We caught up with the music mogul and he dished the dirt on The X Factor
Following his return to the judging panel last week, after the horror fall at his London home that landed him in hospital, the 58-year-old music mogul made his first public appearance outside the show at the Music Industry Trusts Award, held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.
And with Simon getting stuck in traffic, Now was the only magazine waiting to greet him when he finally arrived on the red carpet – where he told us his tumble down the stairs had forced him to make some big changes.
‘I’ve cut down smoking,’ he revealed, chewing gum, ‘to two [cigarettes] a day. That’s it!’
It’s no secret that Simon used to enjoy smoking – so much so that he admitted paying a £100 fine every time he sparked up for his 80-a-day habit while working at the TV studios.
But his healthier lifestyle doesn’t stop there – he’s stopped drinking alcohol, too.
After previously admitting he drank vodka at ‘one or two in the morning’ to spark creativity, he told us, ‘I’m just eating, [and drinking] water.’
This cleaner living comes amid reports Simon, who has three-year-old son Eric with girlfriend Lauren Silverman, splashed out £60k on seven e-bikes in a bid to be healthier, after doctors blamed his fainting spell on low blood pressure.
But after X Factor host Dermot O’Leary joked on the show that Simon’s looking to move into a bungalow, we asked if he was considering upping sticks in light of the bad luck he’s had at his £35million Holland Park mansion (where he was also burgled in 2015, while he, Lauren and Eric were asleep in the house).
But he explained he won’t be booking a removals van any time soon, saying, ‘It’s not that bad. Let’s put it into perspective, I fell down some stairs, it’s not the end of the world, I feel OK now.’
With more acts being lined up to perform on the upcoming X Factor live shows, we informed Simon that Chris Hughes told us last month he and Kem Cetinay wanted to perform their single Little Bit Leave It on the ITV talent show. ‘Who’s that?’ said Simon.
‘I don’t know who any of these guys are!’ [At which point, the head of Syco Entertainment interjected, ‘They’re from Love Island…’].
Which begged us to ask Simon whether he’d watched the ITV2 reality show, but he just laughed.
And while it’s not clear whether Simon’s chuckle was an indication of him remembering the boys from having watched the show, he suddenly warmed to the idea, laughing, ‘Yes fine, they can [perform on X Factor]. Why not, yeah.’ Result!
Simon was equally as supportive of 2010 X Factor reject Chloe Khan, who revealed last week she wants to go up against this year’s X Factor winner’s single for a Christmas number one.
After initially claiming, ‘I have no idea who she is’, Simon added, ‘Good luck… I think I know who she is, actually – yeah she’s fun!’
Meanwhile, fellow judge Louis Walsh teased that Simon was planning a big shake-up, spilling, ‘Simon was sat at home watching the show like the people on Gogglebox and he came back with a list of things he didn’t like. He saw it through different ears and eyes and I think the changes are all good.’
So we asked Simon, who teased us with plans to change everything. He explained, ‘You change everything, don’t you? It’s like you, it’s like me, you change things every day – you just try and improve and freshen things up a bit.’
And talk of these changes includes Cheryl’s rumoured return to the judging panel next year – even though Louis is more keen for Nicole to retain her seat, describing her as ‘the best’ judge.
He’d also welcome the return of Mel B, Alesha Dixon or Tulisa. And he might be in luck – Simon hinted he’s set to accommodate them all on a show.
‘Everything’s up for grabs,’ he says. ‘We’re making a lot of shows next year. Fortunately, without giving too much away we’re going to announce them very soon, so wait and see.’ How X-citing!