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The X Factor was nothing short of a cultural phenomenon when it launched in 2004 on ITV.

As well as giving the world some of the most popular artists of all time – such as One Direction and Little Mix – it was also known for its special mega-guest stars, comedic auditions and outrageous scraps.

ITV has now said there are “no plans” for another series of The X Factor. In the talent show’s honour, we’ve rounded up just some of its most memorable moments.


During the final in the 2008 series of the show, Beyoncé shocked viewers across the UK by turning up to sing a duet with contestant Alexandra Burke, who went on to win the show.

Starting to sing Listen from Dreamgirls, Burke went on to say: “Ladies and gentlemen, I absolutely cannot believe I’m about to introduce this woman to the stage. Please welcome, my hero Beyoncé.”

Burke told Beyoncé that she had made her “dreams come true” after their performance. The A-lister returned the praise, telling the judges: “She’s a superstar. Such a beautiful voice and such a beautiful young lady. I’m very, very happy to sing with you tonight.”

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Other guest stars throughout the years included Robbie Williams (who came in too early on his own track, Angels) joining Olly Murs. George Michael came on stage to join Joe McElderry, while Michael Bublé performed a duet with Stacey Solomon.

Rylan sobbing after being told he’s through to the live shows

It’s not only a highlight in The X Factor’s history – it’s probably one of the best moments we’ve seen on British television.

Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but Rylan crying in front of Nicole Scherzinger after being told he’ll be in the live shows is truly memorable.

Before he was known as one of the kings of light entertainment, Rylan Clark appeared on The X Factor in 2012, and was mentored by The Pussycat Dolls lead singer.

After being told he would be performing in the Saturday night live shows during the Judges’ Houses stage (read: plush hotel in Dubai) he launched into an uncontrollable crying fit.

He admits in his autobiography that it lasted 23 minutes, and that paramedics had to be called. That was after rubbing his face on the hotel’s $2,500 Versace cushions – whoops!

Clarke came a respectable fifth that year, with the crown going to James Arthur.

The “novelty” acts that managed to win over the British public

They were often relentlessly mocked, but sometimes the acts the judges hated were the ones we loved the most.

Yes, I’m talking about the likes of Jedward, Wagner and Honey G – who all went great guns in the live shows, despite judges often feeling like they shouldn’t.

Jedward (who have since turned on the show and celebrated its downfall) were the excitable teens with spiky hair who were mentored by fellow Irishman Louis Walsh.

Their well-produced, energetic performances often drew some pretty sharp criticism from the judges – but it didn’t seem to matter because they were fun. John and Edward came sixth in 2009, proving they won a sizeable fan base among the British public.

The pair went on to have a pop career AND represent Ireland at Eurovision… twice. They are now advocates for a number of good causes and both have modelling contracts.

Elsewhere, 2010’s Wagner is largely remembered for singing most of his songs while playing his bongo drums – and landed in sixth place thanks to public votes.

While Honey G from 2016 was largely branded as a novelty act (including by judge Nicole Scherzinger), she controversially rapped her way into fifth place.

But that support only went so far – she released a single called The Honey G Show on Simon Cowell’s record label, which only peaked at 149 in the charts.


Cousins and best friends Abbie and Lisa came together to perform as AbLisa (clever) and made it on to the arena auditions in 2010.

Things went south from almost the minute they stepped on stage though – calling Louis Walsh an “old man” and telling the audience to “shut up” when they began laughing at them.

They sang an out-of-time and out-of-key version of That’s My Goal – a song by former winner Shayne Ward – for the judges and the now hostile crowd.

Of course, the panel made their true thoughts known to the pair before Lisa asked Natalie Imbruglia: “Who are you?”

It got heated on stage, which culminated in Abbie punching Lisa and walking off stage.

The pair were kept apart backstage after their small tussle, with Dermot O’Leary telling Abbie: “You cannot strike people.”

Unsurprisingly, it was four noes – but their clip has been seen more than 130 million times on YouTube.

