Steven Spielberg has confessed to an unlikely fascination with The X Factor.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker was so hooked on the ITV1 singing competition while filming War Horse in the UK last year that he even gave up precious sleep time to watch Simon Cowell and the other judges.

“My family became completely infatuated with The X Factor. We watched it all the time,” he told Empire.

“I wanted to go to sleep because I was shooting, but I’d wind up watching instead of sleeping. I became a sappy devotee.”

Steven – whose latest film The Adventures Of Tintin is now in cinemas – described Simon as being ‘horrendous’ to American contestants when he was a judge on American Idol.

“I couldn’t believe how nice Simon Cowell was to his fellow Brits and how horrendous he had been to all the Americans,” the director continued.

“What an attitude adjustment! Having watched and enjoyed American Idol for years with my children, and then watching a whole new Simon Cowell dealing with his own brethren in the UK, I said, ‘Wow, this guy has changed his stripes!'”