Back in 2015, Simon slammed the celebrity dancing competition, saying the X Factor will trounce its rival in the Saturday night ratings war.
“This show does feel better, the talent’s great, they’re interesting, so if it’s us versus Peter Andre, I’m going put my money on us,” he said confidently, referring to Peter’s place on Strictly that year.
However, the words came back to haunt him, with Strictly regularly pulling in millions more viewers.
Now, Simon seems to have learnt from his past mistakes, and has taken a more guarded approach to the ratings war.
When asked by the Sun whether he thinks the X Factor will beat Strictly this year, the music mogul replied: “I’ve learnt to keep my mouth shut about that.
“We can’t compete with their overall audience because they’re much older. WHat’s important for us is to keep the young audience interested in the show.
He added: “I’ve seen a couple of contestants this year who are really, really good. You’re always hoping to find the next star and that’s what I’m focusing on now.”
The X Factor has seen ratings steadily decline since its hey-day back in 2011.
Last year’s series was the least watched since the show’s inception since 2004, with an average of 7.71 million tuning in to eventually see Matt Terry take the crown.
Simon has since taken measures to try and boost the show’s ratings this series, adding: “The early and middle rounds rate well. So, the idea is to do more of the middle shows and less of the live shows.
“We’ll see if it works or not. I think there might be a middle ground.”
But with several people on Twitter complaining this year’s Strictly line-up looks lacklustre, will the be the year The X Factor gets its mojo back?
The X Factor starts tonight at 8pm on ITV.