Simon Cowell was sporting some impressive new facial hair at the official launch of the X Factor 2015, which he says was a symbol of his ‘sense of freedom’.

The music mogul joined Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and new judge Nick Grimshaw on the red carpet at the Picturehouse Cinema in central London.

Simon Cowell on red carpet at X Factor launchSimon shows off his “sense of freedom” facial hair (Philip Toscano/PA)

 

By the way, Cowell insisted he was not trying to be ‘down with the kids’ after signing a new younger judging panel.

But back to the beard. He said: “I actually got lazy while I was on holiday and I thought I’d keep it. I’m sure it will come off in about a week.”

With the news that One Direction are taking a break, there will soon be a spot to fill for the world’s best boyband, but Simon said he is not looking to replace them with any of this year’s X Factor contestants.

Simon Cowell in sunglasses at X Factor launchSimon says he isn’t looking for the next big boy band (Philip Toscano/PA)

 

He said: “There’ll never be another a One Direction, and we shouldn’t think of it like that. They’ve had an amazing run.

“It’s not over yet. They’ve got some time off and they’ve got to decide what they want to do. But we’re going to support them whatever they do.”

In other X Factor news, Louis Walsh has left the judging panel after 11 years and Simon admitted he was missing his old pal.

He said: “I do miss him, but it was the right thing to do. We couldn’t keep doing the same thing over and over because it was kind of getting a bit predictable with Louis.

“He’s fine. I speak to Louis all the time and he’ll do something else. But Nick is doing an amazing job.”

Nick Grimshaw on the red carpet at X Factor launchNick Grimshaw is already doing an “amazing job” (Philip Toscano/PA)

 

Meanwhile, Cheryl admitted she is busy preparing herself not to get too emotional during the Judges’ Houses stages now that they will be broadcast live.

She said: “This is when I have to take previous experience into control. I’m going to try and set emotions aside and be fair on the people that are going through, rather than worrying about how horrible it is for me!”

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini on red carpet at X Factor launchCheryl gets ready to keep her emotions in check during live broadcasts (Philip Toscano/PA)

 

Also strutting their stuff at the launch were new presenting team Caroline Flack and Olly Murs, and The Xtra Factor hosts Rochelle Humes and Melvin Odoom.

Caroline Flack and Olly Murs on the red carpet at X Factor launchNew to the scene are Olly Murs and Caroline Flack (Philip Toscano/PA)

 

Rita Ora, who has also joined the judging panel for the new look 12th series, was not able to attend as she is on a promotional tour in the US.

The X Factor returns to ITV at 8pm on Saturday, August 29.