Published Wednesday, 27 August 2014
The X Factor host Dermot O'Leary. (© ITV)
Whether he is consoling rejected hopefuls or refereeing disagreeing judges, Dermot can be counted on to keep the show on track and he can do it all with a smile on his face.
As The X Factor returns to UTV this weekend, the host explains what he is looking forward to seeing from the new panel, and what he wants to see from this year's hopefuls.
What do you think the new panel each bring to the table?
It's a good panel, it really is. Mel for me is almost like a mini Sharon Osbourne, in that she is kind of un-producible, which I love. It doesn't matter what anyone says to her, she knows her own mind. And I think you need someone like that on the panel, you need someone who will make their decision instinctively and shoots from the hip. Cheryl is incredibly insightful, and emotionally engaging, and really intelligent.
Simon brings brutal honesty and you need that, because this is an audition process. Louis for me brings encyclopaedic music knowledge, and say what you want about him but he knows how to put a band together. Also, he's not afraid of making decisions that won't make him popular with the people.
Simon is back on the show and Mel B is known for her feisty opinions - how are you going to keep the judges in check during the lives?
I can't wait for the live shows, because I like it when the panel has disagreements, and when it kicks off, because that's what I'm there for. Don't get me wrong, I don't like it when they go below the belt, or they start saying nasty things to each other, or they have disagreements in the press, I'm not a big fan of any of that. But I like it in studio when all's fair in love and war, and then when it finishes, we have a drink together.
You're first on hand to console the acts who don't make it through - would you say that's the hardest part of your role on the show?
At the moment the hardest part of my role on the show is definitely when the acts come off and they haven't done too well. But then it's quite hard because they're not really listening, all they're doing is mulling over their audition. Sometimes you can have a good conversation with someone, and try to contextualise it, and other times you could be saying anything to them.
This is your eighth series on the show - what are your favourite memories from throughout the years?
I get asked that a lot and I could have this conversation in five minutes time and give you a completely different answer because stuff just keeps popping into my head. I love those moments in studio where you're not quite entirely sure something has happened - it invariably involves more colourful contestants, so Wagner doing Love Shack, Jedward doing Ghostbusters.
But then I love the moments where someone will just pick up an audition song and absolutely sing - I remember Ella Henderson's first audition was out of this world, James Arthur I remember watching grow, and the same with Olly. The show is about getting people to flourish that, for one reason or another the stars haven't aligned for. For me, it's about seeing an Ella Henderson, seeing a James Arthur, seeing an Olly Murs, come on and blow an audience away.
Sarah-Jane Crawford is the new host of Xtra Factor, have you given her any tips or advice on how to handle the world of X Factor?
I've just said 'If you need me I'm there' and she seems to be getting on really well. Eight years ago it wasn't the show it is now, but I remember coming on then and thinking 'Wow, I'm working on the biggest show in television' and it's quite a step up, and it's a huge circus. You can't over think it though, you just have to enjoy it and have fun.
What's the hardest thing about being The X Factor host?
It's a brilliant job and I love it. I guess the hardest thing is that you get a relationship with people, you see them grow, but only one can win. Along the way, you have to say goodbye to people who you have got to know well, and you've got to know their families well. You would hope they use the experience wisely and get something out of it, and no matter what happens they can carry on and enjoy singing.
© UTV News