The X Factor (British series 1)

The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent; the winner of which receives a £1 million recording contract with the Syco Music record label. The first series was broadcast from 4 September to 11 December 2004. The competition was split into several stages: auditions, bootcamp, judges' homes and live shows, with Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell as judges. Kate Thornton presented the show on ITV, whilst Ben Shephard presented the spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2.

The X Factor
Series 1
Presented byKate Thornton (ITV)
WinnerSteve Brookstein
Winning mentorSimon Cowell
Original network
Original release4 September (2004-09-04) –
11 December 2004 (2004-12-11)
Series chronology
Next →
Series 2
List of episodes

Auditions were held in Dublin, Newcastle, London, Leeds, Birmingham and Glasgow.

Steve Brookstein won the series, with Cowell as the winning mentor.[1] Brookstein went on to have some chart success, with runner-up group G4 achieving two platinum albums before splitting up in 2007, but reuniting in 2014.

Selection processEdit

Applications and auditionsEdit

Before the auditions, advertisements appeared on ITV, newspapers, and trade magazines, promising that the new show would encourage groups to join, and while the emphasis was on singing, would welcome those who played musical instruments and wrote their own songs. The show would differentiate itself from its predecessor, Pop Idol.

For the first episode of auditions, which aired on 4 September 2004, the judges visited Leeds and London. The second episode aired on 11 September 2004 in which the judges visited Newcastle. The third aired on 18 September 2004, the fourth on 25 September 2004 and the fifth on 2 October 2004.

Bootcamp and judges' housesEdit

After the auditions, each judge was allocated a category at random:

  • Simon Cowell: Over 25s
  • Sharon Osbourne: 16-24s
  • Louis Walsh: Groups

Each judge chose 12 acts from their category to go through to round two. After bootcamp, each judge selected five acts to progress to the judges' homes round. The bootcamp episodes aired on 9 and 16 October 2004.

In judges' homes, the 15 acts went to the homes of their respective judges, where they were interviewed and performed again. Each judge then chose three acts to go through to the live shows, making a total of nine finalists.

Bootcamp Tasks per Category


Location: Hackney Empire

Task 1: Perform "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder in lines of 10.

Task 2: Giving a solo performance of one of these two chosen songs below:

Task 3: Interviews in front of the press and talking about their personal lives.

Task 4: Choose one song from The Beatles back-catalogue and perform it in front of their competitors and Sharon.


Location: Angel Recording Studios

Task 1: Perform an song of their own choosing in front of Louis and his team.

Task 2: Write an original song entitled "Right Now" that must contain all these five words:

  • Dreams
  • Hope
  • Anticipation
  • Chance
  • All the Way

Task 3: Learn a new song overnight

Task 4: Sing a song that they think that showcases all of their members voices to the best of their ability.

Over 25s:

Location: The Landmark London

Task 1: Both the females and males perform one song of their choice separately one at a time with the opposite gender watching their performance.

Task 2: Learn a new song overnight with another member of the category to perform as an duo.

Task 3: Perform an song that will convince Simon and his panel that they are capable of moving on to the next round.

Judges Houses Performances (Groups and 16-24s)



Summary of judges' houses
Judge Category Location Assistants Acts Eliminated
Cowell Over 25s London Annie Skates, Sinitta Odis Palmer, Lloyd Wade
Osbourne 16-24s Buckinghamshire Mark Hudson, Terry Longden, Jack Osbourne Megan Ramsay, Andy Steed
Walsh Groups Dublin Linda Martin, Faye Sawyer, David Laudat 4Tune, Advance

