It’s the annual question: does Simon Cowell think The X Factor can beat Strictly Come Dancing in the ratings? He tries to avoid it – “I hate to say yes, because it will come back and haunt me” – but he sounds pretty confident.
“If it’s us versus Peter Andre, I’m gonna put my money on us,” Cowell laughed during this year’s X Factor launch, the pop star put to him as the best of their celebrity line-up.
ITV has already stirred the pot, revealing its schedule for this year’s whole series in an attempt to swerve “avoidable clashes”. It’s like a parent with one eyebrow raised: they won’t be angry if there’s a clash, oh no, they’ll just be disappointed.
But Cowell insists the rivalry, which has seen Strictly take the lead in overall volume over the past few years, doesn’t consume his time. “I think they care more than I do,” he says of press interest in the story.
“Look, we are very competitive,” he told RadioTimes.com. “All you can do is make the best possible show you can. If it’s better than last year, you’ve got a shot. But I don’t sit there thinking every week ‘I’ve got to beat them’. I just want to be better.”
The X Factor returns this Saturday night at 8:00pm on ITV