Simon Cowell has revealed he'd make several huge changes if The X Factor were to ever return to screens, including ditching the gendered categories and allowing contestants to perform their own music.
He also revealed that the salaries offered to the show's A-list judging panel "got out of whack" and went too far.
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The 62-year-old music and television mogul told The Sun that the show would have to "go back to basics" if it were to find a way to work in the modern music world.
He added: "When we first started the show it was very simple with unique elements. I’d argue you can’t make a better music show than that.
Watch: Little Mix didn't read X Factor contracts before signing them
"I have an expression though — if you’re going to go to a party, have an invitation. You want to feel people are excited at the thought of The X Factor returning.
"I’d have to believe that we’d have great people turning up. If you don’t, you’ve got a problem."
Cowell said he'd improve the mentoring element of the show and allow performers to use their own material, as well as bringing in young people who wanted to get into music to shadow the production.
He added: "The only good thing of getting older is you have a lot of experience and it’s not always about the things you did well — it’s also about the things you didn’t."
Cowell confessed that one of his blunders around the show was in the salaries offered to judges including Cheryl and Robbie Williams, which he said "got out of whack" as the programme got bigger and bigger.
“I’d be a hypocrite if I said I hadn’t made a lot of money. But it got too crazy," he admitted.
The X Factor was officially axed in 2021, having been off screens since 2018 when Jamaican singer Dalton Harris won the 15th series.
The show made stars of acts including One Direction, Leona Lewis, Little Mix and Alexandra Burke.
Several of the performers who were involved in The X Factor throughout its lifespan have criticised Cowell and the show for the way contestants were treated during and after taking part.
Little Mix said the show had "lost its authenticity" prior to the axe and launched their own talent competition The Search in 2020.
Fleur East, meanwhile, had a balanced perspective and suggested that young performers need to have more information before taking on shows like The X Factor.
She said: "A lot of young contestants don’t really know of the pitfalls and the hardship. When you get signed you think you’ve made it. They don’t realise that’s only the beginning.”
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