The Version Interview... Nicole Scherzinger on her return to The X Factor

The UK’s most talked about TV show, The X Factor, is back. And this year’s series sees the return of some favourite faces as rock royalty Sharon Osbourne, pop sensation Nicole Scherzinger, chart maestro Louis Walsh and The X Factor creator and music mogul Simon Cowell are reunited on the judging panel. 

How does it feel to be back on The X Factor panel?

It feels like home sweet home, I’ve missed the UK and obviously me, Sharon and Louis were together on our last season. I haven’t been on a show with Simon in a few years and he’s really awesome, he’s not as scary as I remember! It’s a great feeling on the panel, a really natural, family, homey vibe, nothing is forced and there’s a lot of positive, fun energy.

How did Simon convince you to come back to the show?

How did Simon convince me to come back? I made him sell his soul to the devil! Only joking, no, I missed the UK and love my job as a mentor on the show. He said he wanted to have fun this year, so I was like, ‘Alright, sign me up!’.

You’ve never done a full series with Simon on the UK show, what’s he like?

I’ve never done a full series with him in the UK and I think ever since he became a dad he’s softening up a lot. I feel like his critiques are very honest, very Simon, no nonsense, he won’t beat around the bush, he’ll get straight to it. But at the same time he feels people, he’s quite sensitive, he knows how to handle certain people. So he’ll go, ‘Look, this is never going to happen, but I like you and this is a great quality of yours’. So he gives them constructive criticism and I’m like, ‘Who is this man over here?!’. 

How do you think this panel compares to previous years?

I can’t comment on any other panel because I wasn’t a part of it. I can imagine it was awesome and had great energy. But I can only speak on my own experience, and for me I’m honoured to be a part of this panel because I know Simon, Louis and Mrs O are the originals, the titans of The X Factor. They started it, just the three of them. So for them to want me to be the fourth judge is a real honour. 

You’ve been away for a little while, so does the UK still have talent?

Does the UK still have talent? Yes! And it’s astounding how young some of these people are, how mature they are and their voices. But when you’re born with it, you have it, so you have to do something with it. The UK definitely has talent.

Simon has been naughty during auditions and keeps stealing your ideas, how annoying is that?

We need to do an entire segment on Simon Cowell stealing all of my ideas. In the beginning what he used to do is that I would say things, then I’d listen and he would comment, saying the exact same thing. I’d be like, ‘That’s funny because I’ve just said that!’ and he goes, ‘Not in the edit darling, not in the edit!’, and I’m like, ‘You what!!!”. He’s been stealing pretty much everything, but I take it as a compliment. I’m fighting with the producers now so when he tries to repeat what I have just said I try to speak over him so they can’t use it in the show.

Are you going to be naughty seeing as Simon can’t edit you during the live shows?

I mean, I’m a classy but sassy doll here. It’s going to be fun, I think Mrs O, she’s the mamma, she’s going to take charge of that stuff.

Can fans look forward to you taking to the stage yourself and performing your own music?

Oh my gosh, yes! I’m definitely going to perform on the show, I can’t wait. I’m in the lab cooking something up right now, you’re going to get something new from me.  

The X Factor returns 8pm Saturday on itv.