Britain’s Got Talent boss Simon Cowell has admitted that he is not entirely honest with the younger acts on his TV show and revealed his latest ambition – to produce the next leaders’ debate.
Viewers have seen several children impress Simon and his fellow judges Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams.
Asked whether he had ever lied as a judge, Simon told Radio Times magazine: “Obviously. Sometimes you have to tell what’s called ‘a kind lie’.
“With a kid dance act, for example, that’s not very good … I obviously can’t say what I really think! Especially if they’re a bit fragile…”
David, who was voted TV’s favourite judge, insisted that he had always been truthful, replying: “That’s why I’m the nation’s favourite.
“People don’t realise we see about 650 people over the series and only one in four of those people make it on to the TV. So there’s a hell of a lot of people who are just mediocre.”
Simon added: “Being mediocre is the worst thing.”
The music and TV mogul said that he wanted to spice up the pre-General Election leaders’ debates in future by producing them himself.
“I would love to do that! I’d do it in a heartbeat! One hundred per cent – I’d have walk-ons, music, fire… and a trap door if people didn’t like what they said.
“And I’d definitely have a clapometer. I am deadly serious. Can we start a petition? I really would love a chance to do that!”
He said that Cheryl Fernandez-Versini was his favourite TV judge, suggesting that she could be back for the next series of The X Factor.
And of Louis Walsh, who confirmed he will not be returning to the singing contest, he insisted: “Louis is a great friend and a brilliant judge but we really still haven’t made any final decisions.
“And just to be clear, when they say, ‘Cowell wields axe!’ I’m not the only one making the decision – there’s about 30 people involved.”
He denied letting down some of the acts after they have won his talent shows.
“I hear stories about artists who say we didn’t do enough, but we did everything we normally do. I can’t make the public go and buy something if they don’t want to buy it,” he told the magazine.
“The public will determine whether an act finds success beyond the show. I always want incredible things to happen but if you spend a year making a record and you put the record out and nothing… I’ve always believed an artist determines their own career. We can put some money up, we can help them, we can advise them, but you need someone who has got talent and who has got that determination.”
He said of Britain’s Got Talent success story Susan Boyle: “I am happiest about Susan… It was a turning point for the show and for me actually, as a person.
“It sounds like a cliche but she made me realise that you can’t judge a book by its cover. When she came out, I remember thinking, ‘God, I hope you’re not going to sing, because I just…’
“And then it was amazing! I deliberately kept me in (the edit) looking like a horrible person as a reminder of what can happen.”
Meanwhile, David said that he was not interested in joining Britain’s Got Talent when he was first approached by Simon, admitting: “I wasn’t sure I’d be any good at judging.”
Simon called his own decision to turn down Take That before they found fame “a stupid mistake” but added: “It happens.”