I didn't fix X Factor, honest! It's the latest scandal to hit the show – a producer 'telling' Louis Walsh to take last weekend's vote to deadlock
23:46 GMT, 11 October 2012
00:03 GMT, 12 October 2012
For Louis Walsh, it has been the most controversial time in the nine years he has been a judge on ITV1’s X Factor. Last Sunday’s show finished in chaos when Louis refused to nominate which act to send home — the flamboyant Rylan Clark or glamorous Carolynne Poole.
This forced the result to public vote and Rylan was saved to fight another heat, with judge Gary Barlow storming off in protest. There were accusations, strongly denied by Louis, that he had been told by producer Richard Holloway to create a deadlock. Here, Louis opens his diary to reveal what happened . . .
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Deadlock: For Louis Walsh, it has been the most controversial time in nine years as judge on ITV1's X Factor when he refused to nominate which act to send home last Sunday
Saturday, October 6 – TV studios, Wembley
All the judges have upped their game and everyone is spending more time with their artists, trying to find better songs. I’m spending four to five days working with my acts. Last year it was only three.
The talent is so good this year. I honestly think I am going to lose somebody this weekend. District3 are on first which is worrying as, with such long shows and 13 acts, people are going to forget who was on early.
Gary is no longer sitting at the end of the judge’s table but I don’t read any significance into that.
There is no head judge. They like to shake things up and move people around.
think we’re gelling well as a team, the show is better and the judges
are better. It feels more real and honest — but more stressful.
Totally torn: Walsh liked both Carolynne Poole's and Rylan Clark's performances (pictured together) and decided to let the public choose last Sunday
Sunday, October 7 – TV studios, results show
I jump for joy when all my acts go
through. I’m not sure who I’m going to choose between Rylan Clark and
Carolynne Poole. Producer Richard Holloway comes over to talk to us
before they perform.
He does that every week to tell us what order to go in when we give our verdict because they have to get the cameras set up right. He tells me I will be last.
I feel totally torn after Carolynne and Rylan’s performances. I like them both. With Rylan I thought the production was so amazing that this is something we’ll want to see again.
Carolynne is a great singer. My first
instinct is to save her and that’s what I say. I think she’s good, but I
don’t think there’s a market for her. I want to do the right thing. I
feel like I am looking stupid, like a rabbit in the headlights, but
that’s the thing about the X Factor, it’s live, it’s real, anything can
In the end I think, oh I’ll let the public decide. I don’t know
which of them is going to be at the bottom on the public vote. Gary is
annoyed and storms off. He hates losing, especially on the first show.
Gary criticises my decision saying it’s a singing competition, not a
pantomime. But he had Frankie Cocozza last year!
Monday, October 8 – London
wake up to find a huge fuss brewing. People are Tweeting that last
night was a fix, and a picture is published showing Richard talking to
me. The story is that he’s telling me how to vote — but that’s not true.
Not only has no one ever told any of us what to do, but that picture
was taken before the artists sang, so no one could have known how their
performance was going to be judged.
Tuesday, October 9 – TV studios
see Rylan at rehearsals. He’s still in shock, but he thanks me for
saving him. That’s the way the show is. There’s always someone that
nobody likes — and he’s the one.
all brought together for dinner in Mayfair — the judges, Dermot
O’Leary, Richard Holloway, and people from Simon Cowell’s company Syco
Walsh has been an X Factor judge for nine years (pictured with fellow judges Gary Barlow, Nicole Scherzinger and Tulisa
Gary and I agree to disagree. We also
agree it has to be about the talent, not about being controversial.
Other shows are just jealous. We are the biggest. We’re the Manchester
United of television. People are always trying to knock us.
So how did it get to this point Let me flash back to the start of this year’s X Factor . . .
with Simon Cowell, who says: ‘We’re definitely going to have you back.’
You can never be confident because there are so many people involved.
They need to change the show around to make it fresh. Nothing is
guaranteed and nothing is a given.
meet the show’s producers and sign my contract. They confirm Gary and
Tulisa are also coming back. I fight for Sharon Osbourne or Nicole
Scherzinger as the fourth judge.
They say this year they want a
natural, real chemistry between people. Simon always had that with
Cheryl and Dannii and I had it with Sharon. Dannii is definitely in the
frame. She’s a grafter and always looks great.
was mentioned as coming back at one stage. I would have loved that. It
was her decision not to. I think she was listening to her manager
will.i.am. I don’t know what he is about — wearing teenager’s clothes.
Is that his real name I know he’s talented in the studio.
Over dinner: Simon Cowell said 'We're definitely going to have you back' in March
Wednesday, May 23 – Liverpool
It’s the first of this year’s auditions and the first time since last year’s X Factor that the three judges — myself, Gary and Tulisa — meet again.
Geri Halliwell makes an amazing entrance as guest judge. I’ve liked her since we were judges on Pop Stars: The Rivals in 2002, because she’s a little bit odd and funny in a good way. Geri talks a lot and even gets booed by some of the crowd, but she’s very likeable.
Saturday, May 26 – London
Leona Lewis is guest judge. She is too nice and doesn’t tell anybody they’re really bad, even if she’s thinking it. But her success since she won X Factor is living proof that the show works.
