Cowell: Controversies have made No.1 race 'more exciting'

Simon Cowell relishes in the controversy surrounding 'The X Factor'.

Simon Cowell relishes in the controversy surrounding 'The X Factor'.

The 51-year-old music mogul - who shocked fans by deciding to implement a semi-final sing-off for the first time in the history of the ITV1 show last weekend - admitted he welcomes internet campaigns launched in the hope of discrediting the series, as they make the race to number one more "exciting".

However, after alternative rockers Rage Against The Machine beat last year's winner Joe McElderry to the Christmas number one, Simon confessed he had a "wake up call".

He told BANG Showbiz: "I've loved it. I think it's been controversial, interesting, unexpected. Fans like the changes and the twists. I would never want to make the same show as I've made before. There has never been any fix and all the contestants knew they would be subjected to a sing-off.

"I did get a bit bolshie last year and said a few stupid things. I told the record label we had nothing to worry about with the Rage Against The Machine record. We got a very big wake up call the next Monday. I called the guys and congratulated them. It makes it all more exciting."

Meanwhile, Simon - who is mentoring boyband One Direction - revealed each of the four finalists have recorded a unique track, which will be their first single should they win 'The X Factor' on Sunday.

He explained: "The winner's have each recorded an individual record so it's unique to them and not just one song. I genuinely think all the controversy and campaigns have made the race more exciting.

"It keeps me working harder because I want to have these guys at number one. I welcome the competition."

Rebecca Ferguson, One Direction, Matt Cardle and Cher Lloyd will now battle it out in the hope of being crowned winner on Sunday night's live final.

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