Belfast Telegraph

Simon Cowell 'didn't feel great' about The X Factor 2015 criticism

Simon Cowell admits the lukewarm reaction to the 2015 judging line-up didn't "feel great".

Simon Cowell knew the 2015 series of The X Factor would be a struggle as soon as the line-up was announced.

The music mogul recruited pop stars Rita Ora, Cheryl and radio DJ Nick Grimshaw as judges while previous The X Factor runner-up Olly Murs co-hosted with presenter Caroline Flack last year (15) and Simon knew he was in for a tough ride that year following the lukewarm reception to the line-up.

“When we announced the new (2016) line up compared to last year, it was 95% positive, no one was saying it was a mistake and that was what we were getting last year," he told Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper. "I mean the minute we announced it (2015 line-up), it was like, 'f**k, this doesn’t feel great, let’s see how it goes'. But it was tough."

The 2015 series was critically panned and a ratings disappointment so Simon overhauled the panel and brought back old judging favourites - Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger - plus returning host Dermot O'Leary, and Simon already feels more positive.

“This year has been a hoot, it has been fun back working with the three of them," he adds.

Louis had been on the show since it began in 2004 but he was replaced for the 2015 series and he publicly gloated about it failing without his presence. Simon has admitted Louis would call him weekly to laugh about the ratings.

“It became so frequent I knew when the call was coming in and I would put him on loudspeaker and read a magazine and he would be screaming and shouting down the phone ‘It is not this, it is not that,'" he continues. “And I was like: ‘Louis I am doing the best I can.'"

The 2016 series is set to launch later in August (16) and Simon has promised a shake-up in the live show stage, telling Britain's The Sun newspaper, "They are fun devices. I want to make it more Saturday night friendly."

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