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Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh reveal what they really think of X Factor winners, talent show judges and more

Together they are doyens of The X Factor. So what happened when Radio Times asked Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne to debate their greatest winners, boy bands and girl bands?

Published: Saturday, 2nd September 2017 at 9:00 am

The greatest talent show judge?

Sharon: How can you top Simon Cowell?


Louis: I have to say Simon too. Although I’d love to see Elton John as a judge – he’d be amazing, because he’s so funny, passionate and bitchy. The panel on The Voice UK are good – I’m a big fan of Tom Jones. But The X Factor is a much better show.

Sharon: This is a show. That’s a gimmick with twisty chairs. I love all the judges and if I was asked to do the show and I didn’t have X Factor, course I’d do it. It’s a great gig. But you cannot judge talent on voice alone, because if Mick Jagger was up there nobody would turn around. It’s not just about the voice. They have all these toads up there, and I’m sorry, half of them are backing singers. That’s why no stars have come from the show. You can’t do it blind, it doesn’t work. It’s just a gimmick.

Louis: I saw Strictly the year I wasn’t working on this show – Len was great. We’d do Strictly together, Sharon!

Sharon: I’d be dancing up a storm! Can you imagine us rehearsing? Nobody compares with Len Goodman to be a judge for dancing. He’s the king of it.

Louis: But Simon’s the king – and queen – of the whole thing, definitely. He is. He just tells the truth. What you see is what you get with him.

Sharon: He’s truthful and he cares. People don’t think he does, but he really does care.


Boy band?

Sharon: Nobody compares to The Beatles.

Louis: They had girls everywhere, they had all that screaming. One Direction had hysteria for a very short time. The Beatles had it forever.

Sharon: One Direction were great. Simon put together the best boyband, and they’ve all gone off to do great things. But as a band, they don’t have the catalogue of work.

Louis: Or the credibility. Westlife had strong vocals and were great to work with - Boyzone not so much. I learnt a lot with them but I had 150 people to audition and I just picked the best five. The Beatles wrote their own songs. Their music totally changed the world and still influences each generation. It’s a phenomenon that will go on and on and on. I would absolutely say The Beatles too.

Girl band?

Sharon: As far as current – in the last 20 years – I think Spice Girls.

Louis: Oh no, not for me. They were gimmicky and funny, but I would probably go for somebody like TLC or En Vogue.

Sharon: No, no no! The Spice Girls had such a huge affect on a whole generation, and I can just remember when my kids first heard them and saw them. It was instant. And they had such a huge influence worldwide.

Louis: Totally. But I like vocals. I prefer TLC, En Vogue, Supremes…

Sharon: The Supremes!

Louis: And Little Mix work hard. They don’t get enough kudos. They’re really, really good.

Sharon: They’re sassy, sexy, they have a good attitude…

Louis: And great songs. Little Mix are selling records in Europe and all round the place. They’re a much better group than Girls Aloud. They only sold music in the UK. That was the problem.

Sharon: Is that Cheryl’s band?

Louis: Yeah. She was in it. Overall it has to be The Supremes for me. We know every song. They’re timeless.

Sharon: You have to go back to them, you have to.


Music format?

Louis: Vinyl. Absolutely. That’s how we grew up listening to the crackers. You had 45s, 78s, 33s and 8-tracks …

Sharon: 8-tracks – they were so big! They looked like a toasted sandwich.

Louis: Totally! I like to own it and handle it, read who wrote it and produced it and took the photographs – all that. I’m old-fashioned. I’ve got two record players; one upstairs, one downstairs.

Sharon: I’ve just one in Ozzy’s office. And Kelly has one at her house. I’ll go to my son’s house, he’s got his iPod on. I’ll go to Kelly’s house, she’s got the records on. The difference is night and day.

Louis: Totally. And you know what I love? The sleeves and reading all of them. You can’t buy it. There’s a Tower Records in Dublin – I think it’s one of the last ones in the whole world – I go in there an awful lot. It’s a brilliant store. I would say I have about 5,000 albums and probably 1,000 45s. I have them all in storage. I’m a vinyl junkie.

Sharon: I love it. My first record was a 45 and it was She Loves You by The Beatles.

Louis: I think mine was Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys.


Sharon: I suppose because I live there I’ll have to say Los Angeles.

Louis: It’s Dublin for me. And unlike LA, Dublin has real people. And less botox, less drug addicts, more talent, more fun, fresh air…

Sharon: Rude, rude – very rude!

Louis: But that’s what I really think. And less wannabes – everybody in LA is a wannabe.

Sharon: I do agree with that, actually. I can’t lie. Do you know what it is, I moved there so long ago. I first moved there…

Louis: 50 years…

Sharon: …40 years ago! And when you live in a place for so long, that’s it. You carve out your own little bit of the town that you feel safe in. And you know – and that’s what I’ve done. The problem is for me is that my kids all live there, so I’m stuck there.

Louis: Nobody cares in Ireland about anybody famous. Honestly they don’t. Bono walks down the street and nobody cares. He does, but nobody else does.

Sharon: In LA, usually people stop you because they like you – it’s not because they don’t like you.

Louis: And do they recognise you now that you’ve got younger looking?

Sharon: Shut up!

Louis: It’s got to be Dublin. You know, the quality of life is good there. Fresh air. And less Americans. And you like Dublin, Sharon!

Sharon: I do love Dublin. If I had the choice of one place to live, it would probably be Dublin over LA.


TV show?

Sharon: Do you know what I love?

Louis: The Osbournes?

Sharon: Game of Thrones

Louis: I haven’t watched it yet, it’s too long. I will see it. I watch a little bit of the Housewives series – Beverly Hills and all that. I like those. But I hate the Kardashians most.

Sharon: They’re nice people! I just don’t watch reality TV.

Louis: They’re vulgar. They’re vulgar and they’ve got big arses.

Sharon: I like a US series called Property Brothers. It’s so good – they’re twins and they do makeovers on houses and they’re brilliant. One’s a builder and the other one’s an interior designer. I’m addicted to anything with houses.

Louis: You know what I love? Ru Paul’s Drag Race. It’s a must. I love it. I just think Ru Paul is amazing, and I love the way the guys change themselves. You’ve been on it – not as a drag queen, but as a judge…

Sharon: [laughs]

Louis: And The Sopranos!

Sharon: See I like Ray Donovan better than The Sopranos. I’m obsessed.

Louis: I love that too, actually…

X Factor winner?

Louis: Shayne Ward was good. I would pick Shayne because I was his mentor.

Sharon: And he’s done so well. Sam Bailey is still working in the industry. She has bettered her life and she’s doing something that she loves.

Louis: Cleaning the kitchen?

Sharon: Shut up, Louis!

Louis: I’m just having a laugh with you.

Sharon: I do think Saara Aalto should’ve won last year.

Louis: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. I agree. I think Leona Lewis was a great winner. She’s lost her way since, but that’s not our fault.

Sharon: She works! I see her in LA a lot.

Louis: In shops?

Sharon: Shut up, Louis! You are really mean today. Leona’s lovely.

Louis: You’re right Leona is lovely. I haven’t seen her in the chart, she’s gone, but I think she was a great winner.


The X Factor returns on Saturday 2nd September at 8pm on ITV


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