Amanda, Simon, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams give an insight as to what we can expect from the show this year
First indications are that it's going to be a lame one, given Simon's heavy sighing about the acts he's been seeing. 'Well, there's some complete rubbish this year,' he says, before correcting himself. 'Let's find another word for “rubbish”. That's a bit rude. Shall we say “incredibly bad”? We had the most boring animal act in the world - a tortoise trying to break its own world record. I mean, how anyone thought that was going to be interesting I don't know.'
Then it transpires that he thinks rubbish/incredibly bad acts are a good thing for the show. 'You want that kookiness, don't you? We embrace that. The holy grails getting that balance between the brilliant and the ... weird.'
When asked by the Daily Mail what Simon feels about people like Ronan Keating suggesting the show should be 'rested' for a while. He hits back.
'I think you often find the people who say it's time to rest it are the people who should have a rest themselves.' He does admit though that there will be changes to The X Factor, suggesting that unpopular adaptations to the format might be shelved.
'The one thing I'm good at is listening,' he points out. 'I'm not arrogant in that respect. I do listen to the public. I'm not a fool. I know the things people like and the things they don't, and our job is to give them more of the things they do like.'
What of the challenge posed to both of his programmes by The Voice?
He's characteristically bullish about this, saying he's only ever watched The Voice 'for about five minutes'. Come off it! That simply can't be true. 'No, hand on heart. I can't watch it. I run a record label and the idea that I would audition someone with my back to them and have an electric chair which spins round if I like them, it's just ridiculous. I can't take it very seriously.'
But TV audiences love it, I argue. Isn't Cowell just jealous he hadn't thought of it? He laughs. 'Well, OK, maybe they should keep the chairs in the entire time. Of course it works, but personally I never want to see a revolving chair. I keep getting offered shows with chairs - chairs that are ejector seats with people being thrown out. But if you look at the numbers, The Voice doesn't rate as well as our shows and that's the bottom line.'
And Simon Cowell is all about ratings, and always has been. He gets animated when talking about the trend in TV for 'more and more older people watching'. 'It's fascinating. Countryfile is getting nine million viewers. Antiques Roadshow is getting seven million. Bake Off 14 million! But if it wasn't for The X Factor or BGT I don't believe there would be a Bake Off. It came out of the sort of programming we do.'
There's been some suggestion this year that the on-screen teasing has gone too far. Does he sometimes overstep the mark? Simon simply smiles. 'I know altheir weaknesses and when I'm bored I like to push their buttons - and they do react. I find that amusing.' He must have been an annoying child. 'I was! I still am. But if I'm annoying with someone it means I like them. If I ignore them then it means I don't.'
More entertaining still is David's take on his boss. He doesn't hold back either, moaning about Simon always being late, often being grumpy and pretty much acting like the Queen of Sheba. He lets slip that, in the past, Simon has expected filming of the early rounds to go on until the early hours, simply because it suits him.
Britain's Got Talent returns to ITV Saturday 9th April 7pm