THE X FACTOR 2018 KICKS OFF 0 118

So the run into Christmas is officially begun. The X Factor is back it came with an early stand out with a performance by Andy Hofton, a Robbie Williams superfan.

After singing a song that he once sent to Gary Barlow, Andy had an ace up his sleeve with his second tune ‘Angels’ by the Robster. Williams was clearly worried that he would destroy his world-famous song and got on stage to assist and the performance quickly turned into a duet.

The Next memorable moment of the evening that got Robbie off his feet, with 90’s band Livin’ Joy’s Janice Robinson‘s audition got him all emotional, its no surprise she got the “golden buzzer” and went strength through to the next round.

However this is The X Factor and the good always comes with a decent spell of rough and the rough patch of the night comes with ‘No Labels’ which as Louis Tomlinson stated lacked identity. Check their performance below;

The X Factor is airing Saturday and Sundays on ITV

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JOE MINOSO TALKS THE ‘CHICAGO FIRE’ MID-SEASON FINALE & WHAT 2019 HAS IN STORE 0 96

Having been acting since he was a teenager, Joe Minoso is no stranger to entertaining audiences, but it’s his role as firefighter Joe Cruz on the hugely successful series Chicago Fire that’s brought him to trans-Atlantic attention and earned him a growing army of fans and supporters. With the show airing its mid-season finale tonight, ThisIsTheLatest spoke to Joe about what fans can expect from the exciting episode, the many shows he’d love – and would have loved – to appear in and his advice for aspiring actors.

TITL: What is it about acting and performing that you enjoy so much? Do you still get that thrill and rush that you used to when you first started out?

Joe Minoso: Especially in television, I appreciate that there’s new stuff thrown at you all the time. As an actor, I think you get joy in figuring out the puzzle of being a character that is always evolving… Some days it can feel like you’re dealing with the drudge of any 9 to 5 job. But there are always days, even seven years later, where you can’t help but feel the electricity in the room.

TITL: Have you ever thought about taking up another career, or has it always just been about acting for you? 

JM: I have been acting since I was 15 years old and it’s always been my first love. I’ve recently started looking into directing. But if I weren’t an actor, I would probably be an editor. I think it’s probably the most fascinating part of what we do. It’s amazing how many things get dictated in the editing room.

TITL: What do you think it is about Chicago Fire that keeps fans so interested in the show? What’s its selling point?

JM: I think that family is the one thing that sets Chicago Fire a part, even from the other Chicago shows, and also our blend of action and comedy. First responders, firefighters and paramedics specifically, see some of the most horrific things you could ever see as a human. Because of that, they find themselves goofing off and finding excuses to laugh as often as possible. We strive to translate that on screen with every episode. I think that’s a quintessential part of the show, always being there to make each other laugh in the face of gruesome circumstances.

TITL: What first interested you in the role of Joe Cruz and how have you enjoyed his character arc and development as the show has gone on? 

JM: I was interested in any role that I can get when I got the role of Joe Cruz. I was just lucky enough to be hired. His name was originally Timothy Haze when I auditioned. Once I got the role, they changed the name to Joe Cruz. I would say if the character has evolved in anyway it would be more lighthearted than they originally planned. And maybe less of a ladies man.

TITL: The mid-season finale of the show is today, Wednesday 5th. Without obviously giving anything away, is there anything you can tease fans about what to expect from the episode in general and your character’s part in it?

JM: It’s actually a pretty big episode for Cruz. A girl he’s been seeing pretty seriously is involved in a major car crash. So the episode becomes about the emotional journey for Cruz as he has to navigate whether or not she will survive and also meeting her parents for the first time.

TITL: Any fun stories you can share from set this season? 

JM: I can say that Yuriy, along with my wife, planned a surprise party for my 40th birthday this year. Pretty much everyone from Fire and many people from the other Chicago shows were there. It was an incredible day filled with a treasure hunt, that led me to places from my past in the city. It ended with an incredible party at the Flamingo Rum Club with a Cuban band and dancers and drinks named after me. It really was insanely special.

TITL: You’ve also appeared in Shameless, Prison Break and Man of Steel, among several other big projects. Do you have any favourite memories or moments from your time on those sets?

JM: I just think it’s pretty funny when people ask me about Man of Steel and how impressed they are that I worked on that movie. I worked for one day, I am literally a blur on screen in that film. But it was incredible to be on such a big budget set. It was slightly overwhelming to see just how many people it took to take on an endeavor of that size. We were filming a major scene where a building basically falls on a bunch of citizens. I got to work with Laurence Fishburne. Tremendous experience.

