Sharon Osbourne is making a(nother) X Factor comeback and former champion Sam Bailey is all for it, saying Mrs O is a “ticking time bomb”.
“In a good way! You never know what she’s going to do,” Bailey told RadioTimes.com, the singer having won under Osbourne’s mentorship when she made her first comeback in 2013.
“She’s fiery, she’s a feisty character,” Bailey added (I think it’s safe to say both Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh’s dry cleaners would agree with, the two having had many glasses of water thrown at them over the years).
“If she doesn’t agree with something she walks off the stage. She’s feisty and that’s what you need, somebody like that in the competition, not just saying someone’s brilliant and saying the same lines over and over again because they can’t think of anything else to say.
“Sharon will literally say how it is and that’s what you want. It’s good TV.”
Bailey’s certainly under no illusion that Mrs O will come back with any newfound friendship with the boss, even if the often-feuding pair have ‘built bridges’.
“She loves to bicker with Simon… I’ll be watching and I bet you any money there’ll be loads of people tuning in because everybody in the UK loves Sharon Osbourne.”
“She’s funny, she comes out with some funny anecdotes and her laugh – everyone loves it. And she’s got a heart at the end of the day. To have somebody of that caliber who knows what she’s talking about and is well respected in the music industry – she knows her stuff!”
Bailey’s pleased to see the panel move away from last year’s youthful offering, which saw Simon Cowell joined by Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw and pop stars Cheryl and Rita Ora on the judging panel.
“You can get somebody that’s current, but can you get someone that’s got the wisdom? Someone that’s been around the block enough to know about the business? That’s the difference,” said Bailey.
“Although Rita and Grimmy are great people and are great at what they do, I think a judge should be someone who’s relevant enough to judge, someone who’s been around the block and knows about the business and has had longevity in their career. People who’ve been around to know the ins and the outs, the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows of being in the business.”
Despite having been a contestant herself, Bailey knows that most people are tuning in to see the antics of those on the panel, even if that focus on the starry line-up draws complaints from some viewers.
“It’s a TV show before it’s a talent competition. You have to remember that. It might be about the panel, but that’s what people tune in for. That’s why Sharon’s back because people want to see her on the TV. Some aren’t even bothered about good old Vera coming on to sing with her old squeezebox, they’re not interested in that, they want to see Sharon on the TV.”
As for the fact Louis Walsh is back as well, Bailey’s delighted.
“Being in a dressing room with them two is like being in a dressing room with a couple of Dot Cottons,” she chuckled. “They’re just so funny and they’ll bring it all back I think. They’ve known each other for years and it shows. Louis and Sharon are piss-takers at the end of the day; they love a good laugh. They like to take the mickey out of each other and have a giggle. It’s lovely to see and it’ll be nice to see her back on TV with Louis where they belong.”
And if the pay packet was a driving force behind her return – after all, it wasn’t that long ago that Mrs O blasted all reality singing contests – then Bailey says so what?
“She’s a workaholic, she’s a grafter, she wants to earn money like everybody wants to earn money. So if somebody’s going to chuck a load of money at you to stand there and deal with Simon Cowell for a few months you’re going to do it. He isn’t a bad guy, he really isn’t. She’s a businesswoman at the end of the day, she’s very level-headed, she knows what she wants and if she wants something, she’ll get it.”
“I haven’t got anything bad to say about the show, but having Sharon back is definitely the icing on the cake.”
The X Factor returns to ITV later this year
For info on Sam Bailey’s tour head to her website