The auditions – especially the bad ones

It’s why most of us tuned in, right? To see some of the truly awful auditions that made the cut.

There are of course too many to remember, but among those that stick are the likes Ant and Seb giving us their best rendition of Mysterious Girl (“come on, move your body”) or Debbie Stevens who reacted to negative feedback by saying she wanted to slap Louis Walsh.

Other notable auditions that will stick in our heads for years to come include Holly, who became known as “cave mouth”; Kelly, whose family intervened after her multi-key performance of I Will Always Love You saw her rejected; and Onkar, who slammed to his knees at the culmination of his Earth Song rendition.

And who can forget Rachel Lester, who Simon Cowell said was his worst audition ever. She told judges “whatever song you want me to sing I’ll do it” – adding she was better than most big singers.

That’s a bold claim for someone that walked away with four noes after a pitchy (at best) performance of Sugar Walls by Sheena Easton. It then descended into chaos – and she used some fruity language to tell the judges what she really thought of them before security dragged her out.

ONLY THE YOUNG!, Lee Nelson’s stage invasion and JLS’ meme-worthy “Merry Christmas!”

Even the tightly produced live shows gave us some unexpected moments.

It might be niche, but the holler of “ONLY THE YOUNG” from the crowd every week in 2014 got the nation talking.

Like clockwork, the group’s biggest fan would scream the band’s name during the elimination section of the show every week.

The stunt prompted articles, radio discussions and copycats at other events.

Lee Nelson made The X Factor his victim in 2014 – by jumping on stage to perform You Are Not Alone with Stereo Kicks.

The comic appeared next to the lads and tried to fit in before security grabbed him.

Both Cowell and Walsh were frantically waving their arms to try and force Nelson off the stage.

And what about the over-enthusiastic “Merry Christmas” from JLS’s JB during their Last Christmas performance in 2008?

Seemingly innocuous, it went on to inspire memes that are still used today – including on TikTok.

It also made Harry Hill’s TV Burp – with the comic relentlessly mocking the moment.

And finally… the judges

The shows revolving door of judges gave viewers some of the best moments in The X Factor’s history.

Among some of the best moments is Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne having to be told off by gaffer Simon Cowell one year for bursting into uncontrollable laughter after a particularly bad audition.

They were sent into the corridor to go and chill out – but matters were made worse when Osbourne walked into a door – setting the pair off yet again.

And in 2012, Gary Barlow and Tulisa came to blows – when the Take That star responded to criticism from the N-Dubz singer by saying: “I don’t know what offends me more, those comments or that fag ash breath.”

Barlow later apologised for his comments, but Tulisa quickly retorted with: “Just a note for Gary – lay off the red wine, coz’ I can really smell that as well.”

The X Factor, we will miss you.

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Rishi Sunak to pitch himself as prime minister to ‘fundamentally change the country’




Rishi Sunak to pitch himself as prime minister to 'fundamentally change the country'

Rishi Sunak will try to convince the public he is the person to “fundamentally change the country” and fix Westminster’s “broken system” – despite the fact his party has been in government for 13 years.

In his speech to the Tory Party conference, the prime minister will present himself as a reformer who is prepared to take difficult decisions, unlike opponents, who take “the easy decision, not the right one”.

Mr Sunak will tell the conference hall that politics “doesn’t work the way it should” and that his Labour opponent, Sir Keir Starmer, is “betting on voters’ apathy.”

The speech will round off what has been a chaotic four days at the party’s annual conference in Manchester – an event that has been overshadowed by the announcement that the northern leg of HS2 will not go ahead as originally envisioned.

Instead, services will run between Birmingham and Manchester but they will not be high speed and they will use the existing West Coast Mainline track.

The development prompted Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham to accuse the government of treating people in the north as “second-class citizens”.

Election would be ‘massive distraction’ – Tory conference latest

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He warned the government: “To pull that plug here in Manchester would show complete contempt to the city region and to the north of England as a whole.”

