Louis Walsh has said that Simon Cowell tried things on The X Factor “that didn’t really work” in previous years as the show returns for a celebrity version.
Walsh, who is making a comeback as a judge along with Nicole Scherzinger, also said the star-studded reboot of the singing show has had the “fun” put back into it, and that viewers will not believe “how good” the celebrities are.
Martin Bashir, Ricki Lake, Brendan Cole and several Love Islanders are among the 15 acts competing to win a record deal on the new edition of the ITV show.
Last year’s series, which had Robbie and Ayda Williams on the judging panel along with Louis Tomlinson, saw overnight audience figures plummet to some of their lowest in its 15-year history while rival show Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One continued to flourish.
Speaking ahead of the launch of The X Factor: Celebrity, Walsh said that he had no reservations about making his return.
He told the PA news agency: “I love the show. I watched it last year from home and, you know, it was different but I think the fun is back this year. I think just me, Simon and Nicole it’s going to be great.”
Of Cowell’s decision to revamp the show with celebrities, Walsh said: “People have to change and Coronation Street changes the cast every few years, you have to change and try different things.
“Simon tried a few things, you know, and it didn’t really work. So I’m back.”
Walsh, who was one of the longest-running judges on the show before stepping down in 2017, said he was “shocked” about the celebrity line-up.
“I didn’t really know, I thought it was going to be a lot of wannabes, but no they’re really good singers,” he said.
Presenter Dermot O’Leary also agreed with the reinvention of the programme, despite not always agreeing with Cowell’s decisions.
O’Leary said: “I thought we needed to do something, and I don’t agree with everything Simon does but where I’ll always stick up for Simon is, he’s brave, he does make brave calls.
“And he wanted to do something different and actually, as soon as we started, we shot a couple of shows in LA and pretty much on the first rehearsal day, we sort of looked at each other on the team – and most of us have been doing it for a while – and we looked at each other and went… this has got (something).
“I always think, if we’re enjoying it while we’re making it, then it normally translates at home.”
Scherzinger, who last appeared as an X Factor judge in the 2017 series, said that viewers will enjoy seeing people they recognise in a different way.
“These are people that we’re not used to seeing in this light, so it’s like a hidden talent of theirs,” the Pussycat Dolls star said.
“It’s household names and faces but you get to see them in a different light and with whole new talents.”
The series will also see stars including the Chase star Jenny Ryan, Coronation Street star Victoria Ekanoye and Glee actor Kevin McHale, and professional rugby players Thom Evans, Ben Foden and Levi Davis will make up the group called Try Star.
The X Factor: Celebrity will debut on ITV on October 12.