Simon Cowell shares life-changing moment as he makes special Scouse admission

Simon Cowell outside The Cavern Club as he kickstarted his search for a new boyband in Liverpool
-Credit: (Image: Liverpool Echo)

Simon Cowell knows there's something special about Liverpool.

The legendary judge arrived in the city this week to kickstart his search for a new boyband. The 64-year-old is conducting the second day of auditions in the Atlantic Pavilion at the Albert Dock today as he aims to find the next big star.

Simon spoke to the ECHO at the famous Cavern Club and explained how Liverpool's musical heritage and vibrant spirit was why the hunt could only begin in Merseyside. He said: "I felt it as I was walking down [Mathew Street] then. It's got a great energy about it.

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Simon paid tribute to his iconic surroundings as he said tapping into the pool of incredible talent from the city that birthed The Beatles was a no brainer. He added: "I kept thinking even though they weren't technically a boy band, they were four boys in a band and they were the biggest band ever. So I thought maybe that's the right thing to do and start here."

The media mogul heaped praise on the personality of Liverpudlians and always enjoys the opportunity to visit Merseyside. He said: "I love the people here. Every time we've filmed here, I've always had a great time. I love the audience and I'm always fighting with producers saying we've got to film in Liverpool again because we always have the best time."

Simon said nowhere can generate an atmosphere quite like Liverpool as he recalled how moving the Britain's Got Talent auditions to the city for a previous season reinvigorated the whole format. He said: "I felt the show had been a bit flat the year before which can happen.

"And then we came up here, I looked back [during the auditions] and I could hear the energy. Looking around, I thought this is like being in a party, it's bloody brilliant. And then when I watched it back, we had all the soundbites [from the crowd] and I thought, 'this is its own show'. The audience just talking about the acts was better than we were."

Simon is hoping to inject his potential new group with this Scouse energy adding: "[In Liverpool] everyone has got an opinion. Everyone is fun. I genuinely mean this. I've just always had good memories of this city. Trust me. I think it's what we all need right now - a dose of Liverpool."

And it's not just Liverpool Simon thinks the world needs more of at the moment - he said the music scene is in desperate need of a new pop group. The former X Factor judge said there hasn't been a globally successful boyband since One Direction split up and he is determined to fill the void with his next project.

He added: "If One Direction existed today, I really think they would be as popular. The truth is with groups, they don't really form themselves. Somebody like me usually has to say you, you and you should be in a band."

This is what has inspired Simon to embark on a search for the next superstar which is taking him to Dublin and London after he leaves Merseyside. He said: "I used to do this all year long. I used to go to cities and stage auditions so I thought let's do it again. You've got to go into the cities and you've got to meet people.

"You always look for individual stars, you combine them all together and you create an even bigger star." The TV personality has gone back to basics with the latest search as auditions are held in front of Simon and a selected panel of experts but not crowd.

Simon has issued a callout on for talented 16 - 18 year olds to audition and has no idea how the search is going to pan out. The process could be the basis for a new documentary series and Simon admitted he is nervous about the spontaneous approach to the search.

He told the ECHO: "I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach thinking, 'what if no-one turns up?' There's no guarantee. Normally when I do these shows, there's a fixed period of time when we go 'we start filming here and we end filming there'. With this, it's a different process. We're documenting what we're doing but we don't know when it ends because it will only end when we feel we've found what we're looking for and, right now, we don't know what we're looking for."

However, Simon said it will all be worth it if he manages to emulate his previous successes. He said: "There is something about when a band pops, it is the most exciting feeling in the world. When I look at the times I had with One Direction and they had their first hit record, that was the most exciting and fun time of my career."

He added: "So I'm praying, even if we find one person to start with who I really believe in. Then that's a good place to start."

If anyone is able to do it, then it is Simon as he has a proven track record of launching the careers of so many of the biggest pop acts, such as Westlife and Little Mix, during his career. Simon has seen and done it all during his life in the music industry, but he is showing no signs of slowing down as he remains as passionate as ever about unearthing the next big star.

Standing still is something you could never associate with Simon and it is notable how his TV persona has changed over the years since he first appeared on our screens. When Pop Idol first premiered, Simon was known for his savage put downs, but he has softened over recent years which he puts down to becoming a dad.

He said: "Every time you see a young contestant, you go, 'that could be my son'." Simon and his partner, Lauren Silverman, welcomed their child, Eric, into the world in 2014 and the talent judge explained how he has been forever changed by fatherhood.

He added: "Everything happens for a reason and I think we all evolve as people. I think definitely being a dad does soften you up a lot. So I would say to anyone reading - just be a mum or a dad because it's the best feeling in the world."

However, he doesn't regret anything about his previous persona saying: "I feel in the early days of these shows I used to get frustrated because people would come in and they just couldn't sing. I would be honest with them and say that. I thought I'm only being honest, I'm not going to lie to you. You want people to do well."

Simon said this sort of honesty is what is needed to succeed in the brutal industry of showbiz adding: "Even if you're brilliant, it's hard. It's impossible if you can't sing. That's when I used to get frustrated because I really wanted to find a star every year and there were times when we didn't see any good people and I would really get in a bad mood."

Simon continues to thrive in this tough climate as he is busier than ever with new seasons of America and Britain's Got Talent on the horizon, in addition to finalising the search for the new boyband. A hectic schedule is just how Simon likes it and the judge can't wait to see what comes from his risky new venture as he enters the next chapter of his career.

He said: "I have great memories of what I've done before but that is the past and it doesn't interest me. I'm always more excited about when I see a gap in the market like now. I think wow, if we get this right and it works there is a real opportunity here. Not just for us, but for the people in the band.

"This is much more raw than what I'm used to, there's no safety net and could go terribly wrong or go great. I don't know, but I just know I would hate myself if I didn't try."

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