Simon Kicks Up A Cold War: The Panel Has Never Been Frostier!

dm-judges-xThings 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?

The thing about Cheryl is that she has that likeability factor,’ says Simon. ‘When a contestant walks into a room they just immediately like her and warm to her. Louis? Not so much’. Ouch. The next question, given that poor Louis seems to be such a whipping boy, has to be ‘Why is he here then?’ ‘Ah well, he is a good manager and he knows the business,’ says Cowell. ‘You don’t sell 100 million records by accident.’
Simon address the well documented sacking of Cheryl from the American X Factor ‘I made a mistake in not telling her myself,’ he admits today. ‘But Cheryl has gone on record herself saying she wasn’t mentally ready for that show. It happens, but I had no doubt that she would slot back in. She was incredible on the British show, and this time around she’s even better.’
Cheryl responds saying, ‘Simon can be great but he can also be really irritating,’ she says rolling her eyes. ‘We work very long days on the X Factor and sometimes he really winds me up. He knows what buttons to press.’ So far the two have come to blows over the decision to lower the audition age to 14. Cheryl told one contestant he should be concentrating on exams rather than singing contests.

‘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.

‘But I do bath him, occasionally, and I feed him and play with him. He is starting to laugh and recognises me. Most of the time he’s a happy baby.’ I wonder whether Cheryl’s shotgun marriage has given him any thoughts in that direction with Lauren Silverman, Eric’s mother. ‘We’ll have to wait and see,’ he grins.

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.’

Read the full interview in Weekend Magazine
X Factor returns to our screen Sat 30th August.



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