British singer, songwriter, reality TV judge and Fifty Shades Of Grey co-star, Rita Ora is segueing from the BBC to ITV to join the 12th cycle of The X Factor UK. The switch comes after Ora spent one season as a judge on the BBC’s The Voice UK which wrapped in April this year; she had replaced Kylie Minogue. It had been rumored she would leave the BBC singing competition, with Simon Cowell’s X Factor now confirming she has joined his team.
ITV, Cowell’s Syco and production company Thames said today that Ora is newly signed up along with morning BBC radio host Nick Grimshaw. They join Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (formerly Cole) and Cowell who made his return to the British version of the show in 2014 after having spent three seasons on the now-defunct Fox version in the U.S.
Cowell’s much ballyhooed return last year helped goose the initial ratings for Season 11 giving it the best launch rating since 2011. However, the season ultimately scored lower than the previous Cowell-less stretch. Season 11 had 7.11M average viewers from late August through mid-December 2014 while Season 10 averaged 8.16M.
Ora previously appeared on X Factor as a guest judge in 2012. That same year she had a No. 1 UK single followed by a No. 1 UK debut album. As an actress, she played Christian Grey’s sister Mia in Fifty Shades this year and is lined up for the sequels. She also has a role in The Weinstein Co’s upcoming boxing drama Southpaw with Jake Gyllenhaal.
The new X Factor panel is part of a number of changes to this year’s show which also include new hosts Caroline Flack and Olly Murs who are replacing the outgoing Dermot O’Leary. The new cycle will also shift to arena auditions. More changes are afoot.