Louis Walsh Opens Up On Controversial Elimination
X FACTOR UK JUDGE LOUIS WALSH SHARES HIS THOUGHTS ON LAST WEEK’S CONTROVERSIAL ELIMINATION, HIS FAVORITE PERFORMANCES, AND WHAT IT’S LIKE TO WORK WITH SIMON COWELL
Following last week’s shocking results show, Louis Walsh, world-class producer and THE X FACTOR UK’s longest-tenured judge, sat down with AXS TV for a candid interview where he discusses his hands-on approach to mentoring, what makes the show so successful, and the much-talked about elimination of singer Paul Akister—a decision that left viewers, contestants, and even fellow judge, Mel B., fuming.[youtubeif GBUPlQ8Z_N4]
This season, Walsh finds himself helming the Groups category for the fifth time since his stint on the show began. His experiences with that category have given some much-need insight that has clearly been beneficial to his current success, as he emphasizes the importance of playing to his groups’ strengths, saying, “I want them to be happy. I do not want any of my groups to do a song that they’re not happy with… they must believe in it as much as I do.”
In a fun anecdote, Walsh dishes on his unique approach to building a personal connection with his contestants that goes beyond the show, revealing that, “We went skating, we went to the football match, I’m going out with their parents for a meal this week with Only the Young,” as well as using creative incentives to push his performers to be the best that they can be: “I keep promising them if they get through to the next week that whatever they want me to do I will do—be it ice-skating, going on the London Wheel, doing things I would never do. If they do it, I said, ‘I’ll go with you next week.’ That’s the deal.”
WE LOVE LOUIS WALSH pic.twitter.com/kZ3qkzMeEl
— Only The Young (@OTYOfficial) November 8, 2014
With a roster of 12 contestants still alive in the competition, it’s hard to argue with his results, and Walsh recognizes this, saying, “It makes them work harder. I have to be just as invested in the whole show as they are.” However, he is not without his regrets.
Opening up about the controversial decision to send vocalist Paul Akister home this past week, Walsh admits, “I’m not over it yet. I’m honestly not over it. I’ve been doing this 11 years and I’ve never been affected by something as bad. I didn’t know Paul was going to go home… I didn’t want to make the decision, so I thought, ‘I’ll put it to the public’. It was a bit of a cop-out from me. I know that. I really know that. But, I wanted to see who had the least votes.”
For as much as he accepts the role he played in the elimination, Walsh believes that Akister’s mentor, Mel B., should bare some of the blame, as well. “He is an amazing soul singer, but Mel did have him singing two rock songs. He was out of his comfort zone. Freddie Mercury was not who he wanted to be. He wanted to be Marvin Gaye or Stevie Wonder or Al Green.”
When asked about his favorite performances this season, Walsh was not shy about his admiration for singer Andrea Faustini, saying, “Andrea never lets me down. Ever. Week one, doing the Michael Jackson song ‘You Are Not Alone’, and then last week he closed the show with ‘Somebody to Love’. That’s who I look forward to seeing each time. He never lets me down.”[youtubeif eOxejvNnJa8]
Talking about the show’s polarizing head honcho—creator, producer, and fellow judge, Simon Cowell—Walsh gives a rare glimpse at the man behind the mastermind: “Working with Simon is never tiresome because he makes it interesting and he makes us all work really hard… it’s the best job in the world. He demands that you work more. If you don’t like it, you shouldn’t be doing it. That’s his attitude. I went back to his house the other night after the show, and what did we do? We watched the show again. He always wants it to be better.”
It’s Cowell’s tremendous work ethic, as well as the show’s eclectic variety, that Welsh attributes to THE X FACTOR UK’s enduring success, saying, “Behind the scenes and on the scenes and working with Simon, it is different every day. You never know what’s going to happen, what’s going to be said, what’s going to change in the show. He makes the show happen. Every week it’s different—the songs are different, the artists are different. There’s something for everybody in the show this year. There’s all genres of music.”
For even more explosive fireworks, judge drama, and unforgettable performances, be sure to tune in as THE X FACTOR UK returns with two all-new episodes this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the results show on Monday at 8 p.m. ET.
— THE X FACTOR (USA) (@TheXFactorUSA) November 3, 2014