Cheryl Fernandez-Versini said Mel B has brought out her mischievous side as they headed into the latest round of X Factor auditions at Wembley.
The Crazy Stupid Love singer, who recently changed her name from Cole after marrying French restaurateur Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini following a whirlwind romance, has returned to the singing contest after a four-year absence.
She joined returning panel boss Simon Cowell, new mentor Mel B and show stalwart Louis Walsh as they prepared to give their verdicts on the latest wannabes today.
Cheryl said of Scary Spice: “The troublemakers are always Simon, and Melanie is trouble but in the best way possible. In fact she brings out trouble in me so maybe the two of us together are trouble.”
Asked whether she was preparing any insults for Simon, who famously sacked her from the US version of the show, she added: “They’re natural, they just come out naturally because he’s so rude sometimes, they just flow off my tongue.”
Cowell claimed the whole panel was getting on well, and said: “This whole thing about girls falling out, that’s not happening. Everyone we’ve put on the show this year, we’ve said specifically you’ve got to put the hours in to find some stars.”
Walsh, the only judge to have sat on the panel for every series of The X Factor, agreed that finding a superstar was vital: “It’s not like any other year. We have been told we have to find stars. Proper stars.”
Referring to BBC ratings rival Strictly Come Dancing, he added: “We have to make the show the biggest show on TV. We have to kill that other show, the dancing show for older people. We have to find stars. We’re looking for a new One Direction, a new Olly Murs, a new Ella [Henderson]. We’re looking for people who are going to have proper careers.”
But Cheryl, who is rumoured to have a long-running disagreement with Louis, said: “I want to find someone fresh. People are always saying we’re looking for the next One Direction, we’re looking for the next Olly Murs. I’m not looking for that, I’m looking for someone that’s new and fresh and that we haven’t got in the industry at the moment.”
Asked whether he was the only man for the job on The X Factor, Simon, who recently returned from the US version of the show, said: “Of course, I’m the daddy.”
Cowell was unapologetic about his notorious sharp tongue with some of the contestants. He said: “If you get someone in who’s a bit lippy and gobby and useless, you say what it is. I’ve never gone in there deliberately to be rude, but they’re long days.”
Fans can expect all of the judges to be outspoken this year – Mel has already gained a reputation for being strict with contestants, but claimed she was “just honest”.
Show host Dermot O’Leary and new Xtra Factor presenter Sarah-Jane Crawford also made appearances at the Wembley auditions.
The X Factor is expected to return to TV on August 30 for its 11th season.