Friday 21 October 2016

'Simon should take it off air for a year' - Dermot O'Leary on X Factor crisis

Published 12/01/2016 | 10:03

Dermot O'Leary, bringing the X Factor to Wexford's new TV advertisement.
Dermot O'Leary, bringing the X Factor to Wexford's new TV advertisement.

Former X Factor host Dermot O'Leary thinks Simon Cowell should take the show off air for a year and take it back to its original format.

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The ITV talent show's recent season struggled to reach its previous viewing figures, with just over seven million watching the show's launch compared to nine million in 2014.

O'Leary told the Radio Times: "If I was Simon I'd take it off air for a year. I'd rest it, and then I'd get back to the rooms. For me it was always room, arena, boot camp."

The X Factor previously featured in-room auditions where the prospective contestants sang solely for the judges, but these were replaced by arena auditions in front of a live audience.

Recent years have also seen the introduction of the Six Chair Challenge, where the contestants are whittled down and must give up their chairs when the judges decide another singer is better.

"I was really uncomfortable about the Six Chair Challenge," O'Leary said. "I don't think it's a particularly nice bit of television."

Olly Murs and Caroline Flack
Olly Murs and Caroline Flack

On his decision to quit, he said: "I lived for the live shows. And I was still having fun doing them, but it got to the point where I couldn't develop anything else. And you've only got one life, haven't you?"

The X Factor final featuring Louisa Johnson's win was watched by 8.4m people in the UK, a drop of 700,000 on 2014.

"I know where they've gone, they've gone ans watched Strictly," he said, adding, "One of the reasons people like Striclty is because it's a very warm show."

He also addressed the mistakes new hosts Caroline Flack and Olly Murs have made on the show.

"You never want other people to fail, btu sometimes you need a few cock ups to remind people it's a finely honed craft."

The TV presenter is just about to return to screens with his new series The Getaway Car, which sees contestants taking on assault courses guided by their loved ones. The contestants who make it to the final round get to take on the Stig for a £10,000 prize.

He explained: "At its heart, it's Total Wipeout with an element of Gogglebox chucked in."

This week's Radio Times goes on sale on Tuesday January 12. The Getaway Car begins on BBC One on January 16.

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