X Fctor boss Simon Cowell has formed TWO new groups from star solo acts at this year’s boot camp – to boost the category Cheryl Cole is tipped to mentor.
The music mogul, 50, has made four female soloists into a girl band and five single males into a boy band. He was helped by stand-in judge and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, 32, and long-time judge Louis Walsh, 57.
Their aim is to provide Geordie Cheryl, 27 – recovering from life-threatening malaria – a pool of talent with which to work if she’s up to taking on the bands.
Bosses on the ITV1 hit also want to see if Cheryl – who has won with the girls and boys categories – can work her magic on the groups. An insider said: “Nothing’s finalised about who gets which category but if Cheryl’s up to dealing with the groups they want to give her the best people to choose from.
“It’s a difficult category to get right, but not impossible as JLS showed two years ago.”
Cheryl could have her work cut out because the bands, with Louis as mentor, flopped badly last year.
She’ll have to mould the brand new boy band – Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Harry Styles. The girls – Rebecca Creighton, Esther Campbell, Geneva Lane and Sophia Wardman – are also certain to need a lot of work.
Cheryl and new mum Dannii Minogue will be back for the judges’ houses stage. Eight acts will be entered, instead of the usual six, but only three in each category will go through to the live finals.
Cheryl’s illness has seen her miss boot camp and some auditions but she is expected to discuss this year’s hopefuls with the other judges soon.
Dannii, at home in Oz with baby Ethan, will also be briefed and sent DVDs of all her acts’ auditions before she meets them at the judges’ houses stage. The insider said: “The situation hasn’t been ideal this year, but both Cheryl and Dannii are dedicated to the show and their acts.
“There’s no way they’ll let things slide. Both hate the idea of Simon winning.”
X Factor returns later this month.