'Cheryl's the happiest I've seen her in years!' Fernandez-Versini flashes toned tum in monochrome two-piece as Simon Cowell says she's 'got her mojo back' on X Factor
She was famously sacked by Simon Cowell from the US version of X Factor but those days are far behind Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.
Indeed the pair have long put any bad blood behind them and are currently working on the latest series of the UK X Factor with Simon insisting he has never seen Cheryl happier than she is now.
While no doubt much of that is due to Cheryl's happy home life, the popstar is blissfully loved up with husband Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini, Simon also believes the new judging panel could have something to do with her good mood.
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Happier than ever: Simon Cowell says his fellow X Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has her mojo back this year
Speaking ahead of the show's first episode on Saturday, Simon said: 'I've got to be honest with you, Cheryl's the happiest I have seen her in years. She's a completely different person this year.
'I said to her the other night, "You've got your mojo back". She's really enjoying being on this show, it's not like a job, she's enjoying it and I think that's got a lot to do with [fellow judge] Rita [Ora].'
Back and better than ever: Simon says Cheryl is extremely competitive and out to win the show, which starts on August 29th on ITV
Simon also revealed that rather than steal Cheryl's crown as the people's princess, Rita has instead won her fellow panellist over.
He explained: 'She's a different kind of princess! She's got a very different personality. Everyone thought these two were going to hate each other, that there would be a big catfight, but I genuinely never thought that.
'I know a lot of girls who know Rita and they all say the same thing, they adore her. She's got what Nick [Grimshaw] has got, she's incredibly welcoming and after they had their first meeting Cheryl called me and said, "Oh my god, I think she's really cool, I like her".
New look show! Only Simon and Cheryl are returning from last year with Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw (back) taking over as judges and Olly Murs and Caroline Flack replacing presenter Olly Murs
In action: The new look X Factor team in action at the first auditions earlier this year
'I had them all over to my house for dinner one night and it was just easy. She's really good.'
Meanwhile, Cheryl also revealed how she wanted to mix up the categories.
'I had an idea to change up the categories so that we have one of each,' she explained.
'I think that makes it far more competitive, far more of a challenge for the mentors and more of an open competition because, for example, Simon might get the best group, Rita the best boy, I might have the best over and Nick the best girl.
Energy: Cheryl said, 'I have enjoyed it, there's a different energy this year. I can't explain it. I have felt relaxed'
'People will be like, 'Who on earth is going to win?' Sometimes you get a strong category and it's obvious it's going to be one of those - if you mix it and we have got talent across every board, then it's going to be wide open and no one's going to be able to guess who's going to win.'
But while Simon is thrilled that Cheryl is back to her best and coming up with ideas, he insisted that he is ready to be just as competitive as she is.
'Cheryl is obsessed with these categories,' he said. 'Do you know why? She's terrified she's going to get stuck with one category and someone else is going to get a better one.
No feud here: Simon also revealed that rather than steal Cheryl's crown as the people's princess, Rita has instead won her fellow panellist over
Flirtatious: Rita revealed she has been flirting with the male contestants to relax them
'She's so competitive, which doesn't work with me anymore by the way. What used to happen is someone great would come on and then the eyes, which are big anyway, suddenly turn into saucers and she looks at me like, "Simon, I really like them...", but I'm like, "Yeah, but you're not having them this time!".
'She really is competitive, it's why she's so good on the show, not only does she want the contestant to win, she wants to win.'
Cheryl added: 'I have enjoyed it, there's a different energy this year. I can't explain it. I have felt relaxed and I think getting out of those small rooms made a big difference; I don't like those little auditions, they drive me nuts.
Out with the old: Caroline Flack is one of two new presenters to the main show this year, replacing Dermot O'Leary
'The crowd have had an incredible energy this year, which has helped, plus we have just had different kinds of contestants this year to what we have had over the last three or four years.
Cheryl admitted that losing Louis Walsh - her sometimes nemesis - from the panel has helped her to focus more.
'There's a new energy for sure,' she said. 'I'm quite a sensitive person, in case you haven't noticed. I'm really drawn to whoever is around me. This time I just feel really free.
