Darius: X Factor boss Simon Cowell inspired my Chicago character

The West End star says his scheming lawyer, Billy Flynn, is based on his former mentor


Darius Campbell says his performance in West End musical Chicago is based on The X Factor supremo and former Pop Idol mentor Simon Cowell.


Campbell – better known to Popstars and Pop Idol fans as Darius Danesh – is about to return to the long-running stage musical as Billy Flynn, a scheming lawyer who turns his clients into celebrities in an attempt to win over juries.

He said of Cowell: “He’s the consummate businessman and a wonderful guy, and there’s a lot of Simon Cowell in Billy Flynn in terms of the way he approaches things, and I recognise that in terms of the character.”

Campbell was disparaging about The X Factor, saying it made “entertainment out of people’s tragedy and desperation” but admitted he still watched the show.

And he had positive words for Cowell, saying: “I’m incredibly grateful for the experiences I’ve had and all the opportunities that it opened up, and to be able to call Simon Cowell a friend and to be able to have dinner with him.”

Campbell will star opposite Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera in Chicago and is planning to work on his next album – “a modern take on crooning” – when the run finishes.


Chicago reopens at the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End on Monday 7 November.