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Simon Cowell: 'The X Factor is better without me'

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Gary, Kelly, Tulisa and Louis make up the new X Factor panel.

© iTV / SYCO / TALKBACK THAMES

Simon Cowell has admitted that he believes The X Factor has improved this year.

The X Factor USA star praised the ITV1 reality competition's new judges Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland and Tulisa Contostavlos, and said that he is delighted with the new-look show's impressive opening ratings, according to The Sun.

"I'm thrilled with the numbers. The new judging team are doing a brilliant job and the show feels even better this year," Cowell is said to have told publicist Max Clifford.

"With me not there, it has taken the age down considerably. We have four individuals being themselves. It is the public who will decide, but I am very pleased with the start.

"I want it to be ever more successful - but there is a side of me that wants to be missed."

An insider added: "Of course he has a high opinion of himself as a judge, but he truly believes the show is better this year."

Louis Walsh previously claimed that The X Factor no longer needs Cowell, adding: "We've got brilliant new judges and he's going to be so pissed off that he's not doing it. Simon's a fool. This show is going to be much bigger and better than the US version."

X Factor host Dermot O'Leary recently claimed that Cowell kept a professional distance that could often be "frustrating".

> New X Factor judges: Hit or miss?
> Dermot O'Leary: 'Louis Walsh has been reborn'
> Noel Gallagher: 'Simon Cowell wanted me as X Factor alpha male'


Watch Digital Spy's chat with X Factor judges Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos and Louis Walsh below:

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