Simon Cowell has said it 'just felt right' when he started working with the new line-up of X Factor judges. The music mogul recruited BBC Radio One DJ Nick Grimshaw and former The Voice coach Rita Ora to join himself and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini on the ITV show for 2015, and he hasn't regretted the decision.
"It didn't feel like judges for hire. It really felt like they were interested in the show and more importantly, they were interested in the contestants," Simon revealed. "I have to credit Nick with this, he has a fantastic energy. People have always said to me that he's like everyone's best friend and I didn't work it out until I met him."
Simon said it "just felt right" working with the new X Factor judges
He added: "He's like a really friendly dog, really friendly, he always wants to be stroked and be happy. There's not a bad side to him or an ego, he just really likes people and that's when I figured out what his role was on the panel."
Simon also said that Rita "belongs" with The X Factor after she left her position as a coach on BBC rival show The Voice to join the judging panel in June.
Simon said Nick is like "a really friendly dog"
"It did make me laugh when I thought about getting Rita onto the show. We did have her first!" Simon explained, referring to Rita's stint as a guest judge on The X Factor in 2012. "She was a very different girl back then, it was one of the first things she did and she was very shy, she was good, but not the Rita we have today.
"When I saw her on The Voice a couple of years later it was like, 'How come they've got her? I wanted her.' I met her at the Brits and I asked her what happened, she said I didn't ask her. I said, 'I did, and to make it clear, I'm asking you again.'"
Simon believes that Rita Ora "belongs with The X Factor"
Rita took him up on the offer, and has since found an ally in her new boss. "She belongs with The X Factor! She's been a revelation," Simon enthused. "I was telling some friends the other day, she's got an incredible heart, she's funny, smart, interesting and really wants the contestants to do well."
The Poison singer has also struck up a friendship with Cheryl, despite some speculation that they wouldn't get on.
"Everyone thought these two were going to hate each other, that they were going to hate each other, that there would be a big catfight, but I genuinely never thought that," he said. "I think with Cheryl and Rita they have helped each other and it feels like they have known each other a long time."