Rumour has it X Factor bosses are planning the return of Louis Walsh for this year’s live shows.
The move would finally give us the elusive ‘fifth judge’ and would mean there’d still never been an entire Walsh-less series of the ITV talent show. The music manager would sit away from the judges and offer his “unbiased” opinions on the performances, according to the Sun. A bit like Dictionary Corner perhaps. Walsh Corner… He’d read out his usual catchphrases – (all together now) “You look like a pop star, you sound like a pop star…” – probably while wearing a roll neck jumper.
Sources close to the show say it’s difficult to comment on the validity of the rumours: final decisions haven’t been made about how the live episodes will look this year. “It all happens last minute,” I’m told. Indeed, a spokesperson for the X Factor said: “Any talk of plans at this stage is speculation.” But it’s not a yes, nor a no, suggesting it’s an idea that is at least on the table.
Cowell himself joked at the series launch that he could engineer a guest judge week and have Walsh back, with Cheryl and Grimmers suggesting it could be ‘stool week’ with all of the singers propped up on Westlife-esque seats. So why not make it every week?
Walsh himself told Loose Women today: “I talked to [Simon] last night. There is a possibility I might end up on the show…But I don’t know for definite.”
“I’d like to. I’m available,” he continued. “There is a possibility. It’s up to Simon and I get on with him really well. I have worked with him for 12 years…We talk all the time. I think there is a chance.
“It’s the best show in the world – it’s the most talked about TV show – there are three or four acts on the show this year that are incredible.”
“I love doing X Factor, I love working with Simon,” Walsh added. “He is a loose cannon but he makes great TV. He is going to have the best TV show this year.”
Louis continued: “But he has four judges – does he need five?
Walsh must be pretty chuffed with his potential return being hailed as a way to boost the show’s audience after his first proper departure from the judges’ desk (although ratings are still far from flat, that spokesperson is keen to remind us: “The X Factor is one of the most watched shows on TV. The series continues to draw millions of viewers each weekend with millions more watching on catch up. A total of 9.6m watched the opening episode including 2m on demand.”)
And would Lou Lou actually bring in more viewers anyway? Maybe the newbies should be left to get on with it? After all, while we’ve already seen edited highlights of Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora in action, it’s when the show goes live that they could really come into their own.
There’s certainly plenty on the cutting room floor from the auditions and, being a DJ, Grimshaw is by his very nature good at off the cuff. Having watched him in action myself, I don’t think we’ve seen enough of his quick retorts nor his banter with Ora, which stems from a firm friendship outside the show.
Then again, the facial expressions surrounding Walsh’s dramatic return would be quite something. Perhaps it could happen at Judges’ Houses and he could appear out of a curtain built into Sinitta’s latest headline-grabbing outfit…
Or he could borrow Dermot O’Leary’s ‘Dermerettes’ and do a welcome back dance. Now that really would be something to see.
But what do you think, does this year’s X Factor need Louis Walsh to return? Vote in our poll…
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news