Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne Tout 10th U.K. Season of 'X Factor'
LONDON – The X Factor creator Simon Cowell and the judges of the U.K. edition of the music competition, including Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger and Gary Barlow, on Thursday touted this weekend's return of the show to ITV.
It will be the series' 10th season.
Cowell made a surprise appearance at the season's press launch event here, which included edited portions from the season premiere. "It was absolutely incredible," he said, explaining that it was the first time he had seen the edited version. The producers said they are still putting the finishing edit touches on the first episode.
Cowell said it would be easy to play things safe in the show's 10th season, but instead the production team tweaked the format, adding a second audition round in front of an audience, among other things. Cowell lauded the first look at the latest season for "the enthusiasm, the changes, the judging talent [that] is fantastic." He added: "This feels fresh and fantastic. I feel like a proud daddy."
The judges, who also include show veteran Louis Walsh, said Cowell is keeping a very careful eye on the show. Even though he is in L.A. for much of the shoots, he provides input on the footage he sees.
The question of whether Cowell might return to X Factor as a judge next season after not appearing on the show for the past two years (during which time ratings dropped in the U.K.) did not come up on Thursday.
But Osbourne was asked if she was there to save the show and boost ratings. After all, she had been on the show as a judge with Cowell in the past. "It's not my thing, the ratings," she replied. "It's about the show being good -- and it's great."
BBC competitor Strictly Come Dancing last season beat X Factor in the ratings many weeks.
Asked if she watched X Factor in recent seasons, Osbourne said with a laugh: "I only watch when I'm in it."
All the judges said they were excited to be on the show and said they all get along well and like spending time together even outside of work.
ITV director of television Peter Fincham said in introducing Thursday's event that X Factor has had "a fantastic run" and lauded its "incredible track record" for discovering musical talent, including boy band One Direction. "No other U.K. show has brought out that number of talents," he said, before quipping, "or any talents."
Asked what they would sing in an audition for a talent show, Scherzinger mentioned Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy." Barlow and Walsh picked Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," while Osbourne quipped: "The Bitch Is Back."