Simon Cowell: Don't sing Unchained Melody!

Simon Cowell: Don't sing Unchained Melody!
Simon Cowell: Don't sing Unchained Melody! (Image credit: AP/Press Association Images)

Simon Cowell has said X Factor wannabes who sing the Righteous Brothers' hit Unchained Melody could be immediately dismissed. "Whoever said that was my favourite song was joking," he told The Hollywood Reporter. The TV mogul, who is launching a US version of The X Factor, also said he doesn't want to hear renditions of Jason Mraz's I'm Yours, the Etta James classic At Last ("I'm allergic to it"), R Kelly's ballad I Believe I Can Fly and John Legend's Ordinary People - "It's never as good as the original." Simon - who will be head judge alongside Antonio 'LA' Reid, Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger - said reuniting with Paula has been a dream. "With Paula, within five minutes of a shoot she's not aware that the cameras are not on any more and she's still prepared to argue. (Our reunion), it's like getting your old dog back from the pound," he admitted. As for former Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole, he couldn't resist having a dig. "Nicole was (odd) in a fantastically self-centred way and she wasn't even aware of it. In every city she changes her accent. In New York City, she has a Brooklyn accent; in Dallas she has a twang," he recalled. But he praised LA, saying: "LA Reid is a revelation." The US version of The X Factor is set to premiere on September 21 on American screens and will screen on ITV2 in the UK.

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.