Acts Edit


  – Winner
  – Runner-Up
Act Age(s) Hometown Category (Mentor) Result
Steve Brookstein 35 London Over 25s (Cowell) Winner
G4 22-24 Various Groups (Walsh) Runner-up
Tabby Callaghan 23 County Sligo, Ireland 16-24s (Osbourne) 3rd place
Rowetta Satchell 38 Manchester Over 25s (Cowell) 4th place
Cassie Compton 17 North London 16-24s (Osbourne) 5th place
Voices with Soul 25-42 Luton Groups (Walsh) 6th place
2 to Go 23-24 Notts 7th place
Verity Keays 51 Grimsby, Lincolnshire Over 25s (Cowell) 8th place
Roberta Howett 23 Dublin, Ireland 16-24s (Osbourne) 9th place

Live showsEdit


Two live shows were broadcast each Saturday evening during the competition. Until week 5, each act performed once in the first show, then the public voted for the act that they wanted to remain in the show. In the other results show, the two acts with the fewest votes were revealed. These two acts then had to sing again before the three judges decided whom to eliminate.

The format changed in the sixth week: each act performed twice in the first show and performed one of their songs in the results show. The act with the fewest votes was eliminated at the end of the second show.

The live shows started on 23 October 2004 and ended on 11 December 2004.

Results summaryEdit

Colour key

  Act in team Simon

  Act in team Sharon

  Act in team Louis

  – Act was in the bottom two and had to sing again in the final showdown
  – Act received the fewest public votes and was immediately eliminated (no final showdown)
  – Act received the most public votes
Weekly results per act
Act Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Quarter-Final Semi-Final Final
Steve Brookstein Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Winner
G4 Safe Safe Safe Bottom Two Safe Safe Safe Runner-Up
Tabby Callaghan Safe Safe Safe Safe Bottom Two Safe 3rd Eliminated
Rowetta Satchell Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe 4th Eliminated
Cassie Compton Safe Safe Safe Safe Bottom Two Eliminated
(week 5)
Voices with Soul Bottom Two Safe Bottom Two Bottom Two Eliminated
(week 4)
2 to Go Safe Bottom Two Bottom Two Eliminated
(week 3)
Verity Keays Safe Bottom Two Eliminated
(week 2)
Roberta Howett Bottom Two Eliminated
(week 1)
Final Showdown Howett,
Voices with Soul
2 to Go,
2 to Go,
Voices with Soul
Voices with Soul
No final showdown or judges' votes; results were based on public votes alone
Walsh's vote to eliminate (Groups) Howett Keays 2 to Go Voices with Soul Compton
Osbourne's vote to eliminate (16-24s) Voices with Soul Keays 2 to Go Voices with Soul None (abstained)
Cowell's vote to eliminate (Over 25s) Howett 2 to Go 1 G4 Compton
Eliminated Roberta Howett
2 of 3 votes
Verity Keays
2 of 3 votes
2 to Go
2 of 2 votes
Voices with Soul
2 of 3 votes
Cassie Compton
2 of 2 votes
Rowetta Satchell
Public vote
to save
Tabby Callaghan
Public vote
to save
Public vote
to win

^1 Cowell was not required to vote as there was already a majority.

Live show detailsEdit

Week 1 (23 October)Edit

Acts' performances on the first live show
Act Order Song (Original artist) Result
Voices with Soul 1 "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"(Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson) Bottom Two
Verity Keays 2 "I Will Always Love You" (Dolly Parton) Safe
Roberta Howett 3 "Superstar" (Carpenters) Eliminated
2 to Go 4 "Don't Know Much" (Linda Ronstadt) Safe
Steve Brookstein 5 "When a Man Loves a Woman" (Percy Sledge)
Cassie Compton 6 "Alfie" (Cilla Black)
G4 7 "Everybody Hurts" (R.E.M)
Rowetta Satchell 8 "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" (Dusty Springfield)
Tabby Callaghan 9 "You Really Got Me" (The Kinks)
Judges' votes to eliminate
  • Walsh: Roberta Howett – backed his own act, Voices with Soul.
  • Osbourne: Voices with Soul – backed her own act, Roberta Howett.
  • Cowell: Roberta Howett – based on the final showdown performance, but felt that neither act deserved to be in the bottom two.

