the judges.

Starting on Wednesday, Oct. 2 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), THE X FACTOR enters unchartered territory with an all-new ultimate showdown – The Four Chair Challenge.  As the Top 40 acts perform in front of a passionate and vocal audience of thousands, each judge must choose just four acts that they will take with them into the live shows. The tension escalates as the judges make their toughest cuts – and the crowd fights back!

“This is a brand new section of the show and we had no idea what to expect when we filmed it,” said judge Simon Cowell, “but it became obvious very quickly that it really raises the stakes – for the contestants, for the judges – and especially for the audience. It’s a cross between Musical Chairs…and a Roman Coliseum. At one point, the audience totally disagreed with the judges and was so out of control we actually had to stop filming. What happened next was extraordinary. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.”

In the Four Chair Challenge, contestants who impress the judges will be given a chair on the new “X”-shaped stage, and the others will be sent home. But just because they get a chair, it doesn’t mean they are safe. Each judge has the choice to replace one of his/her already seated acts with a new act, or send that act straight home, upping the emotion and drama to new heights.

Taped in front of a live audience at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, the Four Chair Challenge round continues Thursday, Oct. 3 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) and Wednesday, Oct. 9 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), concluding Thursday, Oct. 10 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT), when only the Top 16 acts will remain. Then, on the season’s first LIVE show, airing on a special night, Tuesday, Oct. 29 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), the Top 16 will perform. Additional details, including the rollout of the live shows, to be announced.

Track the progress of each act in the competition at www.thexfactorusa.com/contestants.


(All THE X FACTOR episodes begin at 8:00 PM ET/PT unless otherwise noted)

Thursday, Sept. 26                 Judges’ Deliberations – Top 40 Revealed
Wednesday, Oct. 2                 Four Chair Challenge, Part 1
Thursday, Oct. 3                     Four Chair Challenge, Part 2
Wednesday, Oct. 9                 Four Chair Challenge, Part 3
Thursday, Oct. 10                   Four Chair Challenge, Part 4
Tuesday, Oct. 29                    FIRST LIVE SHOW – Top 16 Acts Perform

“The X Factor” format has created more global superstars, including One Direction, Leona Lewis, Little Mix, Cher Lloyd and Olly Murs, than any other singing competition television show. THE X FACTOR is now aired in 205 countries, and local versions of “The X Factor” are now commissioned in 45 territories.

THE X FACTOR was created by Syco Entertainment and is produced by Syco Entertainment and FremantleMedia North America. Rob Wade and Nigel Hall are executive producers for Syco Television. Trish Kinane, Richard Holloway and Andrew Llinares serve as executive producers for FremantleMedia North America. “Like” THE X FACTOR on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheXFactorUSA. Follow the series on Twitter @TheXFactorUSA and join the discussion using #xfactor. Download The Xtra Factor App at www.TheXFactorUSA.com/mobileapps.

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  • Listening

    They’re definitely gonna get comparisons to The Voice b/c of turning chairs. I was even gonna say it myself b/c I wasn’t buying this Dutch thing but once he explained it seems different and suspenseful.

    I’m not sure if I understand everything clearly though. I’m guessing the Judges know which category they get from the start. But then i’m not sure if all four judges need to turn for someone to get a chair or just the judge in charge of that category can anyone clarify for me?. Also do they only get to replace ONE contestant or can they replace as many contestants throughout the process?

    This seems to give the judges so much individual power at the beginning it’s not a democracy anymore where majority rules.

  • Kesia Monteith

    There is no turning of chairs as there is just switching contestants between chairs, and I think only the judge of the category picks the contestants.

  • Mateja Praznik

    Yes, the judges are assigned their categories before bootcamp. The round is filmed separately for each category. Each judge has 4 spots in the live shows and the 4 chairs are those spots.

    Contestant performs and all 4 judges give their opinions, but then the mentor decides whether to allow the singer to take a chair or let them go. Once all 4 chairs are filled, the mentor can replace one of the 4 singers with another one.

    X Factor UK is doing the same twist this year, except that they have 6 chairs per category and then judges’ houses. Only 3 acts per category ultimately reach the live shows.

    Here is the trailer, looks exciting:


  • fuzzywuzzy

    Sounds like more torturing of the contestants. Typical Simon.

  • Listening

    Ok thanks for the bit of clarification guys.

    Hmm so there’s a bit of a hold over process they can’t just send everyone home so that they have people left as possible replacements.

    This is truly pressure packed b/c you don’t get multiple opportunities to have a good impression.

  • Listening

    Oh but doesn’t this make it more likely to miss out on great talent say you see them near the end but you already got caught up in the first batch of people you see and you already got your seats filled. Yeah you could get one replacement in there but what if there’s two or more people better than the people already in the seats.

    I would of preferred the judges to have the ability to replace more then just one contestant.

