Tuesday 20 March 2018

Walsh slams Cowell on 2007 sacking

X Factor judge Louis Walsh is quitting the talent show after this year's series
X Factor judge Louis Walsh is quitting the talent show after this year's series

Louis Walsh has said that Simon Cowell sacking him because of ageism was a "big mistake" - and that getting a lap dance from Robbie Williams was a favourite X Factor moment.

The Irish judge, 61, who has announced that he will be quitting the talent show after this year's series, was axed in 2007 but quickly reinstated.

He told the Radio Times that his return to the ITV show - and the moment pop star Williams gave him a lap dance last year - were two of his on-screen highlights.

"Big mistake. I was gutted," Walsh said of the sacking. "I couldn't believe I was off the show - me and (presenter) Kate Thornton. I was sure I was safe."

The star, who has previously blamed ageism, said: "Somebody in ITV got into Cowell's ear, and told him to make it younger and fresher. It was an age thing."

Walsh was replaced by US dancer and choreographer Brian Friedman before he was asked to return.

He told the magazine: "They gave Brian Friedman the job, who was brilliant as a choreographer, but he wears these silly clothes all the time. (Judge) Sharon (Osbourne) sent me a text on day one saying, 'It's not working. You could get your job back.'

"Then I had to wait. Simon rang me and said: 'There is a possibility that you could come back,' but then he said, 'You cannot tell anybody.' You can't tell me not to tell anybody. I like to tell!"

He said his other X Factor highlights were Osbourne drenching him with water in 2005, the success of boyband JLS, twins Jedward singing a Britney Spears number as well as getting a lap dance from Williams.

The singer gave Walsh a lap dance while performing his song Candy on the X Factor results show.

"That's what makes Robbie interesting," Walsh said.

"He goes out there, and he has no fear, and he'll do whatever he has to do with the audience to get them going. That's what he has. That's why he fills out stadiums.

"I didn't look. I was like, 'Oh my God, what am I going to do?' What do you do? The whole country is watching. You just sit there and enjoy it, it's the only thing you can do.

"All the great artists are a bit crazy. And that's good. I like that. Crazy's good."

He said of the incident with Osbourne: "I said, 'Are you taking Ozzy's drugs?' or something, and she went crazy.

"It was a terrible thing to do. A live show, all these wires and electricity, and water?! I could've been electrocuted! But that's Sharon. She's good TV. You never know what she's going to say or do.

"I wouldn't provoke her now, no. I know the no-go areas. Her family are her number one priority. And I like her too much. Even when she wasn't on the show, we kept in touch all the time. We talk every few weeks. She calls me at three in the morning. She'll know I'm up watching TV. "

Press Association

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