The Tory mayor for the West Midlands, Andy Street, also warned it would be “an incredible political gaffe” allowing opponents to accuse Mr Sunak of having decided to “shaft the north”.

In his speech, Mr Sunak will rail against “30 years of a political system which incentivises the easy decision, not the right one – 30 years of vested interests standing in the way of change”.

He will reflect on his first year in Number 10 and acknowledge a “feeling that Westminster is a broken system”.

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No high speed link north of Birmingham

“It isn’t anger, it is an exhaustion with politics,” he will say.

“In particular, politicians saying things, and then nothing ever changing.

“And you know what? People are right. Politics doesn’t work the way it should.”

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Sunak: ‘No one wants an election’

Poll shows most voters think Sunak is doing a bad job

A new poll of 1,000 people from Ipsos UK suggests most voters think Rishi Sunak is doing a bad job when it comes to hitting his goals.

On inflation, 57% said Mr Sunak was doing a bad job, up from 55% in May.

Some 54% said he was doing a bad job on growing the economy, up from 50% in May.

And 54% of people said he was doing a bad job on reducing national debt – up from 49%.

On cutting NHS waiting lists, dissatisfaction sits at 71%, compared to 62% in May.

On ‘stopping the boats’, two-thirds of people said he was doing a bad job.

The poll was carried out just before the Conservative party conference.

And he will say: “Politicians spent more time campaigning for change than actually delivering it.

“Our mission is to fundamentally change our country.”

Read more:
Sunak to announce £30bn of transport spending in conference speech
Braverman says Andrew Boff should be allowed back into conference

As well as the HS2 announcement, Mr Sunak has also been undermined by his predecessor Liz Truss, who drew big conference crowds as she demanded immediate tax cuts to “make Britain grow again”.

Mr Sunak has instead compared himself to the late Baroness Thatcher, who tackled inflation before cutting taxes during her premiership between 1979 and 1990.

While Mr Sunak has repeatedly sought to dodge questions over HS2, he did say on Tuesday that the costs of the project had gone “far beyond” what had been predicted, and the sums involved were “enormous”.

The HS2 scheme was given a budget of £55.7bn in 2015 but costs have ballooned, with an estimate of up to £98bn – in 2019 prices – in 2020.

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HS2 won’t be high speed between Manchester and Birmingham




HS2 won't be high speed between Manchester and Birmingham

HS2 will start at Euston rather than Old Oak Common – but between Birmingham and Manchester it will not be high speed, Sky News understands.

The rail line will stop in Manchester, but from Birmingham it will switch to use existing West Coast Mainline track.

It will therefore not be high speed after Birmingham – effectively confirming days of speculation that the northern leg of the controversial project has been shelved.

Alongside the doubt over Manchester, there have also been question marks over Euston station and whether the line would terminate there as originally planned.

There had been rumours that it could stop at Old Oak Common instead, but Sky News understands the rail line will stop at Euston in a move that could be designed to placate critics.

Conservative member ejected during Suella Braverman speech – Tory conference latest

The development, broken on the Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge programme, follows repeated attempts by Rishi Sunak and other members of the Cabinet to bat away questions regarding the future of the northern leg of the project.

The government initially tried to downplay the original reports, saying they were “incorrect” and that no “final decisions” had been made regarding the northern leg, known as phase two.

But despite their attempts, questions over HS2 have dominated Mr Sunak’s first party conference as leader and prime minister.

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The northern leg of HS2 between Birmingham and Manchester is to be scrapped, Sky News understands.

Speaking at event near the conference venue, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham immediately hit out at the plans, saying: “If media reports are to be believed tonight, HS2 will leave central London, it will go to the Home Counties and the Chilterns underground, and it will get to Birmingham and then it will go onto traditional tracks.”

He said 40 businesses had written to prime minister tonight to urge him not to pull the plug.

“If you think about that for a moment, you know that will be a permanent statement for people in the north of England that they are second class citizens when it comes to transport infrastructure,” he added.

