Ideas of a porpoise-based competition in which viewers at home vote for the most talented to be released back into the wild may be what springs to mind upon hearing that headline.
But rest assured X Factor boss Simon Cowell has been planning on bringing the issue of dolphin captivity to a “mass audience” for quite some time before an apparent show controversy sparked a 7,000-strong petition.
Last week, Cowell apologised for a planned segment filmed by spin-off show The Xtra Factor, during which the final six boys of the competition were seen attending a dolphin show and swimming with the animals.
“Reading your tweets,” he posted on Twitter. “I had no idea Xtra Factor producers filmed with dolphins. This will NOT be showed on Saturday.”
“I think you all know my view on cruelty to animals so thank you all for your concern.”
I hope to announce a project in the near future which will bring the issues of dolphins and whales in captivity to a mass audience.Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) October 5, 2014
It's something we have been working on for a while.Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) October 5, 2014
On Sunday, he confirmed that a new project would be announced “in the near future”, based on highlighting the plight of whales and dolphins held in cramped, unnatural captive conditions, such as marine life centres.
Cowell has long been a supporter of animal rights group PETA.
In the past, the music mogul has fronted a campaign to stop dog owners from locking their pets in cars in the summer heat, and has lent his signature to protests against the wearing of fur.