Things are frosty on X Factor this year, particularly between Cheryl and Louis, and Simon is Loving it!
Cheryl did not want Louis – who insisted he was leaving last year – back on the panel when she agreed to make her return. Simon overruled her; there are some benefits to being the boss. ‘I can’t imagine not having him here,’ he tells Weekend Magazine.
Simon, who seems delighted to have got them in the same room, if only to watch sparks fly, laughs uproariously. ‘Cheryl had it written into her contract that she can’t ever be alone with Louis,’ he grins. Cheryl doesn’t disagree. ‘Well we don’t like each other,’ says Cheryl. ‘I don’t think we ever did. We’ll work together, but there’s no love lost there.’
Louis, is a bit more diplomatic – to a point. ‘Let’s just say we are very different people. We agree to disagree. In a sense I suppose it’s good for the show. It would be very boring if we thought in the same way.
Indeed; it would be rather boring without all the fights, wouldn’t it? Clearly Simon – back on the panel after three years on his American version of the show – thinks so.
There’s an intriguing moment during our interview where I ask about some of the awful things Cheryl and Louis have said about each other over the years, and they brush it off, but Cowell – Chief Troublemaker, clearly – hits Google to find some of the juiciest gems, reading them out.
He is in his element with two panel members who may or may not end up throwing water over each other by the end of the series. Still, at least he’s candid about his mischief-making. ‘I think it is boring when people get on too much. The fact that these two don’t like each other is fun to watch, they have different personalities.’ How so?
‘I am still in two minds about this really,’ admits Simon. ‘And I think as a parent you think about it differently. There is an argument to say that they should be in school and I get why Cheryl said it. The other part of me thinks that if they are not going to try and get a deal on my show, they will be going elsewhere. If I can give them an opportunity because they are really good, that is to be encouraged.’
His six-month-old son Eric will be making his own appearance at the X Factor – although firmly behind the scenes. ‘He is very cute, so alert, a very cute little thing,’ Simon smiles sweetly. But he still hasn’t changed a nappy, ‘oh no darling, I think he will be beyond that stage before I have to do that,’ he says.
Simon admits he was disappointed with last year’s crop but thinks this year it will be better. ‘It’s the talent that really defines the show,’ he says.
‘Last year, it was ok, but it wasn’t my favourite year. I think it was very predictable right from the get-go who was going to win and once the live shows started Sam Bailey was in a different league to everybody else. Cheryl and I said if we had been mentoring Tamera Foster we would have got her into the final and that would have made it more exciting.’