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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 ‘made calculation he doesn’t need Muslim voters’, claims Tory MP Rehman Chishti




Rishi Sunak 'made calculation he doesn't need Muslim voters', claims Tory MP Rehman Chishti

Rishi Sunak has “made the calculation” that he doesn’t need Muslim voters for his “political purposes”, a former minister has claimed.

Tory MP Rehman Chishti told Sky News’ Politics Hub With Sophy Ridge that during the last leadership election, Mr Sunak promised he was “committed” to engaging with the community and told him: “We will work together on this if I become prime minister”.

But Mr Chishti said he had “not seen the prime minister for over a year and a half”.

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The former foreign minister – who once put himself forward for the Conservative Party leadership – also criticised Mr Sunak for failing to appoint an independent adviser on Islamophobia, which both David Cameron and Theresa May did while in office.

Pointing to statistics from the Tell MAMA organisation, Mr Chishti said there had been over 2,000 incidents of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the past four months since the Israel-Hamas war began.

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“I’ve said to the prime minister, look, let’s treat all faith communities fairly and equally,” he told Sophy Ridge.

“So with regards to the Jewish community, antisemitism has seen a real unacceptable rise and therefore the government has rightly put forward the resources [and] it has an independent adviser to deal with antisemitism.

“However, with regards to the Muslim community… the prime minister has failed to appoint an independent adviser on Islamophobia for the last 16 months and there’s been no funding… for that.

“And then you look at the prime minister’s statement [on Sunday], when he talks about intolerance and hate in politics, and he makes it very clear the government is committed to dealing with that and he says dealing with anti-Semitism. Absolutely.

“But there’s no mention in that statement yesterday about tackling anti-Muslim hate.”

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Mr Chishti added: “I think maybe the prime minister has made the calculation, you know, he doesn’t want to engage with the Muslim community because he doesn’t need that for his political purposes.”

Sky News has contacted Number 10 for a response.

Mr Chishti’s remarks come amid an ongoing row within the Tory ranks over the suspension of former deputy chair, Lee Anderson, after he refused to apologise for claiming “Islamists” had taken “control” over London and that mayor Sadiq Khan had “given our capital city away to his mates”.

While Mr Sunak called the remarks unacceptable and “wrong”, he declined to call them Islamophobic.

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PM: Anderson comments ‘ill-judged’

Some Conservatives have called for Mr Anderson to be reinstated, while others want the government to go further in their condemnation of the Ashfield MP.

Mr Chishti said Mr Anderson’s comments were “completely and utterly unacceptable” and a “lazy use of language”.

But he would not say if the remarks were racist, and said it was another justification for having an independent adviser who could make a ruling without political influence.

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Dramatic bodycam video: Two rescued after suspected arson attack in Birmingham




Dramatic bodycam video: Two rescued after suspected arson attack in Birmingham

Two people have been rescued after being trapped inside a burning building, following a suspected arson attack.

West Midlands Police said firearms officers spotted the fire at Villa Road, Lozells in Birmingham just before midnight on Sunday.

The police officers alerted the fire brigade and then entered the building next door before leading the occupants out to safety.

Footage showed them using a battering ram to break down the door to make the rescue.

They also checked another property located above the fire but found no one was inside.

Police said their officers were checked by paramedics at the scene, with one going to hospital for further checks for smoke inhalation.

They added that their investigators were treating the incident as arson.

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DS David Newson, from Birmingham CID, said: “This fire had the potential to have really serious consequences. Thankfully, the quick-thinking response of officers in the face of danger to themselves got the two residents to safety.

“We are working with our colleagues at WMFS Fire Investigation Team and would like to hear from local people as we try to build a picture of what has happened.

“Villa Road is a main route and we’d ask anyone who was driving along it between 11pm and midnight time, to take a look at any dashcam they may have, as it could hold vital evidence for our investigation.”

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New military housing plans paused after backlash




New military housing plans paused after backlash

The Ministry of Defence has paused new military housing plans following a backlash over the new rules on entitlement.

Andrew Murrison, a defence minister, said the MoD was “pausing the rollout of the elements of the policy related to Service Family Accommodation” after listening to feedback and conducting a review.

“This includes the move to needs-based allocation and in the short term the widening of entitlement,” he said in the statement published on Tuesday morning.

As first reported in Sky News, defence sources feared officers could quit over the plan to update rules on the subsidised housing offered to personnel in the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and – where relevant – their families.

These included changes such as the housing offer for a lieutenant colonel or colonel being downgraded, as the military moves to allocating homes based on needs rather than rank.

The changes had been due to come into force next month.

The MoD will still push ahead with plans “to improve the standard of Single Living Accommodation, help military personnel get on the housing ladder by refunding up to £1,500 expenses and give personnel more preference in how they live,” the minister said.

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Mr Murrison’s statement added: “Our Armed Forces personnel make extraordinary sacrifices to protect our nation, which is why our Modernised Accommodation Offer (MAO) gives greater flexibility, backed by an extra £200m investment.

“This is on top of £4bn to upgrade accommodation and build new living quarters for our service personnel over the next decade.”

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Soldiers march in a procession through Whitehall after the coronation ceremony of Britain's King Charles III in London, Saturday, May 6, 2023. Pic: AP Photo
The new rules would mean higher-ranking personnel would no longer be entitled to bigger houses Pic: AP Photo

An online petition calling for a review of the “new accommodation offer” had attracted more than 7,400 signatures by 16 February.

The petition said: “If the policy is implemented as it currently stands, we believe that armed forces retention rates are likely to fall to even lower levels than those at present.

“This could have an irreversible effect on the capability of the armed forces over both the immediate and intermediate term.”

While the shift to needs-based housing was widely-welcomed, according to defence sources, many officers would also see an erosion in the kind of housing they are entitled to live in following a three-year transition period – which caused outrage in some quarters.

One source told Sky that under the current system, a lieutenant colonel or a colonel – or their equivalent rank in the navy and RAF – with a partner and two children would be entitled to a four-to-five bedroom house with a floor area of 155.5 square metres.

A major – one step down in rank – with a partner and two children would be entitled to a four-bedroom house with a 137 square metre floor area.

Under the new system, any officer of any rank would be entitled to a house with a bedroom for themselves and an additional one for each child – meaning the higher-ranking lieutenant colonels or colonels would effectively see their housing allocation downgraded.

The source said that no compensation was being offered to make up for the loss of space.

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