The X-Factor has teamed up with British Airways, as the official airline to fly its celebrity judges and contestants to Bermuda, Cancun, Los Angeles and Nice for the final auditions. For the first time, the ‘judges houses’ episodes will air over three nights on ITV this Friday (October 3) at 9pm, Saturday and Sunday at 8pm.
The aspiring pop stars travelled to some of British Airways’ most glamorous destinations to perform for judges Simon Cowell, Mel B, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Louis Walsh, in the hope of making it through to the live finals.
Chosen for their exclusivity, glamour and stunning backdrops – the airline has produced packages to each X-Factor destination, for those inspired by the show.
Louis Walsh lucked out this series by flying to the pink sandy beaches of Bermuda. Mentoring the groups, Louis and guest judge Tulisa Contostavlos offered the wannabe-stars a preview of the pop star lifestyle, staying at the five star Fairmont Southampton hotel. Contestants took part in diving, swimming and jet-skiing, as well as the 18-hole golf club on site, while the judges soaked up the sun!
Louis Walsh said: “I think it might be the most glamorous destination I’ve ever been sent to! This is a make or break stage for the groups, so it was a perfect retreat for them to unwind ahead of their performances.”
Among the bands Louis took to Bermuda were ‘Only The Young’, who impressed the judges with their vocals and chemistry during auditions. The band said: “Going to Judges’ Houses was actually the first time we’d actually travelled together abroad. It was the most beautiful country we’ve ever been to.”
Another band who joined Louis was ‘Blonde Electric’, who said: “Bermuda was absolutely beautiful with unimaginable pink beaches. Everything looked like a screen saver! It was the most beautiful place we’ve ever been to and we’ll certainly go back.”
To follow in their footsteps, British Airways Holidays offers seven nights at their hotel – The Fairmont Southampton from £1,139 per person (room only), including flights from Gatwick. Offer available for travel between October 29 and December 11.
Offering a taste of the showbiz lifestyle, Mel B and the ‘boys’ visited the party paradise of Cancun in Mexico. Contestants stayed at the luxurious five star Occidental Grand Xcaret in Riviera Maya, where they performed for the former Spice Girl and her guest judge Emma Bunton. Contestants were able to enjoy the Dolphinarium, spa and eco eco-archeological park on site, as well as the stunning Caribbean Sea.
Among the boys who secured a place in Mexico was Paul Akister, who said: “Cancun was so good. It was really hot and amazing – everything about it. I stepped off the plane and then it sort of settled that we were in Mexico and about to sing for Mel B!”
Jake Quickenden, who also secured a place said: “I’m from Scunthorpe and don’t really go to that many good places usually. So, to go to Cancun and knowing that you’re going be in an amazing house with these guys – it was like ‘wow’!”
To holiday like the stars, British Airways Holidays offers seven nights at the Occidental Grand Xcaret Hotel where the contestants stayed, from £929 per person (all inclusive), including return flights from Gatwick to Cancun. Offer available for travel between May 4 and July 1, 2015.
Los Angeles, USA
Living the rock star dream, Simon’s category the ‘overs’ travelled in style on British Airways’ new ‘red carpet route’ to Los Angeles on its A380 superjumbo. Staying in Hollywood, contestants had time to experience the city before performing for Simon at his Beverly Hills residence, in front of guest judge Sinitta.
One of the over’s who secured a place at Simon’s Judges House was Fleur East, who said: “The journey was great. I stepped off the plane and felt the warmth of the country. Driving through LA felt just like being in a movie.”
For a taste of their luxury lifestyle British Airways offers three nights at the five star Beverly Wilshire, Four Seasons Hotel from £1,169 per person, (room only, based on two adults sharing), including return flights from Heathrow – for travel in November. Visit ba.com/America
Returning to the series after three years, Cheryl Fernandez-Virsini chose the French Riviera to take the ‘girls’. With collaborator Tinie Tempah on hand to help, the celebrity hotspot of Saint-Tropez was the perfect location for the hopefuls, who stayed at the breath-taking Amarante Golf Plaza Hotel.
Among the girls in Cheryl’s category was Chloe Jasmine, who said: “Travelling to Nice was like a holiday, it was nice that it was close to home and it felt like going away with friends rather than being in a competition.’
For a chic get-away, British Airways offers three nights (room only) at the four star Amarante Golf Plaza in Nice, as chosen by Cheryl, from £249 per person with return flights from Heathrow. Offer available for travel between October 1 and 31.
Judges and contestants travelled with British Airways Holidays. To book a holiday inspired by the show, visit ba.com or call 0844 493 0758.