Friday 21 October 2016

Louis knows when to bow out - but if you believe he's done, think again

As accidental TV stars go, Louis Walsh is as good as it gets.

Talking to TV3 last week, he dropped an apparent bombshell when he revealed that he would not be going back to the X Factor later this year, though in reality, it's almost a year since he first suggested that the series that concluded at Christmas would be his last.

After 11 years on that show, he revealed last week that he fell into it by accident.

"I'd like to get back to where I started off," he told Lucy Kennedy. "I never even wanted to be on TV, it just happened."

Where Louis "started off", of course, is managing acts. From the early days of handling showbands, through looking after Johnny Logan, to launching the boyband juggernauts that were Boyzone and Westlife, Louis has had more than his fair share of success and, just as importantly, has known instinctively when that success has started to wane.

You can say what you like about Louis, but one thing is beyond dispute, he has an unerring sense of timing.

Louis's career has been defined by his ability to know just the right time to get involved with something, and the exact right time to get out.

Some may accuse him of heartlessness in the way that he parted from acts he has nurtured, but you cannot deny that none went on to achieve anything like the success they had while they were under Louis' wing.

Acts like The Carter Twins, Samantha Mumba, Girls Aloud, Shane Ward, Mary Byrne, Jedward and Boyzone have all either failed to maintain the success they enjoyed when Louis managed them, or in some cases disappeared without trace after he decided that his time with them was done.

One cannot help but think that Louis' decision to get out of the X Factor is another example of this impeccable timing as falling ratings, a general sense that the format has become stale, and the increasing failure of acts to achieve lasting success have sounded the alarm bells that maybe now is a good time to get out, before external circumstances force him to do so.

As Louis would tell you himself, modern success stories like Hozier and Kodaline didn't come through talent shows, and if Louis is to be in charge of acts that succeed in the music industry, he's going to have to do what he does best - find them, nurture them, and manage them himself.


Louis has never been shy about admitting that he's had a bit of "maintenance" done. But in reality, the odd nip and tuck isn't the secret to 62-year-old Louis' remarkably youthful appearance.

He knows better than anyone that the secret to staying young is to keep working, and continue doing what you love.

With Hometown and Shane Filan under his wing, an inevitable Westlife reunion on the cards at some stage, and now talk of fronting a blockbuster Sunday night TV show, Ireland's Got Talent, Louis shows no signs of slowing down, which can only come as good news.

After all, this country would be a far duller place without him.

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