Double act: Olly Murs and Caroline, who previously presented 'The Xtra Factor' have taken over the main show
Speaking about Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora, she said: 'I have two new people to look after or guide, that's making me focus more. And I don't have Louis on the end making me laugh or sending me dodgy notes.'
Cheryl, 32, also admitted she feels like a veteran next to newcomers Rita, 24 and Nick, 31.
She said: 'I feel like, after 13 years in the industry, I'm a bit more educated on all things in terms of song choices, how the show goes, how it will progress.
Still going strong: Simon is the only original judge on the X Factor panel, but even he took time out to launch the show in the US previously
Getting down with the youth of today: The TV mogul, 55, has picked up some street slang from the show's new coaches, ahead of the 12th series starting on Saturday August 29
'Beforehand I didn't know, definitely in my first season because I was only 24 like Rita, I didn't have a clue how it was going to progress or what was going to happen next. I would put people through then the next time I saw them I was like, "Oh!".
'This time I'm more aware of what's to come, what I have seen and how the standard is in each category. I won't put people through if I think it's unfair because I know they are not going to get any further. I'm just a bit more aware, alert and focused and, as I said, guiding these two new people. It's fun.'
And the trio have been working hard to educate Simon things he doesn't know much about.
The TV mogul, 55, has picked up some street slang from the show's new coaches, ahead of the 12th series starting on Saturday August 29.
Advice: No doubt The Saturdays singer Rochelle Humes will be able to offer budding popstars plenty of advice
Dream team: Rochelle Humes and Melvin Odoom will be ensuring that everything goes to plan on the 'Xtra Factor'
'We're teaching him new words - yesterday we were teaching him what 'on fleek' means, and all the new latest things,' the former Girls Aloud singer said.
'Rita's got her own little thing where she goes, "Mash it up, mash it up, mash it up, boom". Simon said last night, "I'm going to mash it up!' He's cottoning on!"
Fernandez-Versini, who has reprised her role on the ITV show, said the younger line-up - which includes Olly Murs and Caroline Flack taking over from Dermot O'Leary on hosting duties - has given Cowell 'energy'.
Controversial: While Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw was a controversial choice, Simon says viewers will love his energy and enthusiasm
Swapping tips: Olly used to do Melvin's job so no doubt he will be passing on some tips
'We all respect him, though; he's been many years in the industry, seen all the changes and had a lot of success. You can't deny the guy's a genius. There's a level of respect there, it's not an age thing, even though we joke about it,' she added.
Cheryl is hoping for a panel without fireworks this year as she doesn't want to feud with her fellow judges.
'I hope not. I don't think it's necessary,' she said. 'You get passionate and protective of your acts, that's normal. I think ultimately we all want to have a great season and to have someone great win, whoever that person belongs to shouldn't really matter, not really.'
And when asked about a style war between her and Rita, Cheryl said: 'That for me has never been part of the show, it's part of everything beyond the show. For me it's about the contestants and the people singing on the stage that night, it's not about who I am wearing or what dress I'm wearing. I'm just going to focus on my contestants.
He knows his stuff: Nick has years of experience playing pop music to the masses so he should know exactly what the public wants in a new pop star
'I want to win if I have got the right person. I don't want to win with someone who can't go further. I want to win with someone who I really believe has got the ability to have major success and live their dream, which is what they have come here for.'
While Rita will be performing on the live shows, Cheryl has ruled herself out this year.
'You won't be seeing me perform this year,' she explained. 'I'm focused on my charity, I have got a trust at the moment that's taking a lot of work and obviously this show is a massive job in itself. I'm just having fun in the studio doing bits and pieces for maybe next year, but not this year, I'm totally focused on the show and on the charity.'
The new series of The X Factor begins on Saturday August 29 on ITV1.
X Factor's big twist: Live Judges' Houses and the chance for viewers to decide who gets which category
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3209287/Cheryl-Fernandez-Versini-flashes-toned-tum-monochrome-two-piece-Simon-Cowell-says-s-got-mojo-X-Factor.html#ixzz3joLhdh3W
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