X FACTOR judge Louis Walsh insists oldie power will save the talent show.
Nick Grimshaw, Cheryl Cole and Rita Ora were replaced by Louis, Sharon Osbourne and another former favourite, Nicole Scherzinger, for the current run.
And Louis, 64, says the veteran panel bring back an all-ages audience.
“The big thing is, we’ve got experience in the music business,” Louis told The Sunday Post.
“Sharon and I are managers, Simon’s a record company and TV person and then Nicole is just the best ever.
“There’s nobody better than her on any show I’ve ever been on. She can do any kind of music plus she came from this background.
“So she’s earned it and she knows it. She puts the rest of us to shame.”
The American star shines far brighter than Geordie Cheryl, according to the ever-vocal Louis. And DJ Grimshaw was also in his sights.
“Cheryl was OK but Nicole’s in a different league altogether,” insisted Louis, who managed Boyzone and Westlife.
“And it wasn’t Nick Grimshaw’s fault but he’s never booked out a band like I have.
“He just presses buttons on Radio 1 in the morning. Sharon and I know what it’s like to get a record deal and lose a record deal, to be successful or to fail.
“You have to do all that. It’s a tough, tough business.”
Louis said he was happy to be away from the show as the flak rained down last year. And he revealed that old pal Cowell
realised he was at the helm of a lost cause from the very first show.
“I was talking to Simon that night and he knew, but it was too late for him to make any changes.
“He wanted to bring me back last year as a fifth judge but that wouldn’t really have worked.”
While he’s loving being part of the panel this year, Louis knows it’s up to show boss Cowell whether or not he’s invited back.
“I’ll be there if I’m good enough and I’m delivering.
“If not, I’ll be gone.
“I’ve had a great run anyway so Simon will keep me if it’s working.
“I love Simon, we’re best friends. We did Westlife for 15 years together. That’s how I know Cowell so well because I would talk to him every single day.
“I understand him more than anybody else.”
Strictly’s return has given The X Factor its toughest challenge yet.
“Strictly is a very good show,” admitted Louis. “It’s feelgood, it’s family and I understand why people watch it.”
Strictly has tempted X Factor names on to its dance floor but the affable Irishman has never even contemplated appearing.
“No, no, no, not ever,” he laughed. “I’m a music man. I literally know nothing about dance. I’ve got no interest. This is the only show I want to work on.”
Louis despairs at the attitude of some youngsters who let fame and fortune go to their heads.
“I still love the music business, but I get very disheartened with people in it,” he said with a sigh.
“There’s a big lack of loyalty. People that we find on the show or get record deals, become famous and forget why they made it.
“They forget that people like Simon and I helped them along the way.
“That’s the worst thing for me about people today.”
Louis is on the lookout for talent of a different kind as a judge for Junk Kouture (www.junkkouture.co.uk).
Secondary school pupils are being urged to create wearable fashion designs from recycled rubbish, with the final due to take place at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on February 9.
“It was incredible what these young students did last year,” added Louis.
“If Lady Gaga saw some of this stuff she’d be jumping up and down.”