The X Factor is a television talent show franchise originating in the United Kingdom, where it was devised as a replacement for Pop Idol. It is a singing competition, now held in various countries, which pits contestants against each other. These contestants are aspiring pop singers drawn from public auditions. The programs are produced by executive producer Simon Cowell and his company Syco TV. The "X Factor" of the title refers to the undefinable "something" that makes for star quality. The prize is usually a recording contract, in addition to the publicity that appearance in the later stages of the show itself generates, not only for the winner but also for other highly ranked contestants.