Are Louis Walsh’s X Factor ‘suggestions’ somewhat premature?

Walsh thinks Cheryl should "go away" and wants Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger back on the panel alongside Simon Cowell and himself. But is the former judge counting his chickens a bit too early, asks Emma Daly

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Louis Walsh seems intent on reigniting his on/off spat with X Factor judge Cheryl by suggesting she should leave X Factor.

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“Cheryl needs a rest,” the former judge told Daily Star. “She’s lost a bit of energy, she should go away, make a record and maybe record another hit.”

It comes as Walsh once again addresses rumours he’s returning to the shiny-floored show after just a one-year absence. The music manager says he’d go back if the “right people” were on the panel, which he deems to be himself, Simon Cowell and former judges Nicole Scherzinger and Sharon Osbourne.

Oh yeah, Rita Ora, you’re out too apparently.

It’s an interesting tactic from a judge who was dropped from the show. He’ll come back if the right people are there? Has Walsh considered he might not actually be wanted? Getting rid of him didn’t see viewing figures shoot up, but he’s been there through the highs and lows, too. A consistent marker of success he is not. The 2010 heyday – yes, the year of One Direction – had both Walsh and Cheryl on the panel.

Walsh and Cheryl have clashed multiple times over the years. The former Girls Aloud manager has made digs about the singer being “irrelevant”, while Cheryl has admitted things have been “frosty” between them in the past.

But perhaps Walsh can speak so confidently because he’s getting firm assurances from Cowell that he’s got a spot on the panel? There is, after all, space. There’s at least one certain vacancy after Walsh’s own replacement Nick Grimshaw announced he’s not returning. In fact, according to Walsh, Cowell wanted him to come back mid-way through last year’s series. The former judge insists it was he himself who felt it would be “odd” to have five judges.

It’s true that some were vocal about last year’s show missing Walsh’s traditional ‘you remind me of a young’ catchphrases. And he proved he was still very much in the fold, returning in various comedy slots – including cleaning Cowell’s floor – in the promo clips and the opening of the final.

Cowell himself told us he does “love working with Louis”. But he wasn’t shy of scoffing when we suggested that there was a desire to see him return. 

“I wouldn’t say everyone wants him back,” Cowell chuckled. “Some people did, then a lot of people don’t.” 

Perhaps Walsh shouldn’t count his chickens just yet? 

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The X Factor returns to ITV later this year