Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Williams will join Louis Tomlinson and Simon Cowell as the ‘experts’ on the next series of the ITV talent search.

“For nearly 30 years I’ve been touring. I’ve been wanting to branch out and The X Factor felt like the perfect vehicle. Ayda is my rock, she’s looked after me through thick and thin. I’m looking forward to getting started as a judge!” – Robbie Williams

The X Factor this week announced that singers Robbie Williams (Take That) and Louis Tomlinson (One Direction) will join established judge, and music mogul, Simon Cowell as the new music experts on the forthcoming series. For a touch of ‘WTF’ the Thames Television and Syco TV production has also introduced Robbie’s wife Ayda Williams to the line up.

The three new judges appeared with Simon at a press conference at Somerset House in central London yesterday (July 17th) where they were officially revealed to journalists. ITV hopes the new line up can reverse the fortunes of The X Factor, which has been losing ratings year-on-year with BBC One ‘rival’ Strictly Come Dancing outperforming the show in the annual clash of the shows each winter.

Robbie is a global superstar who has sold more than 75 million albums over his career and won 18 BRIT Awards – more than any other artist in history. Robbie has been playing to sold out stadiums across the world over the past year on his ‘The Heavy Entertainment Show Tour’ – which has seen him perform to more than 1.25 million fans across the UK, Europe and Australasia. Robbie released the platinum-selling ‘The Heavy Entertainment Show’ album in November 2016 – it debuted at Number 1 on the UK album chart, giving Williams his 12th Number 1 solo album.

ITV talent shows in the 1970s found stars such as Victoria Wood on ATV’s New Faces

Ayda Williams is best-known, if for anything, as Robbie Williams’ wife of 8 years. While this isn’t likely to create the new ‘Richard and Judy’ it is ITV say a right decision as the ‘actress, presenter has an invaluable inside take on how the music industry works and knows first-hand what it takes to forge a successful career. It is the first time on The X Factor UK that a husband and wife have been judges.

Louis is the first judge to have also been a contestant on the show. As a member of One Direction he has sold more than 150 million records worldwide and achieved more than 100 global No1s. One Direction were the biggest selling UK act globally for three consecutive years and in 2013 they were overall the biggest selling act in the world. As a solo artist, Louis’ single Back to You hit No.1 in 37 countries and has been streamed more than 220 million times. He recently won the 2018 iHeartRadio award for Best Solo Breakout and is currently recording his debut solo album.

Music mogul and show creator Simon has been the mastermind behind some of the music industry’s biggest acts from Leona Lewis and One Direction to Little Mix and James Arthur. Acts from The X Factor UK have sold more than 250 million records globally to date.

Will Robbie and Adya become the judging world’s Richard and Judy?

“This new panel is all about optimism, everyone has a real passion for finding a new star. The three new judges bring a whole new energy and I’m excited.” – Simon Cowell

Sharon Osbourne will also return as a judge for The X Factor’s live shows while Dermot O’Leary is back as the host. Auditions for the 15th series of the singing contest begin at The SSE Arena, Wembley, later today.

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