The X Factor boss isn't usually one to get emotional but we noticed some tears around his eyes on last night's show

If you asked Louis Walsh, 62 – who was labelled a ’75-year-old’ by Simon Cowell at the weekend – he’d probably say the man doesn’t appear to have much of a heart at all.

But if you looked closely last night you may have noticed a few tears around Simon’s general eye area on The X Factor, prompting us to ask: did TV’s Mr Nasty have a little weep?

When Jay James found himself in the bottom two contestants with Paul Akister he was forced into a sing-off to save his place on the show.

However belting out Eric Clapton‘s Tears In Heaven was clearly emotional for Si, 55, and those glistening eyes gave him away.

One of the reasons the music mogul got emotional could have been to do with the choice of singer. Eric is also the name of Simon‘s father – who passed away in 1999 aged 81.

Simon was 40 when Eric died of a massive heart attack. To make matters worse, Simon was away in Boston at the time, celebrating the first number one for his new band at the time, Westlife. It was the biggest acheivement of his career so far at that time and when he phoned home to share his good news, his mum Julie couldn’t bring herself to tell him the tragic news.

‘It was a horrible horrible horrible time. You think everyone’s gong to live forever and they don’t,’ he told Piers Morgan about his close relationship with his father.

‘He would have got a kick out of this [his success]. I would have liked to see his reaction as he would have found it good fun.’

Simon revealed to Piers on his show in 2010 that he can’t even go to funerals because it’s hard for him to accept someone has gone, so it was particularly tough when his dad passed away.

He added: ‘I find it very difficult to deal with that sort of reality because it affects me so badly.’

As a tribute to his dad, he decided to name his son with Lauren Silverman ‘Eric’ after him.

Then there’s the subject matter of the tune Jay sung, originally released in 1992. Eric wrote it about his four-year-old son who passed away after falling from the window of a 53rd floor New York apartment building in 1991.

On The Xtra Factor, Simon revealed why he just had to save Jay from elimination after he delivered the performance in front of himself and judges Louis Walsh, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Mel B.

Simon was forced to explain himself to the former Spice Girl when her act Paul was booted out on the public vote after Louis sent the decision to deadlock, saying he felt Jay needed a shot at fame as he was a father.

‘I’m sorry Mel, I have to stick up for Jay here. This guy has entered the competition, like I said he’s a dad, he needs this so I would have been just as disappointed if he went.’

Leah Simpson