Louis Walsh has claimed the only way pop star Cheryl could win The X Factor is if she mimed.
The Irish music manager, who was on the singing competition’s judging panel alongside the former Girls Aloud member in 2008, was asked why the Say My Name hitmaker wasn’t asked to be a part of the show’s upcoming celebrity spin-off during an exclusive interview with The Sun.
“You mean as a contestant? She would be good,” the 67-year-old joked. “She could even win it.”
But his praise soon turned into a seemingly lighthearted jibe when the publication asked whether Cheryl would sing live.
“Cheryl doesn't mime,” he winked. “It is called lip-syncing.”
It’s long been rumoured that Walsh and Cheryl have shared a complicated relationship since the former managed Girls Aloud from 2002 to 2004. Back in 2017, Cheryl’s bandmate Nadine Coyle claimed that the mogul “didn’t like them” and “thought they were trouble,” which created tension between the group.
Last year, Walsh stepped down as a judge on The X Factor for the first time in 13 years, as One Direction star Louis Tomlinson filled in. Cheryl was rumoured to be joining him and Simon Cowell but ITV opted for husband-and-wife duo Robbie Williams and Ayda Field instead.
"I thought HE was a brilliant booking, but then he went and brought his wife on the show,” Walsh said of the controversial decision. “You don't bring your wife to work.
"He is a brilliant character and judge and with Simon it should have been amazing. It should have been the best panel ever but it just didn't work. There was no X Factor. Nicole (Scherzinger) or Sharon (Osbourne) would have been better."
Read more: The X Factor: Celebrity line up confirmed
In April, the former Take That singer and his partner confirmed that they would not be returning to the show but said they were excited to work on exciting new projects with Cowell in the future.
When The X Factor: Celebrity launches on Saturday, Walsh will act as judge alongside Scherzinger and Cowell.
Contestants include Ex on the Beach’s Megan McKenna, Love Actually star Olivia Olson, EastEnders actor Jonny Labey, journalist Martin Bashir and Love Island favourites Wes Nelson, Samira Mighty, Eyal Booker and Zara McDermott.