Week 2 (30 October)Edit

Acts' performances on the second live show
Act Order Song Result
Rowetta Satchell 1 "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (U2) Safe
2 to Go 2 "Always" (Atlantic Starr) Bottom Two
Cassie Compton 3 "Without You" (Mariah Carey) Safe
Verity Keays 4 "Wind Beneath My Wings" (Bette Midler) Eliminated
G4 5 "Don't Look Back in Anger" (Oasis) Safe
Tabby Callaghan 6 "My Oh My" (Slade)
Steve Brookstein 7 "If You Don't Know Me by Now" (Simply Red)
Voices with Soul 8 "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" (Aretha Franklin)
Judges' votes to eliminate
  • Walsh: Verity Keays – backed his own act, 2 to Go.
  • Cowell: 2 to Go – backed his own act, Verity Keays.
  • Osbourne: Verity Keays – gave no reason.

Week 3 (6 November)Edit

Acts' performances on the third live show
Act Order Song Result
Tabby Callaghan 1 "Addicted to Love" (Robert Palmer) Safe
Voices with Soul 2 "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (Simon & Garfunkel) Bottom Two
Steve Brookstein 3 "Smile" (Charlie Chaplin) Safe
2 to Go 4 "(I've Had) The Time of My Life"(from Dirty Dancing) Eliminated
Cassie Compton 5 "I Say a Little Prayer" (Dionne Warwick) Safe
Rowetta Satchell 6 "Over the Rainbow" (Judy Garland)
G4 7 "...Baby One More Time" (Britney Spears)
Judges' votes to eliminate
  • Osbourne: 2 to Go – gave no reason.
  • Walsh: 2 to Go – said he did not want to send either of his acts home. He asked to vote last but Thornton pressed him for his decision.
  • Cowell was not required to vote as there was already a majority.

Week 4 (13 November)Edit

Acts' performances on the fourth live show
Act Order Song Result
G4 1 "Circle of Life" (Elton John) Bottom Two
Rowetta Satchell 2 "MacArthur Park" (Donna Summer) Safe
Tabby Callaghan 3 "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"(Aerosmith)
Voices With Soul 4 "Lady Marmalade" (Labelle) Eliminated
Cassie Compton 5 "Hero" (Mariah Carey) Safe
Steve Brookstein 6 "Help Me Make It Through the Night" (Kris Kristofferson)
Judges' votes to eliminate
  • Osbourne: Voices with Soul – based on the final showdown performance, and believed that G4 had a future in a recording career.
  • Cowell: G4 – gave no reason.
  • Walsh: Voices with Soul – said he did not want to send either of his acts home, saying the result was worse than last week; he tried to back out but Thornton forced him for his decision.

Week 5 (20 November)Edit

Acts' performances on the fifth live show
Act Order Song Result
Steve Brookstein 1 "Let's Stay Together" (Al Green) Safe
Cassie Compton 2 "All by Myself"(Eric Carmen) Eliminated
G4 3 "My Way" (Frank Sinatra) Safe
Tabby Callaghan 4 "Sweet Child o' Mine" (Guns N' Roses) Bottom Two
Rowetta Satchell 5 "Somewhere" (from West Side Story) Safe
Judges' votes to eliminate
  • Walsh: Cassie Compton – believed Callaghan could win the competition.
  • Osbourne abstained from voting as both acts were in her category. Thornton tried to remind her of her duty to vote between her acts as Walsh did in the previous two results shows, but Osbourne still refused to send home either of her acts, citing her loyalty to both of them. Following this, Thornton warned Cowell that if he voted to send Compton through to the quarter-final, the result would revert to the public vote to decide who would be eliminated.
  • Cowell: Cassie Compton – wanted to win the competition and believed Callaghan was his biggest threat but after deliberating on whether to send home either Callaghan or Compton, who he felt was the weakest, opted to send Compton home.

