Kian Egan challenges Simon Cowell over claim Westlife were 'the ugliest boy band'

Kian Egan has said he challenged pop mogul Simon Cowell over claims Westlife were 'the ugliest' boyband he had worked with.

Kian, one-fifth of the Irish chart-toppers signed by Simon, said the X Factor judge quickly backtracked on his comments when asked to clarify them - although the singer admitted two of the band were ugly.

Speaking to Phil Williams on BBC Radio 5 live, Kian joked that former bandmates Nicky Byrne and Brian McFadden were the least attractive because they were both Dubliners. The rest of the band are from Sligo.

The 34-year-old, who was crowned king of the jungle in last year's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here, said: "I interviewed him (Simon Cowell) a few weeks ago for a television show and I asked him: 'So come on you say Westlife was the ugliest band you ever had,' and he said: 'Well now kiddo, I wasn't talking about you...'"

According to Kian, Simon said when he first saw the band in the late 1990s, one of his initial reactions was 'that you were the ugliest looking band'.

Kian said: "I understand where he was coming from because the band that he first saw, is not the band that he signed.

"As time went on, the band changed, there was six of us originally, and then when Louis (fellow X Factor judge Walsh) started managing us, and when we met

Simon, Louis started changing people in the band for a while... and it only ended up being me, Shane (Filan) and Mark (Feehily) from the original line up.

"Then we brought in Nicky and Brian, and that was the band Simon Cowell signed."

Asked to name and shame who was lacking, aesthetically, in the band, Kian replied: "Nicky and Brian were the ugly ones, because they from Dublin."

Westlife split up in 2012, and Kian said there was a definite chance they would perform again.

He told the BBC: "There is no talk of a Westlife reunion whatsoever. It's only two years ago since we broke up.

"I think everybody is just doing their own thing as individuals right now. Westlife is an amazing part of our lives, but you know, we are doing other things as individuals rather than as a band.

"I want Westlife to get back together, at some point in my life. That's the real answer from my part.

"We did it for 14, 15 years, since we were teenagers. I think it is important for us to be on our own and live life outside the Westlife bubble for a good five to 10 years, would be my guessing."


Press Association

Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.