The new X Factor judges defend "underdog" Ayda Field's spot on the panel

It’s official. We have a brand new set of judges for The X Factor.

After what felt like endless rumour and speculation, it was confirmed in a press conference on Tuesday (17 July) that Simon Cowell will be joined by Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field on the X Factor 2018 panel.

Show veteran Dermot O’Leary – who will also be coming back to the ITV show as the host –introduced the new line-up.

There’s been a little bit of criticism over Ayda’s appointment as a new judge – but she addressed those that might be ‘surprised’ to see her on the show.

“I think for me, on a professional level, I’ve auditioned for years…. I know what it’s like to have the stakes high. To put it all out there,” she told reporters, including Digital Spy. “I know what it’s like to get the job, I also know what it’s like to lose the job.”

Speaking of her relationship with Robbie, and how that gives her a wealth of music experience to draw from, she said: “I think being with Rob for 12 years… I’ve been every step of the way with him. I have a huge amount of empathy for the process. I know what it takes from creating the songs… to promoting, to live shows. It’s a very emotional process.

“I’m excited to be that rock and that stability and that guidance for my group. And to help some people out, help them achieve their dreams. I’m really excited about that.”

“And as a member of the general public, which I love,” she added. “Because this is about the general public!”

Robbie, who joked that he had been swayed to join the show by the proposal of doing it alongside his wife, also defended her casting. “Ayda is a member of the public too and they never get it wrong,” he said.

“It is fallacy that there’s a magic formula to what makes a pop star,” the former Take That member added. “If a member of the public was up here now their opinion would be as valid as hers.”

Ayda also said that she’s “excited to be the underdog and show the boys how it’s done.”

Hear, hear.

The X Factor returns later this year on ITV.

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