Week 6: Quarter-Final (27 November)Edit

  • Best bits song: "She"
Acts' performances in the quarter-final
Act Order First song Order Second song Result
Rowetta Satchell 1 "River Deep - Mountain High" (Tina Turner) 5 "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" (Diana Ross) Eliminated
G4 2 "You'll Never Walk Alone" (from Carousel) 6 "Somebody to Love" (Queen) Safe
Steve Brookstein 3 "I Get the Sweetest Feeling" (Jackie Wilson) 7 "If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time" (R.Kelly)
Tabby Callaghan 4 "More Than Words" (Extreme) 8 "Livin' on a Prayer" (Bon Jovi)

The quarter-final did not feature a final showdown and instead the act with the fewest public votes, Rowetta Satchell, was automatically eliminated

Week 7: Semi-Final (4 December)Edit

Acts' performances in the semi-final
Act Order First song Order Second song Result
Tabby Callaghan 1 "Pride (In the Name of Love)" (U2) 4 "Sailing" (Rod Stewart) Eliminated
Steve Brookstein 2 "Have I Told You Lately" (Van Morrison) 5 "Greatest Love of All" (George Benson) Safe
G4 3 "O Holy Night" (Traditional) 6 "Bohemian Rhapsody" (Queen)

The semi-final did not feature a final showdown and instead the act with the fewest public votes, Tabby Callaghan, was automatically eliminated.

Week 8: Final (11 December)Edit

Acts' performances in the final
Act Order First song Order Second song (song of the series) Originally performed in.... Order Third song (winner's single) Result
Steve Brookstein 1 "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" 3 "Smile" Live Show 3 5 "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" Winner
G4 2 "Nessun Dorma" 4 "Bohemian Rhapsody" Live Show 7 6 "Creep" Runner-Up



This series achieved an average of 7.4 million viewers per episode.

Episode Air date Official ITV1 rating[2]
Weekly rank[2]
Auditions 1 4 September 5.25 21
Auditions 2 11 September 6.53 17
Auditions 3 18 September 7.08 14
Auditions 4 25 September 7.24 16
Auditions 5 2 October 6.71 18
Bootcamp 1 9 October 6.69 21
Bootcamp 2 7.89 17
Judges' houses 16 October 7.32 17
Live show 1 23 October 7.18 17
Live results 1 7.83 15
Live show 2 30 October 6.53 20
Live results 2 7.26 17
Live show 3 6 November 6.89 19
Live results 3 7.02 18
Live show 4 13 November 7.42 15
Live results 4 6.88 18
Live show 5 20 November 7.91 16
Live results 5 7.98 14
Live show 6 27 November 8.06 22
Live results 6 8.01 23
Live semi-final 4 December 7.79 20
Live results 7 7.52 23
Final 11 December 8.62 15
Final results 9.96 8



It was reported in tabloid newspapers that the show's audition process was unfair after Walsh was accused of cheating. He was thought to have advised the group Co-Ed on things such as song choices, which caused controversy after it was revealed that he had actually previously managed Co-Ed after they appeared on the Irish version of Popstars in 2001. Also, footage of Cowell and Osbourne coaching contestants to argue back to the judges was being auctioned over the Internet.[3]

Claims of RiggingEdit

Before the first live show, Osbourne accused Cowell of "rigging" the show by editing footage to make the contestants in his category more appealing to viewers.[4] Osbourne attracted criticism again following the final in December 2004 when she was forced to make an apology after attracting what Cowell referred to as "record complaints" over an outburst by Osbourne in which she criticised eventual winner Steve Brookstein. This left her place on the show uncertain,[5] although she returned for the second series in 2005.


  1. ^ "Steve voted The X Factor winner". 11 December 2004. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Weekly Viewing Summary (see relevant week)". BARB. Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  3. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (4 September 2004). "'X Factor' judge accused of cheating". Digital Spy. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  4. ^ Wilkes, Neil (22 October 2004). "Osbourne brands Cowell "fucking wanker". Digital Spy. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  5. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (19 December 2004). "Sharon Osbourne facing 'X Factor' axe?". Digital Spy. Retrieved 25 September 2013.