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

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

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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.

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