Simon Cowell admits Jennifer Phillips was original choice for X Factor live shows

“It’s been a very controversial 48 hours,” Cowell admits, but says he’s 100% happy with his final decision

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Simon Cowell has revealed fan-favourite Jennifer Phillips was originally in his final line-up for this year’s X Factor live shows.

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The Overs category mentor made it clear on Saturday night’s show that it was a last minute decision to change his mind and bring Max Stone in. Of who he’d decided to swap out, Cowell confessed: “Yeah, Jennifer.”

But Cowell said he’s “100%” sure of adding Max alongside Bupsi and Anton Stephans.

“I felt it in the room,” Cowell told RadioTimes.com backstage after tonight’s show. “If I was watching, that’s who I would have gone with.”

Agreeing Max had somewhat of a ‘Fleur East moment’ – ie. grabbing Cowell’s attention at Judges’ Houses – Cowell continued:

“Exactly, and that’s what Judges’ Homes is all about. That’s an opportunity face-to-face. It’s been a very controversial 48 hours, I’ve got to be honest with you,” he laughed. “But, start again next week and then they’ve got a point to prove and we’ll see if we’ve made the right decisions or the wrong decisions.”

Of the new format, which saw the judges make their decisions live on air rather than while on location, it doesn’t look like the boss is keen for it to stick around.

“Probably not. It was hell,” Cowell admitted. “For the first time I now know what it feels like to be a contestant. On that stage listening to people boo you…”

Then again, he said it does have its advantages:

“This is the first time I’ve made a decision on Judges’ Houses as a member of the public. Normally I make it before I see it back and I always regret my decision, so this is easier in a way.”

Addressing rumours that next week’s live shows will include a guest judge, perhaps even One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson after his well-received appearance at Judges’ Houses, Cowell laughed:

“You are so far ahead of me. I think we’ll take 24 hours. Yeah Louis is cool. This time tomorrow we’ll make a decision.”

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The X Factor continues next Saturday and Sunday on ITV