X Factor 2016 judges’ vital stats – from comebacks to catchphrases

Here's how Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger have fared on X Factor over the years


The X Factor 2016 judging line-up has been decided and the new-but-not-really-new panel sees Simon Cowell sit alongside returning judges Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger.


When it comes to all things ‘X’ they’ve got plenty of experience. From their time on the show to wins and best moments, here’s how this year’s judges shape up:

Simon Cowell


Arrived: 2004 – Cowell launched the show alongside fellow judges Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh.

Left: After the 2010 series to launch X Factor in the USA (he stayed there for the show’s three seasons, winning twice)

Returned: 2014 – Cowell came back to the UK show with Cheryl, bumping Gary Barlow and Mel B off the panel.

Wins: Cowell scooped the first ever win with Steve Brookstein in 2004. He’s clocked up two more over the years – Leona Lewis in 2006 and Ben Haenow in 2014.

Catchphrases: ‘But’ is a big word of Simon’s, but over the last few years a favourite of the boss’ is “I didn’t like it… I loved it”. Plus, as per the picture, he’s got that salute for when he’s introduced down to a fine art.

Best moments: Snogging Sharon Osbourne in 2005 after she rubbished rumours in the papers the men on the panel were bullies


… and being genuinely gutted when One Direction were voted out in 2010.


Sharon Osbourne


Arrived: 2004 on the debut series alongside Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh.

Left: After the 2007 series. Mrs O actually said she was quitting during the first live show of series four after two of her acts were in the bottom two. She was convinced to see out the rest of the series.

Unhappiness on the panel was widely reported after Dannii Minogue joined as a fourth judge that year. In 2009 Osbourne told Piers Morgan on his Life Stories show: “I left X Factor because of Dannii Minogue, simple as that. I didn’t enjoy working with her at all. The prospect of six months sat next to her, I thought my life’s better than that, I’m not going to do it.”

Returned: Osbourne came back for both the 2010 and 2012 series after Louis Walsh called on her to be his guest mentor at Judges’ Houses.

In 2013 Osbourne returned for a full series as a judge. She mentored Sam Bailey to victory while juggling commitments in the US on her weekday show The Talk, lining up alongside Louis Walsh, Nicole Scherzinger and Gary Barlow.

Left: Mrs O made it clear this was the only series she was back for, so her exit ahead of 2014’s run was expected.

Returned: 2016 – despite telling Conan O’Brien she was bored of people singing at her, Osbourne’s been tempted back once again.

Wins: Sam Bailey was Osbourne’s first victory on the show.

Catchphrases: “Fabulous, darling”

Best moments: Getting sent out for laughing and walking straight into a door


Telling Steve Brookstein he was “full of crap” and an “average singer” on the first series:

… and chucking water (multiple times) over her fellow judges


Louis Walsh


Arrived: 2004 with Sharon and Simon.

Left: In 2007 Louis was replaced by choreographer Brian Friedman.

Returned: His exit was brief – within just three weeks Walsh was swapped back in. Friedman has since claimed it was a “publicity stunt”.

Left: After the 2014 series. Yes, Walsh clocked up a total of 11 series on the panel. Sure he threatened to leave pretty much every year. It was – along with his catchphrases – kind of his ‘thing’. But when the 2015 show came around he really wasn’t on the panel. He did pop up in the advert and a spoof version of the John Lewis Christmas advert for the final, though.

Returned: In another blink-and-you-miss-it moment, Walsh is now back on the 2016 panel. He did a lot of good PR for himself, openly saying Simon Cowell had wanted him back on the panel last year, too.

Wins: Shayne Ward in 2005

Catchphrases: Which to choose? “You remind me of a young…” is a classic, as is “You look like a pop star, sound like a pop star…”. He’s also regularly on the receiving end of one: “I’m going to have to hurry you, Louis” as he’s more often than not left with the deciding vote, which is regularly rewarded with another classic: “I’m going to take it to Deadlock!”

Best moments: when the girl who ran Louis Walsh’s fan site turned up. Cowell read out a poem about him, Walsh lay with his head on the desk…


… when he got super upset choosing between Scott Burton and Daniel Evans in 2008

… and of course when he rocked these shorts for X Factor Judges’ Houses in 2014:


Nicole Scherzinger


Arrived: 2010 was Scherzinger’s first appearance as a guest judge, one of the various famous faces filling in for Dannii Minogue who was on maternity leave. She also covered when Cheryl was ill with malaria.

Over in the US, Scherzinger was hired as a co-host on its version of The X Factor in 2011, later to replace Cheryl on the panel as a full-time judge. She left after one series.

In 2012 Scherzinger was signed up as a full-time judge on the UK show alongside Louis Walsh, Tulisa Contostavlos and Gary Barlow. She returned in 2013 with Sharon Osbourne in place of Tulisa.

Left: In 2014 the panel was changed to welcome back Simon Cowell and Cheryl as well as adding Mel B alongside Louis Walsh.

Wins: Scherzinger won on her first year with James Arthur in 2012. Runner-up Jahmene Douglas was also in her category.

Catchphrases: “Schamazeballs” soon became part and parcel of X Factor thanks to Scherzinger. That and, well, anything to do with ‘balls’.

Best moments: That moment in 2012 she put Rylan through and didn’t know what to do when he wouldn’t stop crying.

… and so many amazing reactions to the live show performances that more than three minutes of it mashed together doesn’t get boring


The X Factor returns to ITV later this year