Simon Cowell said how his mother – a former dancer – would have insisted that ‘the show must go on’:
“I thought about it long and hard. I gave myself two or three days and then… I know it sounds like a cliché, but having such a strong bond with my mum meant I knew exactly what she’d have said. It would have been ‘this is your show, you love the show, go back and do your job’.”
“She was a former dancer, very much 'the show must go on’. I think she’d have been disappointed if I’d said 'I’m not going to do it’.”
At the time, the show’s producers delayed filming for two days, as well as cancelling a further day to allow the head-judge to attend his mum’s funeral. But, as Simon says, going back to work actually helped him deal much better with the situation:
“I’m not going to lie. There were times it was incredibly difficult, but then there were other times I was able to switch my mind off and concentrate on what was happening and the contestants.”
“I know I’ll miss her every day, but I also know I’m incredibly grateful to have had her. She was an optimist, my mum, and I think I’ve got that in me as well.”
Simon Cowell also talks of the new judges Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw saying Nick will be the biggest surprise.
Talking to The Daily Mail he says 'This is the biggest-ever shake-up’ of the judging panel.'
‘I don’t like the term judges any more,’ Simon admits, I’ve got to find a new name. No, I’m kidding, but my point is that we’re trying to do things differently this year. There are so many shows now doing the same thing, it was time to do something different.'
Simon thinks Nick will be ‘the real surprise’. ‘He’s funny and he loves people. He’s interested in music, but not to the point where he’s a snob. And he’s amazing at getting people together. With him on the panel there is no tension, no awkwardness.’ As for the judges falling out making good television, Simon appears to have had a change of heart ‘When it was there, of course, I’d wind everyone up because I found it amusing.
But you can’t make people dislike each other if they don’t. And the worst thing that can happen – and I’ve seen this – is that when two judges don’t get on well, they just don’t talk to each other. Between takes there’s this really awkward silence.'
‘I don’t want people to have that perception of the show. If people get on well, they get on well. And Nick and Rita are old friends. They’re like naughty little school children.’
Nick Grimshaw talks about the banter between him and Simon, 'It’s terrifying. It does seem like you might have to learn a new language to understand the show this year. Not quite sure what ‘swag’ – as in ‘he’s got some swag’ – means? Well you’re going to hear that term a lot from the judging panel this time round. (It’s about being cool and confident with a swagger, grandma, get with the lingo.)‘
We had a contestant who was very swag but also very camp so we invented the word “sw-amp”,’ explains Nick. ‘So I’ve been joking that Simon is the pioneer of swamp, that he’s been rocking swamp for the past ten years. We just didn’t know it had a name.’
'Simon is dead cool, we did a photoshoot the other day and he sauntered on, did a few shots then said, “OK, we’re done here”. That is cool, that sort of confidence. And he’s the most anarchic person I know. I thought that on set he’d be quite contained and definitely the boss. He’s not. He’s hilarious and he loves a laugh.
The X Factor starts on Saturday 29th August.