Strap yourself in, the X Factor rollercoaster is about to depart

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From Steve Brookstein, to Leon Jackson to Sam Bailey; the roll call of former X Factor winners almost reads like a who’s who of the world’s biggest superstars (well, sort of). And this week we begin our search for another name to add to the list.

Since the last series, Cheryl has got married and now has a name no one can remember, Mel B has been added to the judging panel to add one or two more arguments to proceedings, Simon has become a father, and Louis, well he’s still just Louis.

This year we are set to witness the familiar, and the not so familiar with a number of changes set to take place on the stages around the UK.

Tears

Love it or hate it, sob stories are a mainstay of the X Factor, and generally the public buy it, but is that about to end?

Simon Cowell has stated that he is “just so over sob stories”, and has apparently put a ban on them, though how he will enforce that is yet to be seen.

Nevertheless some contestants are sure to tug at the heartstrings of the judges, with tears expected to be shed from the get-go.

The return of the Groups

Little Mix ended the hoodoo of the Groups category when claiming victory in 2012.

Following the success of One Direction after being put together on the show, all eyes will be on a new eight-piece male group formed of rejected solo artists, described by Cowell as “one of the best groups ever on X Factor”. No pressure then lads.

It’s 11/4 that they or any other ensemble take the crown in December.

Younger contestants

In what could prove a foolish move, the lower age limit for hopefuls has been changed this series from 16 to 14.

Mel B has already stated that she finds it hard to say no to the younger generation when faced with a decision on their progress.

So with judges having trouble rejecting youngsters, the 2/1 offered on a teenage winner could prove great value.

Some familiar quotes

“Didn’t Louis say that last week about [insert another contestant]?” Well, yes probably.

The Irishman seems to enjoy bringing out the same phrases and it’s sure to be the same again.

Whether it’s “You made that song your own”, “You’re like a young…” or “You are what this show is about”, the former Westlife manager surely has his own phrasebook in production somewhere.

Rows and tantrums

X Factor has always been a breeding ground for confrontation, disagreements and rows, and that’s just the judges!

With Ladbrokes providing a price of 4/1 that one of the four mentors leaves the show before the final, this series could be the fiercest yet.

The show has yet to begin and Cheryl has already confirmed her feud with Louis Walsh is still ongoing; “We don’t like each other. I don’t think we ever did”.

Expect fireworks in those hotseats when the action gets underway

All odds correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.