Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger, Gary Barlow, and Louis Walsh pose for the cameras at the London auditions.
Tulisa: Louis Walsh loves winding me up
Tulisa at the X Factor launch
X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos has spoken out about Louis Walsh's frequent digs at her: "The only reason Louis is having a go is simply to wind me up. He loves it. He knows exactly what he's doing. Trust me."
Speaking at the launch for X Factor's ninth series, she also defended the show following the treatment of Zoe Alexander. A Pink tribute act, Zoe auditioned in Cardiff with a Pink song, then accused the show of humiliating her following the reaction of the judges.
She lost her temper then swore at the cast and crew when she was told she was not good enough.
Alexander, 22, from Caerphilly, South Wales, said the show deliberately tried to "make me out to be this girl with a bad attitude".
But at the launch of the ITV1 talent show, Tulisa said: "I thought she seemed quite a strong character from the level of aggression she was giving off."
"She chose to bring those issues to the stage."
She continued: "At the end of the day there is always going to be the odd person that throws this massive hissy fit.
Everyone goes 'Oh my God', yet there are thousands of people over the years who have auditioned and just because this one person can't control their temper, throws a bit of a fit, I don't think it's a reason for everyone to go, 'Oh my God, you've got to think about their emotions'."
The star insisted: "That was one person, that's her with her own issues and she chose to bring those issues to the stage."
This year's X Factor sees a relaxation on the rule about professional management: "Just because they have a manager, doesn't mean that they've made it or have more opportunity. This show is about finding a star and I don't think we should close any opportunities off to anyone."
A spicy Spice Girl
Viewers will also see guest judges, including the likes of Rita Ora, Geri Halliwell and fellow Spice Girl, Melanie Brown. "I absolutely love Rita Ora as a friend, but the person who reminds me a bit of myself, in the sense that I really get along with, is Mel B because she's a real tough cookie."
Tulisa added: "I find it hard to be cutthroat with people so when you have someone like Mel on the panel it's great because she just says it exactly how it is and she doesn't cut any corners." Having seen the first episode, it's fair to say that Mel B could give Simon Cowell a lesson or two in being harsh with auditionees.
"I always assumed she'd be this real diva"
Tulisa firmly dismissed speculation of a feud with Nicole Scherzinger: "She's a really lovely girl. I always assumed she'd be this real diva, this really overpowering character and she's so the opposite.
She's even more chilled out than me so I find myself saying, 'are you alright Nicole? How are you? How are you feeling?' and like going up to her and giving her hugs and 'come on, don't be so nice'."
It's clear she has a great deal of respect for the US star: "She's so lovely and just graceful all the time, but obviously that's her and I'm me and I suppose it makes good dynamics to have opposites on the panel."
On a more reflective note, Tulisa believes the reaction she's getting at auditions has changed: "I think people have been a little bit more respectful of my opinion which has made it a lot easier for me because I feel like I'm on the panel to judge, not to be judged. But hey, it's me and I'm always being judged.'"
X Factor starts Saturday 18 August at 8pm on ITV1
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