  • http://www.randrambles.com Rand

    I thought it was gonna sound too close to The Voice until I realized the four chairs are for the contestants. Phew. Cruel… should make for good TV.

  • ellen8

    Guess I’ll have to see it to understand it. They choose 10 for each category then 4 ?? And the “chairs” are for the 4 they choose I guess.

  • Ari

    Is the X Factor still on? I don’t think anyone cares. Compared to the Voice it now looks like a cable access show. No one cares about no boot camp or an X shaped stage;that won’t get any eyeballs. Always ironic when they claim XF has creates global superstars & all are from the UK show. 60 percent of the ones mentioned didn’t even win. No mention of the winners’ witness protection plans, no ratings bragging, no the shows failed so no more $5 mill prize, no Noone knows who Rubio is or can understand her

  • Ari

    The whole thing has already been about eexploiting contestants for ratings

  • carola99

    I am actually excited about this change. It will definitely make good TV.

    Seems people have given up on this show, but they have some pretty awesome contestants this year, so here´s hoping it bounces back.
    The new panel has been fun!

  • hcpoirot

    It quite simple.

    Each judges will had 10 acts. then they can pick who they want in their top 4.

    But even if the judge had 4 act fill but they still let say had 2 more singers to perform and those 2 singers sing amazing, the judge can kick out 2 singers that already in top 4 and replace them.

    Yes, it suspenseful and maybe will get more viewers. But in other side, its cruel.

    The producer will 100% put their best act singing last, so 2-3 singers who filled the chair first ,will 100$ be replace and sent home cruelly.

    Expect lots of drama, tears and tantrum.

    Viewers who had experience watching singing competition already know before the top 40 sings, the producer already know at least who they want in top 12 even before the singing begin. Just look at the singers who had tons of camera time and sob stories. They will be the producer first pick into the final. No matter if they forget the lyrics or sing badly.

    Basically 28 other singers had to fight for the remaining 4 chair left.

  • Guest

    No mention of the winners’ witness protection plans

    OMG. I’m done hahahah

  • Beaugard Stevens

    This does not seem to make the show any better, it’s just being mean to the contestants, filling some of them with false hope and then taking their chance away.

  • b_james

    I know the ratings are crap, but I actually really enjoy this show. It’s fake and campy, but I kind of like that. And this round sounds pretty entertaining. (Still nowhere near the enjoyment of Idol though. And The Voice is just blah to me…never been able to figure out why.)

  • Erlie

    There will be lots of crying for sure and I’ll be sad for them too if that happen. But, contestant must stay strong or they might be perceived as “weak”. Perhaps they should sing “I’m A Survivor” to themselves to keep their sanity? Simon is full of drama to keep his show afloat. But, will it?

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    My Bat Sense says this segment of the show will involve the “shocking” elimination of at least one of the contestants who turned out to be a lot more experienced than his/her official introduction on the show revealed.

  • Jason Gorny

    this should be an improvement compared to last year. last year’s bootcamp was a dud/pointless.

  • T Fan

    It’s amazing that people still think X-Factor is doing “lousy” because it’s not as popular as Idol or The Voice. It’s still very popular.

    The TV ratings for season 3 Audition Rounds were around 6.8 million viewers per show. That placed it at, or near, the top of the TV ratings in both its time slot & the night.

    & this new middle round might even add a few more eye balls since people tend to love brutal, bloody, gladiator type battles.

    It’s doing good on it’s own. It just suffers when compared to the popularity of Idol or The Voice. For example, the 1st week of the Audition Rounds for The Voice had over twice as many viewers as X-Factor’s Audition Rounds.

    But, then again X-Factor is said to be the MOST PROFITABLE of all similar talent shows. So, I’m sure Simon & FOX can live with that.

  • Moclon


    It’s like, I know it’s a crappy show and it’s fake, the contestants don’t have as much talent as in other talent shows, the winners are always, ironically, the eventual losers outside of the competition and it’s generally unfair and it’s more of a torture and not a singing competition.

    But I like it.

    And this four seat challenge is going to be really fun. I don’t know, maybe I’m sadistic, but watching hopeful acts get eliminated and then sob is very entertaining!
    But dear god if Alex&Sierra/Lilie McLoud get eliminated I will break my TV.

  • Moclon

    Yet, Simon said Season 4 is unlikely.

  • T Fan

    That sounds like “hollywood speak” for more $$$$.

  • Moclon

    I don’t see how telling people XF4 wont happen generates more money.

  • T Fan

    The money is for Simon. & using tentative language about future deals, is a tried & true technique (especially in showbiz) for not revealing, in the public arena, your game plan for private negotiations.

    If FOX wants Simon & his show back, he intents to fetch a good price from them by not committing to anything publicly.

    It’s certainly what I would do. & I can’t imagine any agent or manager advising their client otherwise. Could you?