Since it was first screened in 2004, the X Factor has become essential weekend viewing, with regular TV audiences of over 12 million - but the question remains, how do you win? How do you impress the judges, the cruel Simon Cowell, the twinkly Louis Walsh, the beautiful Cheryl Cole. Is it the singer or the song? Is it the presentation? The support from your friends? Your background? Your attitude? Or is it the hairstyle? Or the well timed tears? TV writer Keeley Bolger takes a light-hearted look at the show, the controversies over vote rigging, and the supposed rivalry between the judges and contestants and offers her tips - not all of them obvious - on how to win the coveted title. She also delves into the history of TV talent shows and profiles the judges and previous winners of the X Factor. Keeley Bolger is a London-based freelance journalist who has written extensively about X Factor, TV, music and pop culture for The Sun and other media.