Cilla Black: I turned down X Factor judging role

“I couldn’t be like Simon Cowell. I wouldn’t be able to tell the truth,” says Cilla. But if she’d have auditioned – “there’s no doubt whatsoever that I’d win”


Cilla Black was very nearly an X Factor judge – if only she could have got her head around being a bit more frank.


“I’ve been asked to be a judge,” Cilla tells Radio Times magazine ahead of a brand new ITV drama series starring Sheridan Smith, which will chart Cilla’s unique rise to fame.  

“I couldn’t because I wouldn’t be able to tell the truth. The meanest I’d get is saying, ‘It hasn’t worked out for you this time, but go back and do your homework.’

“I couldn’t be like Simon Cowell. He’s not nasty, by the way, but tells it like it is.”

Not that Cilla lacks confidence when it comes to her own singing ability. If she had the chance to audition in front of Simon, the former chart-topper is pretty confident about how it would have worked out.

“Today, I’d be first in the queue for The X Factor and there’s no doubt whatsoever that I’d win.”

X Factor aside, for Cilla, being famous was always the end goal.

“Fame was my objective. I’d have been very happy on £25 a week. I didn’t know how much I earned, and when people said I as the highest-paid person on TV I wasn’t interested.”

Cilla starts Monday 15th September at 9:00pm on ITV and X Factor continues this Saturday and Sunday at 8:00pm also on ITV 


The new issue of Radio Times magazine is on sale from Tuesday 9th September in the shops and on Newsstand for iPad or iPhone