TITL: Of the many projects you’ve been a part of, which might you say you’re most proud of? 

JM: Chicago Fire. I’ve had the opportunity to do the most varied work of my career on this show. I think Cruz is a really good guy with a big heart and that’s a lot of fun to play.

TITL: If you could appear in any other TV series, past or present, and not including the ‘Chicago’ group of shows, which would it be and why? 

JM: So many! The Wire, The Office, Breaking Bad, Westworld, Stranger Things, One Day At A Time, and Game of Thrones. I think the main reason for any of them is because they do amazing work in whatever regardless of genres. Whether comedy or drama or action, I consider them the pinnacle of what they do and it would be tremendously exciting to be a part of something like that.

TITL: Away from the screen, you’re involved with many charities and organizations notably Shriners Hospital For Children, the Salvation Army and WWF. How important is it to you that you’re able to give back and help the communities and people around you less fortunate than yourself, and speak out about issues that are important to you? Would you like to see more people in the public eye do the same? 

JM: I recognize that this job has given me something of a small platform where I can highlight causes that are important to me. I think it’s important for anyone who has a means to communicate with a large portion of the world, to be responsible and try to make that world a better place. Anything that I can be involved with that is helping children, or first responders is at the top of my priorities right now. I also recently lost my mother to a battle with cancer. So I have been trying to focus on cancer organizations that are working on raising money and awareness. The way I see it, if you have a pretty good lot in life, you have to reach out and help those who don’t.

TITL: Being on such a demanding show such as Chicago Fire must take a toll, so how do you unwind after a long shoot or hectic filming schedule comes to an end?

JM: My wife and I are big-time homebodies. We love to sit on the couch and either watch TV or listen to music or play board games. I would say during hiatus though, we try and take advantage of traveling when we can. My wife loves the outdoors and has turned me into something of a nature lover myself. we do our best to find waterfalls wherever we can.

TITL: What advice would you give to anyone just starting out in the entertainment business? Is there anything you wish you’d been told, or comment/piece of advice you always come back to and reflect on? 

JM: Be true to yourself. Be confident in your art.  Arrive prepared but ready to play. Be a professional but also a friend.

TITL: Are there any other projects in the pipeline you can tell me about? 

JM: Fire takes up a lot of the year but I’ve been meeting with writers about directing something, and I’m currently working on a pilot script with Christian Stolti and Yuri Sardarov. Just laying foundations for a future project.

TITL: Finally then, the holidays are just around the corner, as is 2019. What are your plans for the festive period and what does the new year have in store for you personally and professionally? 

JM: Spending time with the family. And resting as much as possible. I’m excited to have this year over with!  It was a rough year for me personally and I am happy to have the opportunity for a reset. Things feel like they are in an upswing though.  I’m very excited to have recently signed on with Abrams Artist and the opportunities that will bring. I look forward to cultivating a path forward with them and hope to see big things happen in 2019!

The mid-season finale of Chicago Fire airs tonight at 9/8c on NBC in the US and you can follow Joe on Twitter. Header photo credit: Brant Brogan.

ITV ANNOUNCES FESTIVE SEASON HIGHLIGHTS 0 64

ITV has a stocking full of Christmas and New Year treats for viewers this year, including new drama, Christmas specials of viewer favourites, new documentaries, entertainment events and free to air film premieres.

Brand new one-off drama, Torvill & Dean (Christmas Day, 9.15pm), premieres this Christmas on ITV. Starring Will Tudor (Game Of Thrones, Humans) and Poppy Lee Friar (Ackley Bridge, In The Club) as the iconic leads, the feature-length film explores Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean’s early years and the creative impetus that finally drove them to become ice dancing royalty. Written by acclaimed film, television and theatre writer, William Ivory (Made in Dagenham,Burton and Taylor), the one-off drama will follow the pair’s humble beginnings and family life in Nottingham and how they came together to become Olympic champions.

Also this Christmas, ITV brings viewers the free-to-air premiere of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (December 30th 8pm), plus festive favourite Elf (December 16th, 6pm) will back on television for its premiere on ITV.

Viewers will also have the chance to watch the classic 1984 Gremlins (Christmas Eve, 9.30pm) which will follow The Keith and Paddy Picture Show: Gremlins (Christmas Eve, 9pm), in which which Keith Lemon and Paddy McGuinness recreate the iconic movie with the help of an all-star cast. For this festive one-off they recreate the 80’s classic with guest stars including Zach Galligan, Kara Tointon, John Thomson, Su Pollard, Les Dennis and Arthur Bostrom. Further comedy comes in the form of a Bad Move – Festive Cheer Christmas special starring Jack Dee and Kerry Godliman (Christmas Eve 8.30pm).

