Simon Cowell quite rightly con­tem­plated ending The X Factor after he unearthed the talent that is Joe McElderry.

Fearing that he would never top the discovery, he told BBC Radio 4 the other day although we've only just realised the sig­ni­fic­ance: "We had this con­ver­sa­tion [the one about Joe being unsur­pass­able] about two or three years ago."

Luckily for the British licence fee payer, Belle Amie and One Direction came along and gave Simon hope. He said: "I thought if we don't find real stars after all the razzmatazz, all the promises, it's a waste of time."