As the first previous contestant to take up residence as a judge on the show, the ex One Directioner seems to have some great credentials...
How did Simon convince you to join the show?
It wasn’t that hard to convince me, I’ve been a big fan of the show, even before I was on it myself. I think it was maybe two or three years ago that I started coming down to the show of my own accord and helped Simon with his acts on routine days in the studio. I found that really exciting. So as soon as I realised I could do both my own music and judge at the same time, it was a bit of a no brainer for me.
What do you make of Ayda?
I think she’s been amazing and done an absolutely incredible job. I sit next to her and for the first couple of days we were the good ones on the panel and let Robbie and Simon be the bad guys! I think she just brings a lot of empathy and a lot of understanding. She looks at things from a people’s perspective rather than an artist or manager.
What was sitting on the panel like?
On the first day it was as surreal for me as the contestants auditioning. It was a proud moment for me, definitely. I think it also helps having me there, I don’t think they have ever had anyone on the panel who has auditioned for the show. I feel a duty of care, I want to help people out.
How competitive are you?
I’m really competitive. I hadn’t really thought about it until the last couple of days of auditions. It was only then that it dawned on me that this is a competition and I’d like to win it! This is my first year and I’ve been all nice and friendly with the other judges until now. Now I reckon it’s on and I’ve got a good chance of winning!
How are you feeling about the pressure of mentoring an act in such a public arena?
I’m relishing that pressure, I can’t wait to get into it. What excites me about The X Factor is really getting stuck into the creative. I’m really trying to use my experience to help new artists.
Who do you think wants to win the most out of Robbie and Ayda?
That’s a tough one. I think Ayda would enjoy it more. I hope she wins rather than Robbie!
What’s your message to the other judges?
I just hope that they realise I am in it to win it and so is my category. I’ll be using my resources and my experience that I’ve gained over the last eight years to do exactly that.