‘I never want to hear Summertime ever again!’

When it comes to The X Factor, judges Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and new addition Dannii Minogue are just as entertaining as the contestants. Their diva-style disagreements make for great viewing, especially as they battle to ensure that their act wins the contest. We quizzed the four judges on the new series, the auditions and – most importantly – each other.

Dannii Minogue is joining the judges for the fourth series ofThe X Factor. What does she bring to the panel?
Simon: Dannii is a great addition to the show. She’s been in the business since she was a child, so she has a lot of valuable experience. Plus she’s far better looking than Louis!
Louis: I think she’s brought something younger and edgier to the show. She’s very opinionated, listens to an awful lot of music and knows what she likes.

How do you all entertain each other on those long audition days?
Dannii: We spend the day catching up on gossip and trying to wind each other up. It’s like being on school camp. Louis giggles more than a girl so we’ve nicknamed him “Louise”. Sharon is “fabulous” and the two of us are in constant competition to see who has the highest platforms and the most bling. With Simon, we all try to stay out of his way when he’s slaying people with his honesty…
Sharon: I love the audition days. I’m never really aware of how long the days are, as I get too involved with what I’m doing.

As the show progresses and each judge is assigned acts to mentor, is the friendly banter going to be replaced by fierce competition?
Simon: We’ve been working as a team at the auditions, but once we get to the live studio shows the competition between us will increase – especially from Louis who is one of the most competitive people I’ve ever met. Sharon has never won a series so I’m sure she’ll be determined to get one over on me this year.
Sharon: It is a bit early to say, but I know I am as competitive as hell. I want to win!
Louis: I’m hoping to wipe the smile off Simon’s smug face and win another series!

Which category are you hoping to get this year: Girls 14-24, Boys 14-24, 25 and over, or Groups?
Simon: The winning one!
Dannii: We’ve seen some amazing groups. I hope we can find the next Spice Girls, and for the first time ever I think all the judges secretly want this category.
Louis: I DON’T want the groups! I’ve had them twice in three years and I don’t want them again. I want something different this year.
Sharon: I would love one of the younger categories.

Simon fired and re-hired Louis in the months leading up to this series. Is your disagreement a thing of the past, or is there still some tension between you?
Louis: It’s fantastic to be back. I would have missed the show. I know Sharon would have missed me, and Simon would have too but he probably wouldn’t admit it. We get on very well, but we’re very competitive.
Simon: It’s great having Louis back. If I am honest, Sharon and I did miss not having him on the panel.

After auditioning 150,000 acts for this series alone, are there any songs you never want to hear again?
Sharon: Yes, and the list is: Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Smile, Hero and Mustang Sally.
Dannii: I probably won’t want to hear Somewhere Over The Rainbow or Summertime for as long as I live!

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