Simon's back and he means business...

We caught up with The X Factor boss Simon Cowell and quizzed him on what we can expect from this year's series.

How does it feel to be back?

It actually feels really good to be back in the UK. I think in a weird way it’s good I’ve had a break from the show. I’ve watched the show from a distance, and now I feel like I’m in control again. I like it.

What’s going to be different about this year?

I think you’re going to hear a different kind of singer this year. The show is going to look different in terms of the line-up, and on this year there are a lot of hurdles to overcome. You’ve got to go from the small room to the arena to the six chair challenge, which I think is a great addition. Then you’ve got to do the judges’ houses visit, then you make it on the live shows. So anyone who gets to the live shows has earned their spot.

Mel B reveals how she feels about Cheryl

The show’s newcomer: Scary by name but actually quite sweet (when she’s not being scary)

How would you describe yourself as a judge?

I would like to think that I’m just really honest. I call it how it is, and whatever I see and whatever I feel, I just express that.

How have you found the rooms compared to the arenas? What do you think the difference is for the acts?

I think in the audition room it’s very nerve-wracking for the contestants, because it’s us four and them. It’s almost like being in prison, with us four. Who would want to be in that situation? But then in the arenas they really get that feedback from the audience - they get to entertain us and the crowd, which is a whole different level.

What is your biggest audition turn off?

My biggest audition turn off is when the contestants go: ‘Come on everybody join in, clap your hands’. I’m like: ‘Uhhh no’.

What's Louis' biggest turn off?

Louis Walsh is back for his 11th series...

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Having Simon Cowell back. I think he’s going to be different, I think he’s going to be fun. I think there are going to be sparks between Simon, Cheryl and Mel B. There’s good chemistry between all of us. Simon and Cheryl are very funny always annoying each other. Mel is just honest. This is the perfect X Factor panel, it really is.

In all of your years on The X Factor, which of the show’s alumni have made the biggest impression on you in their first auditions?

I always remember JLS in their first audition. When they walked in they were the perfect group. Not just vocally, but mentally and the way they worked together. I loved working with a lot of other people – Shane Ward, Jedward - for different reasons, but the most perfect act for me was JLS.

Cheryl: 'I'll get my own back on Simon'

She's already topped the charts this year, but now she has her eyes on the crown as The X Factor's winning judge... It’s Cheryl!

What made you decide to come back to the show this year?

Well aside from a lot of begging and grovelling on Mr Cowell’s part, it just felt like the right time. I’d had enough time away to appreciate it and get really excited to find new talent again.

We’ve heard that Simon has been winding you up during filming for the auditions?

Simon has his very own way of being very annoying! He knows which buttons to push and he’ll push them, and push them, and push them. But I play the long game... I’m waiting. Don’t worry about me, I’ll get my own back.