The X Factor is an American reality television singing competition created by Simon Cowell and produced by FremantleMedia North America and SYCOtv, a partnership between Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment, on Fox. Based on the original UK show, the concept of the series is to find new singing talent (solo or groups) contested by aspiring singers, aged 13 to 60, drawn from public auditions. The winner is determined by the viewers through telephone, Internet, and SMS text voting and receives a $5 million recording contract with Cowell's record label syco Music. There have been two winners of the show to date: Melanie Amaro and Tate Stevens.
It began airing on September 21, 2011, and has since aired annually from September through to December as an addition to the The X Factor franchise. On October 22, 2012, Fox confirmed that the show would return for a third season. The series employs a panel of judges who critique the contestants' performances. Each judge is assigned one of four categories; the criteria for each has varied between seasons. Throughout the live shows, the judges act as mentors to their category, helping to decide song choices, styling, and staging, while judging contestants from the other categories. They also compete to ensure that their act wins the competition, thus making them the winning judge.
The cast for the first season was originally Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Paula Abdul, and L.A. Reid as judges, while Nicole Scherzinger and Stee Jones were co-hosts. But, Cole was dismissed from her judging duties after two sets of auditions, and replaced by Scherzinger for the duration of the season. In season two, Abdul and Scherzinger were replaced by Demi Lovato and Britney Spears, while Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez became the new co-hosts. On December 13, 2012, Reid announced that he would not return for the third season while Spears confirmed the same on January 11, 2013.Lovato has yet to be confirmed on returning, making Cowell the only confirmed judge to return for the third season.