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Cowell ruined X Factor claims Mr Nasty

Simon Cowell has destroyed the integrity of The X Factor by putting on novelty acts who lack talent, it has been claimed.

Cowell (51) quit his judging role on American Idol in May last year to launch The X Factor in the US this autumn.

And now Nigel Lythgoe, American Idol's executive producer, says that viewers had not missed TV's so-called Mr Nasty.

He said: "In a way, I'm delighted Simon's left American Idol. He's given us the opportunity to refurbish it.

"Everyone said that it would be the end. And what's happened? The ratings are equal to last year's, we got 30 million votes the other evening, and if we lost 50pc of our audience we would still be the number one show."

Cowell is taking The X Factor, with himself as judge and executive producer, to Fox TV with a record $5m recording contract for the winner of the series.

But Lythgoe (61) said: "You have to choose contestants with talent -- unless they have an incredible story to tell.

"I don't class The X Factor as a talent show. Look at (former contestants) Jedward and Wagner. They're on because we love the fun and the circus of it.

"Simon knows what he's doing -- it certainly gives the press something to feed off. But it destroys the integrity of the show."

Lythgoe, who launched Cowell's career as a TV judge on Pop Idol, said American Idol hadn't suffered following Cowell's exit.

He said: "Does there always need to be a 'nasty' judge? No, now that Simon's left American Idol we don't have a mean person and everyone's saying this is the best season since the early days."

Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, singer Jennifer Lopez and record producer Randy Jackson are this year's judges on American Idol, the biggest show in the US.

Record executive Antonio 'LA' Reid, who helped launch the careers of chart stars Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber and Jay-Z, has been announced as one of the judges of the US X Factor.

It has been reported that hip-hop star Nicki Minaj is in talks about joining Reid and Cowell on the judging panel.

hnews@herald.ie