Published Wednesday, 15 August 2012
The hunt for a new pop chart-topper has taken the X Factor machine across the UK, with the first auditions due to be aired on UTV on Saturday evening.
As always, viewers can expect a mix of those who've been hiding their proverbial light under a bushel and those who'll look back at their efforts and perhaps wish they'd stayed in the shadows after all!
Host Dermot O'Leary also makes his return, remaining on hand to see the wannabes through the highs and lows of the audition process with a supply of hugs or high-fives as required.
He told ITV his top five X Factor moments so far include Matt Cardle's emotional rendition of First Time Ever I Saw your Face at Bootcamp and One Direction's ability to bow out graciously in third place - but still storm their way to number one hits, gathering millions of young fans in the process.
"It makes me feel very proud of what we do when you see someone who's got a great voice and, through the show and through them discovering who they are, they end up to be a great artist," Dermot said.
Last year saw Tulisa's prodigies Little Mix become the first group to win the show, but who will take the X Factor crown this year?
As well as the four main judges, a number of stars - including Anastacia, no less than two Spice Girls, previous winner Leona Lewis, and rising star Rita Ora - have been helping to narrow the field, before the power to decide is handed over to the viewers in the live shows.
The X Factor returns for a ninth series at 8pm on Saturday 18 August on UTV.