Simon Cowell made a surprise appearance at the X Factor auditions yesterday (08.07.11). The 51-year-old music mogul (pictured right) who departed the UK programme to launch the show in the US – arrived at London’s The O2 and asked the 10,000-strong crowd if he should rejoin the panel.
Referring to Louis Walsh, the only remaining original judge, he said: “Shall I take Louis’ seat?” The crowd cheered but Simon – who is still executive producer on the show – soon disappeared backstage.
A source said: “Simon is still very hands-on despite not being on the judging panel any more.”
While it is still unclear whether Simon will return for the live finals of the show – as he did with his other programme, Britain’s Got Talent – new ‘Xtra Factor’ co-host Olly Murs believes he could be on hand to assist new head judge Gary Barlow at the Judges Homes’ semi-final stage of the contest.
He told Alex James on his In Demand radio show: “I’m really intrigued to know who are going to be the mentors this year.
“You can kind of guess, but I kind of have a theory on who it will be. I think Gary is going to have Simon, possibly. I just feel that Simon will want to come back at some point, just to show his face.”
Meanwhile, Gary won applause from the crowd after paying £100 for a taxi home for a 70-year-old auditionee.
Ann Tunstall – who previously reached the boot camp stage of the competition – had used public transport to travel to the venue from her home in Brighton. But after her performance, Gary told her: “My assistant is down there and I’m going to get you a cab to take you back to Brighton.” What a nice guy!