Sharon Osbourne may often be referred to as the Queen of the X Factor panel, even by former head judge Gary Barlow, but "there’s no him or her" insists Mrs O, they’re all getting along.
And while Osbourne says she thinks she’s “quite amazing” this year (she doesn’t watch when anyone else is on – “don’t be ridiculous”), she’s happy there isn’t one particular judge in charge.
“People find this hard to take, because it has become a sort of pantomime – who is the baddie, who is the goodie – and that’s all old crap. That was yesterday. That’s like old cheese," explained Osbourne at today’s X Factor launch.
“This is a panel of people who are two great artists, two great writer/performers, two amazing managers and it’s way beyond that. We have respect for each other. We actually like each other. There’s no him or her it’s just mutual respect.”
Given Osbourne’s history with previous fellow female judge Dannii Minogue – it seemed the pair simply couldn’t get along – Nicole Scherzinger says there’s nothing like that this year. “I’ve always loved her and for me she’s the Queen. It’s just a blessing and an honour to work with her and the other judges as well.”
All sounds a bit lovely and, ahem, boring doesn’t it? But as it turns out the judges do get a bit raucous off camera.
“This one with the wine” Osbourne said, pointing at Gary Barlow, “gets us legless”.
“After the show, ladies and gents – late at night,” Barlow was quick to add.
Louis Walsh, who will leave the show after this series, continued, “We genuinely get on well. It’s hard for everybody to believe that but we go out socially together. We have a really good time. We’re really honest with each other. That’s really true.”
And as the fuss around Osbourne’s return ran on, Walsh was asked if he was actually just leaving to come back in a few years and get the same royal treatment as Mrs O. He joked, “I might come back. If I’m asked. You have to be asked though.”