Irish music mogul Louis Walsh has backed Simon Cowell’s decision to ‘rest’ the British version of the X Factor this year following a steady decline in viewing figures.
He joked ‘thank God for Westlife’ as his attention will now turn to his former boyband after they announced they will be reforming.
The X Factor has been a mainstay of British television since its launch in 2004. It has made stars of countless music acts such as One Direction, Little Mix, Olly Murs, Leona Lewis and JLS.
However, viewing figures have been steadily falling for the past few series, and it has been decided to give the show a ‘rest’ this year.
Walsh, who has appeared as a judge on all but two of the series, said: “We had great fun last year, and I really liked the look of the show. But Simon has been doing this for years and he knows what he is doing, so ultimately it has to be the right decision.
“I don’t have a bad word to say about the show because it gave me my break in the UK, and I was on TV for 13 years. Simon and the crew were really good for me, but I suppose it is hard to find fresh and new ways to make a TV show when everyone else has copied your format.
“Of course, Simon will do (Britain’s Got) Talent in the UK and America but I think the time is probably right to rest the show.
“I think that it is cool to give out about it, because it has been around so long, but there was a time when we were broadcasting to almost 20 million people.
“The one thing I have learned over the years is to never bet against Simon Cowell.”
However, despite being relieved of his judging duties this year, Walsh insists he still has plenty to keep him busy.
The Co Mayo man said: “We are flat out with Westlife and I have Junk Couture and an exciting project I will be looking at later on in the year.
“The money was great and we had good fun. I have had a good run and I have no regrets, but thank God for Westlife.”