“It beggars belief in some ways that they are going to do this, they are going to pull the plug on that infrastructure that would pave the way for that new east-west line across the north, promised in not one, not two, but three Conservative manifestos.

“But to pull that plug here in Manchester would show complete contempt to the city region and to the north of England as a whole.”

Mr Burnham told the audience: “We say to them tonight: it isn’t too late from our point of view, you could invite us in.

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Osborne: ‘Tragedy to shelve HS2’

“Do not pull the plug on this city while you are in this city.

“If you do do those things, people here will never forget.”

The first indications that the leg to Manchester could be scrapped came after it was reported last month ministers were considering shelving the northern phase because of concerns about spiralling costs and severe delays.

According to The Independent, a cost estimate revealed that the government has already spent £2.3bn on stage two of the railway from Birmingham to Manchester, but that ditching the northern phase could save up to £34bn.

The reports immediately drew criticism from across the political divide, including from former Conservative prime ministers Boris Johnson and Theresa May.

Speaking on the Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge, Science and Technology Secretary Michell Donelan said the latest reports were “still speculation”.

“I know, having worked around the cabinet table with the prime minister, that he is somebody who is very thorough when it comes to the detail,” she said.

“So I’m going to give him the time and wait and see what he says tomorrow.”

Read more:
What’s next for transport in the north after HS2 cut?
The HS2 revelation could not be more disruptive for Rishi Sunak

Asked why the government was not confirming what is happening on HS2, Ms Donelan said ministers wanted to “get it right” on the project.

“If I was the prime minister, I’d be doing exactly what he’s doing,” she said.

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VAR audio of Liverpool’s wrongly disallowed goal in Spurs defeat released




VAR audio of Liverpool's wrongly disallowed goal in Spurs defeat released

The full transcript from the VAR audio

VAR: Possible offside, Diaz.

Assistant referee 2: Give it.

Assistant referee 1: Coming back for the offside, mate.

VAR: Just checking the offside. Delay, delay. Give the kick point, let’s go. Kick point please?

Referee: Yeah, no worries mate.

Replay operator: So, here we are. Just get a tight angle.

VAR: Yeah, give me 2D line ready after this one for frame two after that.

Replay operator: So frame two there?

VAR: That’s fine. Perfect, yeah. 2D line on the left boot.

Replay operator: Let me just switch angles.

VAR: Romero, I think it is?

Replay operator: I think it might be this angle better? Happy with this angle?

VAR: Yep.

Replay operator: 2D line on the boot?

VAR: 2D line on the boot.

Replay operator: Yeah, okay. So 2D line on the boot.

VAR: And stop. Check complete, check complete. That’s fine, perfect.

Assistant referee 1: Playing.

Referee: Cheers mate.

VAR: Thank you mate.

Referee: Well done boys, good process.

Replay operator: Wait, wait, wait, wait. The on-field decision was offside. Are you happy with this?

Assistant VAR: Yeah.

Replay operator: Are you happy with this?

Assistant VAR: Offside, goal, yeah. That’s wrong that, Daz.

VAR: What?

Replay operator: On-field decision was offside. Are you happy with this image? Yeah, it’s onside. The image that we gave them is onside.

Assistant VAR: He’s played him, he’s gone offside.

VAR: Oh *expletive*

Replay operator: Delay, delay. Oli’s (PGMOL Hub Ops) saying to delay, Oli’s saying to delay.

VAR: Pardon?

Replay operator: Oli’s calling in to say delay the game. The decision is onside.

VAR: Can’t do anything.

Replay operator: Oli’s saying to delay, Oli’s saying to delay.

VAR: Oli?

Fourth official: Yeah?

Replay operator: Delay the game, to delay the game? Stop the game.

VAR: They’ve restarted the game. Can’t do anything, can’t do anything.

Assistant VAR: Yeah, they’ve restarted. Yeah.

VAR: I can’t do anything. I can’t do anything. *expletive*

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