Louis Walsh hints at X Factor return but insists Belfast not half the fun of Dublin
Louis Walsh has no plans to change his mind after claiming Dublin is more fun than Belfast.
As he launched the Circuit of Ireland Rally in Belfast yesterday the pop mogul also hinted he could return to The X Factor.
Walsh found himself out of favour here last month after claiming in an interview that the Titanic City trailed behind the Fair City when it came to the craic.
"What I said was Dublin is more fun than Belfast, and I stick to that," he said.
"Dublin is more fun than most places in the world. It's more fun than Glasgow or Manchester or Birmingham or anywhere."
He added: "Dublin is just the best place in the world - that's the truth whether you like it or not. You know it's true."
Speculation over Walsh's next career move grew this week after X Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini quit the show to focus on her music career.
Asked if he was returning to the judging panel, Walsh said: "There's a good chance, but I'm not saying officially I am. I've nothing signed. I'd like to go back if Sharon Osbourne came back.
"Simon, Sharon and I are good fun. That would be like the dream team, and maybe Nicole Scherzinger or Rita Ora. I've not signed, but I'm talking to them."
While the talent show has seen its viewing figures plummet in the past year, Walsh insisted he was confident that he could help boost the ratings.
"It's been on for about 12 years now," he said. "Every show has to change, you know, and make things a bit different. I think if Sharon, Simon and I were there, we would make it fun again."
Ahead of the Belfast auditions for the show later this month, Walsh added: "Belfast has some of the most amazing musicians. One of my favourite musicians in the world is from Belfast, Van Morrison. You have Snow Patrol, too.
"The talent is there in the North. They just need to take a chance and go for the auditions.
"I'd love someone from Belfast, and from Dublin, absolutely, because the talent is there.
"It's tough, but if they're good enough I'd definitely put them through. I always put Irish people through, even if they're bad!"
Walsh was also in Newry yesterday for the opening of a newly refurbished Specsavers store. He has spoken about suffering from hearing loss in recent years and has urged others not to be embarrassed to get a hearing test.
His visit was a huge thrill for 11-year-old Daniel Fegan from Newry, who was celebrating his birthday.
Daniel's mother Sharon, director of the Specsavers store, said Louis secretly admitted to her that he had agreed to return to The X Factor.
"It was fantastic," she added. "We only got a few quiet words because he was only just home from America.
"He was saying he was with Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne. He said: 'I can't really say yet, but yes, I am doing The X Factor again'."
Sharon added the visit was the perfect present for Daniel.
"He had a great time," she said. "Daniel has special needs but loves music. He enjoyed meeting Louis and enjoyed the atmosphere and the excitement.
"Louis was very happy to take a photograph. He also signed the birthday card. Daniel was just happy to sit and take it all in and enjoy the atmosphere."
The Belfast auditions for The X Factor will be held at the Victoria Square Shopping Centre on April 18