Simon Cowell has said it is "100% more exciting" that his new talent show will be a direct rival to Little Mix's upcoming music series.

Speaking to The Sun, 60-year-old Cowell said he had axed the proposed X Factor All Stars series, which had been set to premiere next month and feature previous winners including Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke.

The music mogul will premiere X Factor The Band, to find new all-male and all-female groups, and will be a direct rival to The Search, the talent show set to be launched by Little Mix on BBC1 next year.

Cowell, who helped launch Little Mix's career on the X Factor in 2011, and had them on his record label before a split last year, said he is ready to bring on the competition.

Opening up about how the two shows managed to be scheduled so closely, he said: "This is what really happened. I was approached to co-produce that show last year by Little Mix's management.

"I told them the problem was we have a conflict of interest because we are launching X Factor The Band in 2020. We were told their show was going to launch in 2021.

"Then we had the fallout and find out Little Mix were bringing their show forward. Was that intentional because we are doing our show? I have no idea.

"But regardless, it was too much fun not to do this year. I would rather it was us doing it first.

"It 100% makes it more exciting there being a battle."

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