Simon will soon reunite with Cheryl on The X Factor

Simon Cowell thinks Cheryl Cole is in her prime ahead of her X Factor return.

The music mogul took Chezza, 30, out for dinner before reinstating her on the panel after a three-year absence and was struck by how well she seemed.

I think she looked and sounded the best I’ve seen her in years,’ says Simon, 54.

She’s in a much better place than I’ve ever seen her before.’

Simon has always admired Cheryl‘s abilities as a judge and will be glad to have her back.

We both need each other,’ the new dad admits.

She’s still in the papers; that’s the interesting thing about her. She hasn’t been on TV for three years but if she peels an orange she’s in the papers.

But she’s a good judge – a really good judge. What she did with Cher Lloyd [who came 4th in 2010] – no other judges would have done that.’

Simon is currently a judge on Britain’s Got Talent – the final airs tonight.

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Anna Francis