Simon Cowell was miffed when Rita Ora joined The Voice: “I wanted her”

X Factor boss admits he wasn’t too pleased when the Body On Me singer joined the BBC show as he’d already tried to sign her up

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Simon Cowell has admitted he was put out when he saw Rita Ora had signed up as a coach on BBC’s The Voice, saying he’d wanted her on his own show.

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“We did have her first!” Cowell insisted, after Ora appeared as a guest judge on The X Factor in 2012.

“When I saw her on The Voice a couple of years later it was like, ‘How come they’ve got her? I wanted her’.”

Cowell says he questioned the Body On Me singer about it at the Brits and she told him he hadn’t actually asked her.

“I said, ‘I did, and to make it clear, I’m asking you again’. I never thought it would happen and then she came round to my house one night with her manager, and I got on so well with her. I said, ‘Do you want to do it?’ and she said, ‘I’m going to do it’. She never went back on her word. She belongs with The X Factor!”

Cowell said Ora’s a “revelation” on the panel and is different to how she was in 2012. “It was one of the first things she did and she was very shy, she was good, but not the Rita we have today.”

Of her move from The Voice, which has seen Paloma Faith slip into her vacant spinning chair, Ora says it was all about getting the timing right.

“There’s always been the hearsay of whether or not I’ll do it for the past three of four years in the papers. But it was all about timing for me. X Factor is a big deal to me, I wanted to make sure I was ready for it.

“[Cowell] told me about all the upcoming changes and what they are doing differently, you know, the different perspective they are giving X Factor. I’m a fan of it, I always have been. Being a guest judge in 2012 was so much fun and I missed that.”

Having her friend Nick Grimshaw sign up was a plus too she admits.

“It was a definite bump in my decision because he’s one of my best friends. I had a few chats with Grimmy about it, explained to him what I was worried or excited about and there were more pros than cons.” 

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The X Factor returns Saturday at 8:00pm on ITV