Simon Cowell has described last year's X Factor as "predictable".

With a judging panel featuring Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh, Nicole Scherzinger and Sharon Osbourne, the 2013 run was won by prison guard Sam Bailey.

Speaking to Weekend magazine, Cowell said: "It's the talent that really defines the show. Last year, it was OK, but it wasn't my favourite year.

"I think it was very predictable right from the get-go who was going to win and once the live shows started Sam Bailey was in a different league to everybody else."

Cowell also said that the final, which was contested by Bailey, Luke Friend and Nicholas McDonald, needed a bit more fizz.

"Cheryl and I said if we had been mentoring Tamera Foster we would have got her into the final and that would have made it more exciting," he added.

Speaking about the upcoming season, Cowell said that Mel B and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini would change the show's dynamic, and that Cheryl would be "funnier" in the upcoming run.

"She's [Cheryl] more confident, and though she probably won't admit it, she enjoys working with me," he continued. "I love working with her."

The X Factor returns next Saturday August 30 at 8pm on UTV and TV3.