Published Thursday, 16 August 2012
Tulisa, Louis, Nicole and Dermot at the X Factor 2012 launch. (© PA)
Launching the new series of the hit talent show, due to return to UTV on Saturday, Louis and Tulisa were joined at a London hotel by new panel regular Nicole Scherzinger.
While Louis claimed to already know who will make it to this year's live stages, he also tried to clear up any confusion over his branding of Tulisa as "a chav in a tracksuit" earlier this week - claiming it was just a joke.
"But she is a little bit, in a good way," he couldn't resist adding.
"We always have fun - it wasn't meant in a bad way. We're really good friends, but I like to tell it like it is."
I know who the final 12 will be and there's someone for everybody.
Take That's Gary Barlow was absent, as he and his family continue to come to terms with the loss of stillborn baby daughter Poppy. The Take That star will still be part of the show, but is expected to stay close to home for the Judges Houses stage of the competition.
X Factor host Dermot O'Leary and Xtra Factor's Caroline Flack were in attendance at the launch, as were last year's winners Little Mix.
Tulisa, who mentored the girl band - the first group to win the show - said she thought people now respected her opinion a little more.
"I feel that I'm on the panel to judge rather than being judged - but hey, it's me, I'm always being judged - but it has been easier than last year," she said.
The singer, dressed in a grey and yellow bodycon mini-dress and silver heels for the occasion, also singled out "tough cookie" Mel B as her favourite guest judge of the new series.
"She just says it exactly how it is and doesn't cut any corners," Tulisa said.
Meanwhile, former Pussycat Doll Nicole joked that she's still waiting for flowers from One Direction, after helping them on the road to success two years ago.
"It's crazy to see how massive they are. They just performed at the Olympics and it just feels like yesterday we were auditioning them," the star, who opted for an elegant cap-sleeved, below-the-knee white dress and matching stilettos, said.
The X Factor returns for a ninth series at 8pm on Saturday 18 August on UTV.