Simon Cowell was left shocked and concerned by his former employee Cheryl Cole’s X Factor performance last night – one which was widely panned by viewers.
The mum of one staged her music comeback with new single Love Made Me Do It, which failed to set the charts alight when it entered at No.19 this weekend.
And her live performance, which saw her writhing around in a tight black bodysuit, was similarly criticised when she licked her hand and gyrated with buff male dancers.
Head judge Simon had the best reaction of all, however, when his private conversation with Louis Tomlinson was picked up by the cameras.
- X Factor fans disgusted by Cheryl’s X-Rated performance and ‘awful’ vocals
Simon couldn’t believe what he’d just watched
Cheryl’s performance made jaws drop
Just as Cheryl ended her dance by falling into a heap on the stage, Simon was spotted turning to Louis and mouthing: "Is she all right?"
He was clearly concerned that Cheryl had hurt herself, but perhaps was more worried about the reaction from viewers on social media.
Fans of the show were taken aback by Cheryl’s mad dance moves and pointed out she was struggling with her vocals, after she decided to sing along to the track live rather than mime it, as she’s been accused of doing in the past.
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Cheryl licked her hand and gyrated with sexy dancers
But some might think there was a cynical point being made with her ‘train wreck’ performance, namely that it would get people talking and therefore give Cheryl’s single the boost it desperately needs.
She said just last week that she’d consider packing in her solo music career if her comeback didn’t pay off , adding that if her single only charted at No.80 she’d go back to being a full-time mum to toddler son Bear.
Back in the X Factor studio, Simon quickly brushed over his initial reaction and joined the other judges in giving Cheryl a standing ovation.
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Cheryl’s comeback single only charted at No.19
Simon was concerned for Cheryl
There were claims that temporary judge Nile Rodgers, who is filling in for Robbie Williams, appeared not to stand up after her performance.
But some eagle-eyed viewers spotted him briefly standing up before sitting back down – while the other three judges continued to stand.
*The X Factor continues next Saturday on ITV