Sharon Osbourne compared Louis Walsh’s Over 28s group on ‘The X Factor’ to “a bunch of old pirates”.
TV personality Sharon was delighted to return to the programme in 2008 to support her friend at the Judges Houses stage of the competition - helping him choose which of his category should win a place in the live finals of the show – but was shocked when she first met the eight hopefuls.
Speaking about her first encounter with Storm Lee, Mary Byrne, John Adeleye, Yuli Minguel, Stephen Hunter, Wagner Carrilho, Justin Vanderhyde and Elesha Moses, Sharon said: “They looked like a bunch of old pirates - it was quite shocking. But you can't take people at face value. There were some very talented people in the group, as well as a couple of real crazies.”
Louis said Sharon, 57, was an incredibly positive force on the hopefuls, and helped inspire confidence in them.
He said: “Sharon has a way of getting the very best out of people. She gives them confidence. She doesn't give them any of the showbiz c**p that the other judges will give. She just makes it real because she is upfront and honest.
“She particularly identified with Mary, who said she never had the confidence to go for it in the past. Sharon said, ‘Look at me. I was a fat girl. I got everything done and it changed my life, and now I'm confident in going forward.”
Sharon was thrilled to return to the show, which she quit following a series of rows with panellist Dannii Minogue.
She told the Daily Mail newspaper: “Being with Louis is just like coming home again. It didn't take a lot for Louis to persuade me.
“I've missed ‘The X Factor’, the people and the buzz of the whole show. Louis and I are great friends and we phone each other all the time, having a laugh and a gossip.”