The X Factor announces 2013 finalists' tour

Posted: 11th June 2012
Ahead of the new series of ITV's golden goose, the hugely popular annual arena tour has been announced, tickets on sale Friday 15th June

Before this sport-obsessed summer of 2012 even gets out of the starting blocks, thoughts are already turning to what we'll all be watching once Cristiano Ronaldo, Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis have all put their trousers back on. There'll be some gripping Scandinavian crime drama on BBC4, the football season will resume with its customary bluster and the weekend prime time slots will be packed with the jostling, duelling heavyweights of Strictly Come Dancing and, of course, the X Factor.

In whatever guise, initially as Popstars in 2001, the new century saw the talent search genre revived and given a shot of advertising revenue-fuelled adrenalin that would raise the dead. Then, as now, there were as many nay-sayers as there were advocates. Whatever your view, there can be no denying that for every Michelle McManus and Steve Brookstein, Simons Fuller and Cowell have overseen the emergence of a Will Young or Girls Aloud.

And this is at the heart of the show's appeal. Personal journeys played out in the most public way; each wannabe trawled and trolled until they feel the full blistering glare of public attention. Series come and go, often with few genuine headline makers, but the allure remains. Is the person we're watching the new Cheryl Cole? Will this be the teen that competes with Bieber? For all the repetition, hokum and schmaltz, there remains the possibility that we will witness the birth of a star.

Which is why, before the new series is even being trailed on ITV, the 2013 finalists tour has been announced. The tour, which lasts a month and takes in the UK and Ireland, begins in Manchester on 27th January, ending in Belfast on 27th February. The intervening 30 days or so sees a combination of afternoon and evening shows at huge venues across theses isles - details below. We will have tickets available from 9am on Friday 15th June, priced from €40 for Dublin and around £32.50 for UK shows.

Stewart Darkin