The third UK series of The X Factor
was broadcast on the ITV
network in the United Kingdom
in the Republic of Ireland
. The first show was broadcast on 19 August 2006. Twelve million people tuned into the final on 16 December 2006, which saw Leona Lewis
declared the winning act and Simon Cowell
the winning mentor.
Instead of the earlier red and purple colour scheme, this year's theme was red and blue. A new-look website for the third series was launched on 11 August 2006.
After the 9 December show, Simon Cowell became the winning judge even though the series had not yet finished, as two of his acts, Raymond Quinn and Leona Lewis, became the two finalists.
Auditions began on 7 June 2006. Simon Cowell said on ITV
's This Morning
"The next international boyband or girlband is what I want to see in this year's show". 100,000 people applied to audition, the most so far. Nearly 20,000 attended an open audition at Old Trafford
on 18 June 2006.
All three judges, Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne
and Louis Walsh
, returned. Hints by Cowell and the surrounding media that a fourth full-time judge mentoring a fourth category of contestants might be added proved to be false. However, American Idol
judge Paula Abdul
did make an appearance as a guest judge at the London auditions, and further celebrity guests appeared during the live shows. Auditions were held in cities around the UK and Republic of Ireland - ......