Skip to main content

Simple Simon - Teacher Notes

Simple, Simon?

Wikipedia had this information about the auditions for The X FACTOR

Initial auditions with producers took place in April and May 2007, with callbacks in front of the judges in June. The number of applicants reached an all-time high with 200,000 people auditioning in the cities of London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester and Belfast. Eight thousand people attended an open audition at Emirates Stadium (home of Arsenal F.C.), London, on 9 June 2007. Due to the record number of applications an additional open audition was held at Birmingham Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on 21 July 2007.

1) How long would these auditions have taken if they were all seen by the one panel of judges?

2) How many judging panels do you think there were in the Emirates Stadium?

Sample answer to question 1

First we need to find how long it takes the judges to deal completely with one contestant. This must be the time between one contestant walking in the doors and the next doing the same. It must include the time for the contestant to walk to the stage, introduce themselves, sing, wait for feedback and walk out door.

Pupils might want to try to simulate this to get an idea of how long is required before a panel has 'heard enough', feed back given and the next contestant enters the 'stage'.

Assume each contestant takes up three minutes of the judges' time. This would mean it would take 600,000 minutes to see 200,000 people. This is about 10,000 hours non-stop.

Pupil estimates for the average time might range from 2 minutes to 5 minutes, which would give bounds of around 250 to 650 days.

Sample answer to question 2

The X Factor team were at the Emirates stadium for one day only. This would have been, at most, 10 working hours, taking into account coffee and lunch breaks.

Given 3 minutes per contestant, 20 could be seen in a hour by each panel or 200 in a day. To see 8000 contestants would have required about 40 panels. Different estimates of average time and the length of the working day would generate different numbers of panels - probably stretching more on the high side.

Given that there were many more contestants to audition, than on the program, auditions may have been much shorter, perhaps half the time (1.5 minutes) this would still require 20 judging panels to work for 10 hours.