The X Factor's Melvin Odoom talks to Now on why he’s doing The Xtra Factor WITHOUT Kiss FM co-host Rickie Haywood Williams

Hailed as the Ant and Dec of the airwaves, Rickie Haywood-Williams and Melvin Odoom have been building their career together ever since they met at Bedfordshire University over 15 years ago. Their Kiss FM breakfast show has earnt them a loyal fanbase together with a mantelpiece of awards.

So when the duo auditioned together to present the new series of The Xtra Factor – the spin-off to The X Factor– it must have been a devastating blow to Rickie when Melvin, 35, was the only one to get the call, presenting alongside Rochelle Humes. And to make matters even more awkward was the fact they were actually together when Melvin’s phone rang!

READ MORE CELEBRITY NEWS HERE!

‘Rickie was with me when I got the phone call from my agent as we were filming in Regent’s Park together,’ Melvin tells us exclusively. ‘As soon as I got off the phone, I told him. He gave me a hug and said: “You know what, Melv? I know you’re going to go out there and smash it.”’

Melvin insists his big TV break hasn’t caused tension between the pair and that Rickie, 35, has been hugely supportive. ‘He watches the show every week and when we first got the job he said to me and Roch: “I’ve got some wicked ideas for you.” In fact, we’re going to try and get him on the show at some point, as long as he’s free. If it was Rickie, I’d be the exact same. I’d be just as happy.’

So why did Simon Cowell choose Melvin and not Rickie? ‘I think they love the chemistry that Olly Murs and Caroline Flack had when they did it and were just looking for that same kind of spark,’ says Melvin. ‘In an ideal world they probably would have liked it to be me, Rickie and Roch, but I think Roch charged too much so it had to be just two of us!’

As for Melvin breaking away from his BFF for good, he says that’s out of the question. ‘Rickie’s my brother and there’s no split. We just want the best for each other,’ he insists. ‘We come as a package and as long as I’m moving up, Rickie’s moving up.’ Aww!