The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The second series ran from 20 August to 17 December 2005. Shayne Ward was declared the winner and Louis Walsh emerged as the winning mentor. The second series was longer than the first, with seven acts in each of the three categories going to the judges' homes, and twelve acts in the finals instead of nine. Kate Thornton returned as presenter of the main show on ITV and Ben Shephard presented spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2, while Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Walsh returned as judges. 75,000 people auditioned for the second series.
On the back of their performances and popularity in the competition, Ward (winner), Andy Abraham (runner-up), Journey South (third place) and Maria Lawson (8th place) landed recording contracts. Chico Slimani (5th place) also released a single which topped the UK Singles Chart.
On the episode broadcast on 24 September 2005, the mentoring selection was made, with Cowell in charge of Groups, Osbourne looking after the 25 and overs and Walsh managing the 16–24s. The bootcamp stages were shown on 1 October 2005, and those who got through were taken to the "judges' homes". It was at this stage where viewers were first introduced to series five winner Alexandra Burke, and series eleven runner-up Fleur East.