The X Factor finalists will face competition for centre stage tonight from Simon Cowell’s four-year-old son Eric.
He will have a starring role in the live final and his doting dad has even hinted that his boy could join the panel.
Simon, 59, is keeping the details under wraps, but said: “Eric is going to more involved than ever, he is about to step into my shoes big time.
“You’ll see what we do. A few people have gone, ‘You are actually out of your mind’. Probably – but it’s fun. And that’s what I like doing.”
The former “Mr Nasty” admitted he has softened due to his mini-me son, whose hair and outfits often match his own.
He said: “Eric finds me funny and I find him funny. I’ve laughed more this year than I have done in years. It’s chilled me out. We watch movies and then we have these crazy conversations.
The pair have already attended glamourous Hollywood events
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“He reminds me of what I used to be like when I was his age.”
The SyCo boss reckons the judges, Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field, and Louis Tomlinson, will all be back next year. He said: “I’ve spoken to Robbie who with Ayda definitely wants to come back, I hope Louis does too. They have all had a great time.
“I’ve known Robbie a long time and it’s no secret we’ve been trying to get him to do the show for years. He says it’s the best job he has ever had because it is fun.”
Absent from the line-up is former judge Sharon Osbourne, 66, who was axed in September after unleashing a foul-mouthed rant about Simon in an interview.
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He insisted they had patched things up, and said he had told her in a phone call: “You are very welcome to come back.”
He said former judge Cheryl, 35, could handle the flack she received for her performance on the show, when she was accused of miming.
He said: “Cheryl is tough…you are going to get good times and then you are going to get stick. That’s the way it is.”
Viewing figures for the live X Factor shows are at a 14-year low, but Simon praised the “great team” working on the show.
He will soon be unwinding with partner Lauren Silverman, 41, and Eric on their annual Christmas jaunt to Barbados. He said: “You’ll see me on a jet ski. This holiday is always a great one.”
The finalists in their own words
Scarlett Lee, 21, Surrey
I feel lucky and blessed to be here. It’s great to be the only girl left. Loads of people want to work with me, like Little Mix, James Arthur and Jonas Blue. I’m proud of myself because we’re all winners at this point. It will change my life. With Simon telling me I can do it I feel anything is possible.
X Factor’s Scarlett Lee
Dalton Harris, 24, London
This week has been hard as there’s a lot of pressure on me now. They’re saying I’m this number on iTunes, my videos getting all these views. It feels like I’ve already won with the exposure. Louis tells me I don’t need to be perfect, or TV friendly, just to be authentic. I need to be me, unapologetically.
X Factor’s Dalton
Anthony Russell, 28, Liverpool
My favourite moment was my first standing ovation at the live shows. When I’m on that stage, it’s better than any feeling. Anyone could win it. Expect fire, nothing but heart and a winning performance. Looking ahead, I want to help charities and give back. I want to be the Mayor of Liverpool.
X Factor’s Anthony Russell
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