Simon Cowell reveals his hopes for this year’s X Factor…

What are you looking for on this year’s show?
“Someone who stands out from the crowd. Someone who knows who they are and what they want to be – not people copying an artist who is already out there. I want them to be telling me what music we should be making for people their age – especially the younger ones. They have to be relevant.”

Have you had many memorable auditions this year and if so, can you tell us about them?
“There have been a lot of memorable ones this year for different reasons – you will know them when you see them. I don’t want to give away too much.”

Are there any things that auditionees do/say/sing which really annoy you?
“There are certain songs we hear over and over again at auditions and it really puts you off. Jason Mraz, Paulo Nutini, Kings of Leon and a few others. They can be great songs but when you have heard them 20 times already that day its off-putting.”

Anything else?
“I like it when people are totally honest about why they have entered. If you’ve entered because you want to get rich and famous then that’s great – just don’t pretend you’re doing it in memory of your dead dog. No one is going to believe you.”

How do you know when you’ve found someone with The X Factor?
“The reason we call the show The X Factor is because it’s more than just about singing voice. We could just as easily make a show where contestants send in tapes and we listen to the voices. All great artists are relevant. They have that steel in their eyes – it’s charisma, personality, being unique, entertaining, all those things rolled into one.”

How have the guest judges worked out this year? Has it added a new dynamic to the show?
“They have been great – each of them have been different in their own way and bought different perspectives to the auditions.”

Which category would you like to mentor this year and why?
“They each have their appeal – the winning one basically! Cheryl would be absolutely unbearable if she won again.”

Are you pleased with Joe McElderry’s progress for his new album?
“Really pleased yes. He’s grown in confidence. Some of the music is quite different to what you heard from him last year on the show but I’m really happy for him.”

How would you sum up this years show?
“I’m excited about it. It’s different in a lot of ways. Things have moved on and the show will reflect that.”

The X Factor begins on Saturday August 21 at 7.30pm on ITV1