Simon Cowell says Will Young took himself “too seriously” on Strictly Come Dancing

The X Factor boss had a dig at the former Pop Idol star

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Simon Cowell versus Will Young: it’s on! Again!

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Tensions are sure to rise between the decade-long frenemies after The X Factor head judge said that Young – who dropped out of Strictly Come Dancing in October for “personal reasons” – takes himself “too seriously”.

Cowell praised Ed ‘Gangnam’ Balls for his stint on Strictly, but told The Sun: “I have respect for Ed because anyone who can poke fun at themselves means they are a fun person. He didn’t take himself too seriously, unlike Will.” 

This comes after comments Young made on his second week on Strictly. He told host Claudia Winkelman: “I feel like I’m back on Pop Idol. I had a big flashback but there’s no Simon Cowell so that’s nice.”

In case you’d forgotten/were doing something better with your Saturday evening 14 years ago, this all stems from the time Young called Cowell out on a 2002 episode of ITV X Factor precursor Pop Idol. Before going on to win the show, Young clashed with Cowell after the Syco boss described one of his performances as “distinctly average”.

“I’ve got a vision of Sunday lunch and after Sunday lunch you say in front of your family ‘I’m now going to sing a song for you’,” Cowell told the wannabe pop star. “Distinctly average, I’m afraid.”

However, Young wasn’t going to take any of it. He replied: “All of us have been dying to say things to you – I’ve written about ten things to say to you,” the singer said. “I think it’s nice that you have given opinions on this show. I think in previous shows you haven’t, you’ve just projected insults and it has been terrible to watch. I think, this show, I think you have been better, and I think you have given opinions and you’ve backed up your opinions.

“It is your opinion. I don’t agree with it. I don’t think it was average. I don’t think you could ever call that average. But it is your opinion and I respect that.”

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In other words: watch out Mr Cowell, Will’s not going to pull any punches if you’re going to start round three.