Monday, May 28 – London
Gascoigne [footballer Paul’s step-daughter] auditions. I’m the only one
to vote for her. The others don’t give her a chance. I want to see more
Wednesday, May 30 – London
is our guest judge. My God, this girl has an aura about her. If
somebody has the X Factor she absolutely knows, it’s a gut instinct.
we have to cope with Lorna Bliss, the Britney impersonator who
straddles me wearing her fishnet body stocking. I try to erase it from
Tuesday, June 5 – Manchester
the day after the Diamond Jubilee concert which Gary organised and I’m
calling him Sir Gary and Lord Barlow. Gary was thrown in at the deep
end on X Factor last year and thinks he is head judge, but we are all
equal. Next year is my tenth year, my Jubilee. I want to do one more
Manchester is Mel B’s first
appearance. I call her Grumpy Spice. She says exactly what she thinks. I
admire the way she doesn’t care about the audience booing and not
liking what she says.
She brings a new energy and reminds me a bit of Sharon Osbourne.
Thursday, June 7 – Manchester
and I have a row on the show about singer Lauren Smith, who I am not
sure is right for X Factor. I have sold more than 100 million records
with all my acts. I know the game inside out. Tulisa taunts me about
when I had my last hit because hers was only a few weeks before. I try
to tell her, you only had one hit, you are not Madonna yet.
'Too nice': Leona Lewis is guest judge in May. 'She is too nice and doesn't tell anybody they're really bad'
Friday June 8 to 9 – Kansas City
Holloway asks me if I would like to go to Kansas City to do the U.S.
version of X Factor because Simon is ill. I’d be judging with Britney
Spears. I think it is a joke. But he says: ‘There’s a private jet coming
for you.’ On board, they even have a bed, the Irish newspapers and
Barry’s Irish Tea especially for me.
land in Kansas City in the middle of the night. The next day I have to
walk the red carpet and think no one is ever going to know me, but I get
a good reaction. People had watched the British show on YouTube. Then
Britney comes out and the place goes crazy.
Britney has star power. She has got the X Factor. She doesn’t know who I am but she knows Westlife.
calls me and we talk about the show. He hadn’t had a meltdown as was
reported. He was ordered to rest because he was suffering from
In the middle
of the actual TV show, I get another call from Simon. Everyone on the
show can hear him saying: ‘I hear you are causing chaos and L.A. Reid [a
fellow judge] is complaining about you.’ Simon is fun and makes me
Monday, June 11 – Glasgow
happy to be back. I push the producers into booking Anastacia as the
guest judge. She has the most incredible voice. I loved her early
records and I thought she’s not doing much, why isn’t she on the show
She’s funny — slightly mad, but I love that.
There’s a lot of speculation about what
we all earn but it’s something we never discuss backstage. I don’t care
what the other judges get.
Star power: Britney Spears, who appeared on American X Factor (pictured with will.I.am on the show), has 'got the X Factor'
Monday, June 18 – Newcastle
Nicole’s first day as a permanent judge. The others are joking about me and her because I give her so much attention. Tulisa is pretending to be annoyed. Nicole tells me it was tough being on American X Factor, Simon gave her a hard time.
I said: ‘The UK is not going to be that tough because Simon is not here. So don’t worry.’ I don’t know why Simon came down so hard on her, because I thought she was great. I’m sure he fancied her, maybe that’s why.
Monday, June 25 – Cardiff
This is the last audition show and it goes off with a bang when Pink impersonator Zoe Alexander shouts, swears and pushes a producer. I feel sorry for her because I’m sure she regrets it.
I arrange a cake for Nicole’s birthday. We all get on well though there’s lots of sniping and innuendo behind the scenes. We’re always making fun of each other.
We’re always slagging Gary off for not eating real food because he eats all this health food. That’s why he looks so well. He’s like an athlete.
When he fell out of favour 12 years ago and put on weight, and people thought he was finished, I knew he was a talent. He proved it because he came back better and wrote some great songs.
Tuesday, July 17 to 20 – Liverpool, bootcamp
don’t attend the party the night before bootcamp. It’s OK having a few
drinks, but if people are going to be drunk and untogether, I don’t want
to work with them. Everybody thinks they can be famous without putting
in the hard work. If they’re not prepared for the hard work there’s no
The problem with X
Factor is people do an amazing first audition because they know their
song inside out. But when they sing different songs they’re not as good.
Some of them get better, but a lot get worse. Bootcamp is about who is
able to withstand the pressure and deliver.
Get on well: Walsh arranges a cake for Nicole's birthday in June (pictured together with Richard Holloway recently). 'We're always making fun of each other,' Walsh says
We send home 60 out of the 200 on the first day without hearing them sing. We don’t think they are contenders and then whittle them down to 24.
I get the call from Simon to tell me who my category is in Liverpool after bootcamp is over. I thought I was going to get the boys. I didn’t think I was going to get the groups.
Wednesday, August 29 to 30 – Las Vegas, Judges’ houses
I tell my acts: ‘You’re in Las Vegas, but you’re not here to party.’ I thought Vegas might inspire them because it’s where everybody performs and if you work hard you could perform here.
Also it is easy for my guest mentor Sharon Osbourne who flies in on a private jet from LA. Sharon can’t believe how much better the standard has got in the past few years.
I think one if not two of my acts could make it to the final. I love Charlie from MK1. She’s feisty. I’ve got one of my strongest line-ups ever —GMD3, Union J, MK1 and my wildcard Times Red. We’re ready to slug it out.
X Factor is on ITV1 on Saturday at 8.20pm and the results show is Sunday at 8pm
Now watch as Louis Walsh is whispered to during Sunday's performance
Now watch Carolynne Poole on X Factor fix claims