Chart-topping boyband JLS have insisted their former X Factor mentor Louis Walsh is ‘essential’ to the show.

Ousted contestant Sami Brookes has suggested it may be time for the Irish judge – the only remaining judge of the previous series – to leave his seat on the judging panel, saying that she was unimpressed with the song choices he made for her.

Fellow judge Gary Barlow also criticised Walsh’s decision to let Brookes sing Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You, calling it ‘old-fashioned’.

But the 59-year-old judge had the full support of JLS, who were mentored by him in 2008.

Marvin Humes said at the preview launch for the group’s new album Jukebox, which was held at the unusual venue of a branch of Nandos in central London: “We don’t care what they are saying about him. I think that Louis is an essential judge on The X Factor. So we hope that Louis will be there for a very long time.

“Louis has been an incredible mentor for the entire competition at The X Factor. He’s still doing an incredible job.”

The group – Humes, Aston Merrygold, Jonathan ‘JB’ Gill and Oritse Williams – think it is only a matter of time before Simon Cowell returns.

“Everyone wants Simon to come back, and he should come back. He is Mr X Factor,” said Merrygold.

Humes added: “He’ll make a special appearance one day. Maybe he should have a golden chair, where he can sit and look at Louis and Gary, and tell them when to speak.”