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    The judges
    of The X Factor get candid about the
    competition
    heating up, the changes on the 11th season and Simon Cowell back on
    the panel

    Simon Cowell

    How competitive are all the judges feeling this year?
    You don’t get competitive until you get your category. At that point, you almost forget about the artistes – it’s so much about you winning. Or someone else not winning – which is why you put competitive people on the show because if you don’t really want to win, it’s kind of a boring show.

    Working with Mel B.
    I think she brings an incredible energy to the show. She isn’t a judge for hire. Plus, she’s really fun to be around, although I do get why she is called Scary!

    On bringing Louis back.
    He brings a sort of madness to the show. He’s a nutcase, and he has a very different view of the world than I do. He is a real optimist, whereas, I tend to be a little bit more cynical. But he loves his music. He loves doing the show. And I must say, he is a good manager. I mean he has sold over 100 million records – you don’t do that with luck, you do it because you are smart.
    Louis Walsh

    What are you most looking forward to this year?
    Having Simon Cowell back. When he’s around, everyone is better. Everyone works harder. We always have to prove why we’re there. He demands more.

    More on this year’s panel?
    This year is fantastic. This was meant to be. There’s good chemistry between all of us. Simon and Cheryl are very funny always annoying each other. Mel is just honest. This is the perfect X Factor panel, it really is.

    How competitive are you all
    feeling this year?
    We’re going to be very competitive this year. Everybody wants to win the show. Simon thinks he’s going to win, Cheryl wants to win, Mel thinks, ‘I’m going to show them what I’m made of.’ I’ve been there 11 years, I know what to do. We’re all competitive and we all want to win. But I’m going to win.

    Mondays, 9 pm on VH1
    Details: itv.com/xfactor

    — Aakanksha Devi

    Mel B
    Disagreements with other judges.
    I think with the other judges, we’re always kind of going to either agree, or disagree or agree to disagree.

    Biggest audition turn off.
    When the contestants go ‘come on everybody join in, clap your hands’. I’m like ‘uhhh no’.

    How competitive are the judges this year?
    I think all of them are very competitive. Especially this year…oh yeah!

    Who is the most intimidating?
    I think all four of us are intimidating. I think a lot of people out of the gate are scared of Simon, but I don’t know about me. I think they like me…NOT!

    Cheryl
    Fernandez-Versini
    What is different this year?
    We’ve changed format points, and obviously, the panel changes everything because you’ve got different dynamics. Simon and I’ve always had good chemistry where we bounce off each other.
    Do you and Mel B have similar opinions?
    We do and a lot of the time Mel says things and I think ‘that’s exactly how I would put it, that’s exactly how I feel.’ She’s a bit more blunt than I am in her approach, which I love.

    Tell us about the judges’ dynamics.
    I think it would be uninteresting and
    not real if we didn’t disagree. Obviously it’s human nature and you feel different things for different people. So there’s been different points of view and disagreements.

    How competitive are you
    and the other judges feeling this year?
    I’m feeling more competitive
    than I ever have. By nature, I’m not a competitive person. But this time,
    I’m feeling more competitive
    than ever.

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