The X Factor 3 – Introducing the 4 Chair Challenge VIDEO

I just finished watching a 20 minute preview of The X Factor 4 Chair Challenge. The new format twist, taken from the Dutch version of the show, proved to be controversial when it debuted on the UK version over the weekend.

And it’s no wonder. In typical Simon Cowell fashion, young singers are made to perform for their lives in front of the judges panel. After, their mentor–the preview focused on the Paulina Rubio-helmed boys category–decides whether the hopeful is worthy to continue in the competition. If so, the performer takes one of 4 seats on stage.

The catch is, if the chairs fill up, hopefuls can lose their spot if another of the 10 singers vying for a chance to compete in the live shows as part of the Top 16, manages to impress their mentor.

And of course, the chairs fill up quickly to leave room for plenty of drama.

You would think Simon had learned his lesson when pundits and viewers balked at the sight of emotionally brutalized teenagers breaking down on stage (See: Beatrice Miller, Rachel Crow). But no. Simon not only goes back to draw from that well, he ups the ante.

Host Mario Lopez explains how the challenge works here:

Tim Olstad Fights For a Spot in the Boys Category

What you didn’t see was Tim crooning his little heart out on “The Climb”. The clip picks up with Tim reduced to begging his mentor, Paulina Rubio, for a spot. He was only mediocre. Still, she decides to keep him. But, with all four chairs filled, she’s got to switch another hopeful out to make room. If you want to find out who the casualty is, read the spoilers.

The result is pretty brutal. There’s crying. Devastated friends and family in the audience. Non stop hysterics. But the twist doesn’t stop there. Later, Paulina tries to switch out Tim for someone else. After the audience boos and screams and generally loses their collective minds (I suspect prompted by producers)…well, again, I won’t spoil it.

Primrose Martin Begs Demi Lovato for a Spot

In this next clip, Primose Martin BEGS Demi Lovato to give her a seat on stage. You’ll have to wait to the episode airs, or check out our spoilers.

The four-chair challenge will last two weeks before a 1 week baseball related hiatus. Sir Mac will be live blogging X Factor tonight beginning at 8/7c pm.

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mj santilli

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Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted.I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!
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  • Jon Glass

    As a fan of the show, and wanting it to be successful, I think they made a bad decision using this round, and they sent all the good talent home. They have WAY too many young kids. I think it’s ridiculous. They needed to keep Brandie Love

  • carola99

    I know it´s brutal but it makes great TV.
    I just hope my favorites are put through to the live rounds….
    Can´t wait for tonight! Exciting. But I really feel for the younger kids.. Man..

  • Derrick Johnson

    I think they have the right chemistry with the judges this season and i think that it will make good T.V. and it could help the ratings so i am all for the 4 Chair Challenge

  • sporkle

    IMHO This seems so needlessly brutal, and undermines any remaining pretense of fairness. Personally I’m not comfortable seeing people’s emotions and hopes being toyed with for no good reason, especially by the likes of simon cowell. I’m cringing already …

  • fuzzywuzzy

    This fits with Simon’s sadistic streak.

  • Lielle Hart

    I laughed when I saw Simon grinning maniacally in those videos.

  • Caio Fernandes

    Maybe they gonna kill contestants next season (judges will use a rifle to eliminate the contestants on a new twist on the sudden death roundes), if the show survives to another one.

  • Wally.

    I think this looks really good. Looking forward to it

  • Jason Gorny

    IKR. Oh Simon…