The room auditions are coming back this year on The X Factor and Simon Cowell isn't a fan as he finds it uncomfortable.

While X Factor fans might enjoy the intimate setting of the room auditions, it has the opposite effect on UK pop's svengali with a centre-parting.

"I hate it," he admits. "Personally, I've found it a nightmare. That's probably why people like it so much.

"I find it so uncomfortable, so awkward. I can't stop laughing, I have a real problem with that, and the contestants are like five feet away from you.

"When you're in a big arena, it's a lot easier - you have the public behind you. When they come in and they are really bad, there's literally nowhere to hide. It's really awkward."

But Cowell is nothing if not someone who wants The X Factor to be as popular as possible. And he also sees that audiences want to see the X Factor fodder grow and get fashioned into the occasional pop star.

"Artists have got to evolve in these competitions," he said. "You start off small, then you get to a bigger stage, then even bigger, and that's more interesting."