There will be Christmas specials of shows including Through The Christmas Keyhole (December 14th, 9pm), The Jonathan Ross Christmas Show (December 22nd, 9pm), What Would Your Kid Do? (December 23rd, 7pm), The Chase: Bloopers (December 23rd, 8pm), Judge Rinder’s Christmas Kids Court (Christmas Eve 5.30pm), Tipping Point: Lucky Stars Christmas Special (29th December 7pm) and Paul O’Grady for The Love of Dogs Christmas (Christmas Day, 5.55pm).

It will be an eventful Christmas in ITV’s soaps this year, for Coronation Street and Emmerdale. In Emmerdale Jessie’s planning a surprise festive wedding with Marlon Dingle, but will she manage to dupe the unsuspecting groom and get him down the aisle? With such secretive plans for the nuptials and Marlon believing he’s doing the catering, Sam thinks he might be the lucky groom. With one misunderstanding after another will Jessie and Marlon exchange their vows and seal their partnership with a kiss under the mistletoe?

Meanwhile Bob is facing a bleak Christmas alone in his room at the B&B, following his break up from Laurel. Beyond the point of crying, Bob is a shadow of his former self and it’s clear Christmas has well and truly broken him. It is the season of goodwill to all men, but Bob isn’t feeling festive. Will 2019 bring him health, happiness and prosperity?

In Coronation Street affairs of the heart will set pulses racing in Weatherfield as the residents get into the festive spirit. But as families gather and glasses are raised will there be peace on the cobbles or will anyone find themselves on the naughty list?

Johnny’s infidelity with Liz is still playing on Jenny’s mind and, having overdone the Christmas spirit, the Rovers’ landlady does something she will live to regret. With Sally behind bars for the festive season Gina is enjoying her time with Tim, perhaps a little too much. Meanwhile, Daniel is determined to make this a Christmas to remember for him and his pregnant wife Sinead.

At the Platts’ Audrey has a surprise for her dysfunctional family and at Bessie Street Primary School, Bran hosts a nativity with a difference that leaves the pupils and parents open mouthed, just not necessarily for the right reasons.

Entertainment treats this Christmas include The Royal Variety Performance (December 11th, 7.30pm) this year hosted by Greg Davies, an unforgettable evening of the best UK and international musical performers, extraordinary theatre and brilliant comedy as well as a number of surprises along the away. Stars lined up to appear include one of the UK’s biggest bands, the multi-award-winning Take That, the West End cast of the phenomenal hit musical Hamilton, chart topper George Ezra, award winners Clean Bandit, West End cast of Tina – The Tina Turner Musical and the legendary Andrea Bocelli & his son Matteo.Also taking to the stage are, Britain’s Got Talent winner, comedian The Lost Voice Guy, a special performance from Rick Astley, comedian Rhod Gilbert, the mesmerising Cirque Du Soleil, plus music from Sigrid and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Circus 1903 will be unveiling their unique and beautifully crafted performances with their extraordinary elephant puppetry, and there will be more comedy from stand up comedians Gad Elmaleh and Rod Woodward.

In the run up to Christmas ITV will celebrate 20 Years of The Black Eyed Peas (December 22nd, 10pm), with Joanna Lumley presenting a one-hour special featuring exclusive performances of some of the global super group’s greatest hits. A whole host of international celebrities and faces from the music industry, as well as the friends and family that have shaped their lives, will share their insights into the group and what makes them such a unique and special act. Away from the bright lights on stage, the show will take a look back at how The Black Eyed Peas came to be.

Best Christmas Ever with Alexander Armstrong (December 16th, 9pm) is a one-off festive special, hosted by TV favourite Alexander Armstrong where he’ll be joined by some very special celebrity guests, all on a mission to find out what really makes the best Christmas ever. Much like the big day itself, there will be games, sing-along and polite but firm disagreement as our celebrity guests battle it out to crown the best Christmas food, song, movie and much, much more.

