Nick Grimshaw brings David Walliams-style banter to X Factor panel

Show insider says Grimshaw has stood out during early auditions for his ability to send up his new boss

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Simon Cowell is believed to have brought Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw onto this year’s X Factor to replicate the fun-filled chemistry he has with David Walliams on Britain’s Got Talent – and it’s a move that appears to be working. 

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“Nick is very like David Walliams – very, very funny,” a show insider told RadioTimes.com of the new judge, who has joined Cowell, fellow newbie Rita Ora and Cheryl on the panel. “He’s good in that he’ll make jokes like Walliams does – sending up Simon but in a comical way.”

“It felt like part of the reason he’s got him,” the source added. “Obviously the David and Simon dynamic does work quite well on BGT – maybe Simon’s looking for something similar.”

The ‘bromance’ between Cowell and Walliams has been a big part of Britain’s Got Talent’s success since the comedian joined in 2012. The jokey rivalry – fuelled by Walliams’s best TV judge win at this year’s NTAs – and hilariously disruptive behaviour (usually Walliams insisting Cowell dances) is a welcome relief from the bonkers, and often emotionally-fuelled antics of the contestants.

Walliams regularly pokes fun at the boss’ lateness, his exercise routines or his choice of clothes. It gives viewers at home a chance to see the other side to Cowell’s ‘Mr Nasty’, offering a more playful vibe than is usually found on the X Factor. But that looks set to change.

“[Grimshaw] was definitely one of the standouts of the day,” the show insider confided, after the initial auditions in front of the judges in Manchester wrapped last week. 

A bit more banter between the panel will be welcome respite from the ‘singing for my life’ sob stories, the tears and the judges’ fierce competitiveness. Don’t get me wrong: Simon alone has form. If anyone’s going to be winding up Cheryl, urging the crowd to boo and gently ribbing the new hosts to liven things up, it’ll be Mr Cowell. Indeed, the usual bickering between Cheryl and Simon is also in full flow, RadioTimes.com is told.

But it’ll be nice to see Cowell with a sparring partner who won’t just tell him to shut up. 

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The X Factor returns later this year on ITV