Why isn’t Simon Cowell on The X Factor tonight?

Simon Cowell is "running late" in the first part of this Sunday's show on ITV, leaving Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger to run the show. But what really happened?

Simon Cowell The X Factor

Simon Cowell is mysteriously missing in the first part of The X Factor this Sunday – what happened?

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In the first few minutes of the episode, judge Louis Walsh reveals that Simon is “running late” – which means it’s up to him, Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger to run the show.

“You’re in charge!” Sharon and Nicole say in unison, with Sharon adding, “You’ve been here the longest, you run the show.”

Louie seems to enjoy his new-found responsibility, sitting slap in the middle of the judging panel with Sharon and Nicole on either side.

Where's Simon Cowell? Louie Walsh takes charge on The X Factor with Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger
Where’s Simon Cowell? Louie Walsh takes charge on The X Factor with Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger

However, he’ll have his work cut out keeping order, with Sharon saying she’s all up for “putting everybody through” and messing with Simon’s master plan.

Will they find a winner in Simon’s absence? You’ll have to find out.

But what really happened to make Simon Cowell miss the show? Cutaway scenes show him waiting impatiently in the back of his private car, but reports when the series was filmed earlier this year suggested that he missed part of one of the auditions due to illness.

Whatever the truth, don’t worry, because Simon does return triumphant later in the episode to put poor Louie back in his place and restore order to auditions.

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Watch to find out how Louie reacts this Sunday at 8pm on ITV