The seventh UK series of The X Factor was broadcast on ITV between 21 August and 12 December 2010. The final 12 were declared on 3 October 2010. Four wildcards were announced on the first live show of the finals on 9 October 2010, bringing the number of finalists up to 16.
The Boys category was mentored by Dannii Minogue. Contestants in this category are males aged 16 to 28. The eight candidates were Karl Brown, Matt Cardle, Nicolò Festa, Aiden Grimshaw, Marlon McKenzie, Tom Richards,, Paije Richardson and John Wilding.
The Girls category was mentored by Cheryl Cole. Contestants in this category are females aged 16 to 28. The eight candidates were Keri Arrindell, Annastasia Baker, Treyc Cohen, Rebecca Ferguson, Cher Lloyd, Gamu Nhengu, Raquel Thomas and Katie Waissel.
The Over 28s category was mentored by Louis Walsh. Contestants in this category are of either sex, aged 29 or over. There is no upper age limit. The eight candidates were John Adeleye, Mary Byrne, Wagner, Stephen Hunter, Justin Vanderhyde, Storm Lee, Yuli Minguel, and Elesha Moses.
The Groups category was mentored by Simon Cowell. Acts in this category are duos or vocal groups. All members must be aged 16 or over. The eight candidates were Belle Amie, Diva Fever, F.Y.D., Husstle, One Direction, Princes & Rogues, The Reason ( since 2011 named The Reason 4) and Twem.