Plus Olly Murs will be heading back to his Essex roots as he takes over an entire pub to put on a jam-packed night of games, chat and performances of all his biggest hits. As he celebrates a decade at the top with his sixth album, You Know I Know, Happy Hour with Olly Murs (December 15th, 9pm) will be the ultimate homecoming party with a specially invited audience of friends, family and famous faces. With the bar packed to the rafters, there will be laughs aplenty as Bradley Walsh – who Olly affectionately calls his ‘showbiz dad’ – is pub landlord for the night. Emma Willis will be the resident Karaoke Queen as she hosts special singalongs for any game guests that choose to step up to the mic and entertain the crowd. Fellow Voice coach Sir Tom Jones will be dropping in to join in the fun and there will be a very special exclusive duet from Jennifer Hudson and Olly.

In The Big Soap Quiz: Coronation Street v Emmerdale (December 21st, 9pm) hosted by Stephen Mulhern, the casts of the two soaps will battle it out to find out who knows their soap best. Headed by team captains Jack P Shepherd and Mark Charnock, which soap will lift the trophy this year?

In Bradley Walsh: When Dummies Took Over The World (December 29th, 9pm) Bradley Walsh tells the fascinating story of Britain’s most famous puppet stars including Orville, Emu, Sooty, Lord Charles, Dicky Mint, Spit the Dog, and Nookie Bear. They were once the stars of Saturday night TV, but what happened when the limelight faded? Bradley Walsh discovers where they are now and brings together some of them for a very special reunion.

And Re-Play 2018 with Richard Osman will see Richard Osman and Scarlett Moffatt join forces for a brand-new quiz testing the nation’s best-loved celebrities on the most-talked about events of the year where the winner doesn’t have to be clever, they just need to have been paying attention.

Singing superstar Alfie Boe returns to present this year’s Christmas Carols on ITV (Christmas Eve). An array of stars including Ruby Turner, Claire Richards and Rebecca Ferguson will sing in Christmas day during this very special evening of celebration and commemoration which will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Brand new documentaries this Christmas include a chance to relive an unforgettable World Cup for England in World Cup: Summer of Love (December 19th, 9pm). Gareth Southgate and his team helped unite and delight the nation as they made it through to the semi-finals in Russia. The memorable story is retold by the manager and players inside the camp and complemented by the insights of those who followed their journey back home, including Piers Morgan, Susanna Reid and Sir Clive Woodward.

Over the last eight years Long Lost Family has reunited over 200 relatives desperate to find that one person missing from their lives, to make their family complete. Now for the first time many of these families are brought together under one roof, to celebrate Christmas and the joy of finally being together, after the agony of years apart. Long Lost Family Christmas Reunion (December 17th, 9pm) will find out what it means to spend your first Christmas with your loved ones and reflect on how lives have changed for people since finding their relatives, with some guests meeting new family members for the very first time during the programme.

Plus, Global Adventurer Bear Grylls will take on the wild with England football manager Gareth Southgate for an ITV special, Bear’s Mission with Gareth Southgate (December 20th, 9pm). The leader of the Three Lions squad and former Premier League player will swap the football field for some of the UK’s toughest terrain, to tackle the ultimate challenge, as he joins Bear on a mission across some of the country’s most rugged, unspoilt moorlands. Bear’s mission will test Gareth’s composure and poise under pressure, as they battle the wilderness together.

Film highlights on ITV this Christmas also include Monsters Inc (Christmas Day 4.10pm), Casino Royale (December 23rd, 9pm), Quantum of Solace (December 26th, 8pm), Skyfall (December 27th, 8pm) and Spectre (December 31st, 8pm).

Plus on ITV2 Keith Lemon takes a look back at all the best, most-juiciest bits of Celebrity Juice’s illustrious 10-year history in Celebrity Juice: 10 Years of Best Bits (December 20th, 10pm). So expect to see all the best games, gags and mayhem from 10 years of Celebrity Juice. And in Love Island: The Christmas Reunion (December 17th, 9pm) ITV2 is bringing the cast back together one last time for a festive reunion. Hosted by Caroline Flack and with voiceover from Iain Stirling, this is the perfect Christmas present for Love Island fans.

The new year starts on ITV with a brand new series Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? (January 1st, 9pm) which see’s Jeremy Clarkson return as host following the success of the anniversary specials, and also the launch of Bradley Walsh & Son: Breaking Dad (January 2nd 8pm), which sees actor Bradley Walsh and his 20-year-old son Barney hitting the road together for a brand-new four-part series, travelling over 2000 miles from Los Angeles to New Orleans. They might be father and son but when it comes to travelling they are worlds apart, with Bradley keen to relax while Barney wants to live life a little more on the edge. Worried his old man is too stuck in his ways, Barney has decided to take matters into his own hands with an adventurous trip that his dad will never forget.