Simon's got a little mini-me...

Simon Cowell talks all things X-Factor, dancing and son Eric…

You’re shaking things this year in terms of the format of the show, what’s going on?

I think if you just make the same show each year it becomes boring and predictable. So you try and make changes for the better, not everything works but the ideas we’ve got for the live shows are going to be good.

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There are less live shows this year. What was the thinking behind that decision? 

It’s the way things are in all these shows at the moment – the early and middle rounds rate well. So, the idea is to do more of the middle shows and less live ones. We’ll see if it works or not!

What is the talent looking like this year? 

It just feels different and I tell you why. Sometimes you have to check yourself and go, ‘Why did we make the show in the first place?’. We made the show to be fun to watch but also to do something where those people who couldn’t get a record deal could get what they needed to give themselves a head start in the music industry. It worked. I think this year we’ve put the emphasis back on them, and that’s what’s different.

What do contestants do that really pisses you off? 

Being a puppet. I find that the most frustrating and boring thing. I like people who stand up for themselves.

You say you don’t ever dance but be honest, do you ever do it in private for Eric? 

No! I’ve always dreaded being the dad at the wedding! Now that I have a son I will never, ever put Eric in that position. He makes me laugh because he’s actually a terrible dancer. He loves dancing and it’s funny because he has a dance if he wants M&M’s or if he’s watching the film Trolls, he goes crazy. He cracks me up. I tell him he’s the worst dancer and he goes, ‘I know!’ and just carries on.

So is Eric your mini-me? 

At the moment he seems to know more about music than I do! If I say to him, ‘Can you tell me the lyrics to this record?’ he will repeat the entire song. I think he’ll probably end up doing what I’m doing. He has got good taste in music though and is interesting to watch. When we get new songs come in from our artists, I watch him when we play the record. If he’s interested in it then there’s a good chance it’ll end up a hit.